Why Not a Horse?

May 9, 2002 — I read in yesterday morning’s sports section that famed Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew died, twenty-five years to the day after he won the Kentucky Derby. The Associated Press article, a reverent obituary, stated solemnly that it was the first time since Sir Barton won the Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes in 1919 that there is no living Triple Crown winner.

In the greater scheme of things, this latter fact would seem to have no real or lasting importance. On the other hand, why not a horse? A horse’s life and accomplishments are no less important, no less worthy, than those of a human. It is only our arrogance that allows us to assume the insignificance of the other creatures who share the planet, many of which have suffered so greatly as a result of our foolish misdeeds.

In human terms, death at the age of twenty-eight is considered tragic. When singer Mario Lanza died in 1959 at the age of thirty-eight, it was counted as a great loss, first, because a voice like his comes along so seldom, and second, because there was much more he could have accomplished in the world of opera.

These days, Mario Lanza is rarely mentioned, and when he is, it is usually in the context of his self-destructive behavior. For some reason, his self-destructive behavior is looked down upon, while that of the current cadre of actors and recording “artists” is flaunted for publicity purposes.

And maybe that’s the difference. Horses seldom make good copy, because they don’t drink, and they don’t spend time in therapy. And while a horse will probably never find a cure for cancer, or invent a new computer programming language, you can rest assured it will never drop a bomb, either, or pollute the atmosphere to make a buck.

As for Mario Lanza, he is probably lucky not to be alive today. At least he doesn’t have to endure the pompous handkerchief-waving of Pavarotti, who, despite his wonderful voice, has succeeded in making an ass of himself by singing Christmas carols with Domingo and Carreras.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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