Years ago, I learned a couple of things that kept me humble. One is that “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” and the other is “Judge not; that ye not be judged” (Matthew 7: 2-5). The Biblical passage goes on to say that we shouldn’t judge others by standards which we ourselves don’t live up to. Both taught me that I had no right to determine how others should lead their life nor to be cruel at the expense of the other’s dignity. That was in the days when gossip was the most hurtful, and successful, method of distorting the truth at the expense of someone else.
Today, each and every error made by personalities, be they famous or infamous, is examined, discussed, and bifurcated by the press, talk shows, and anyone within reach of the internet. It is tweeted, Facebooked, and laid out for the world to see in a blink. Nothing goes unnoticed or dissected. If you are in the public eye, it is to be expected and, often, desired, but when you are an ordinary citizen who gets caught in this Oz-like tornado, it’s another. That’s what happened to Marilyn Hagerty.
The eighty-five year old woman who lives in Grand Forks, ND writes a column five days a week the local Grand Forks Herald including restaurant reviews. Over time, she has done reviews of chain restaurants without anything other than local notice, but one column, a review of the new Olive Garden, went viral. When interviewed, Ms. Hagerty commented, “They told me that my column went viral and I didn’t even know what viral meant.” There is much ballyhoo-ing about the column some with tongue-in-cheek and others with a definitely snarky taint.
We can all have our opinions about Olive Garden, but there is one thing on which we can agree. Marilyn Hagerty is a woman to be admired and emulated; I hope to be so privileged as to be eating out, writing posts/columns, and just being active when I am that age. She is what I want to be when I grow up.