Our perspectives are shaped by a multitude of life experiences that become wordly fingerprints telling others who we are and how we differ from our neighbors.
Take the new Pope. Like billions of others, I waited for the word. In my case I watched CNN live, making this the first time ever that I would witness the ritual of the announcement and the first time that I would hear ” Habemus Papam.” The final seconds had game show tension–and the winner is! But this notion was quickly erased by “Habemus Papam,” the Latin phrase for “We have a Pope.” I took Latin in hIgh school and it is still in me, especially habemus.
I was never an altar boy. I chose Latin for reasons that are rare and strange: a teenager who wanted to finish the Sunday New York Times Crossword Puzzle. Each week I was stumped by three and four-word clues in Latin. And I liked the concept that in modern days it was a language that was read, not spoken.
Latin became my favorite subject, a feather for me given that I had little motivation to excel–I was a “c” student, even in Latin. Apparently I had the school’s highest score in the Regents exam–I know this because my teacher asked me if I had cheated during the test. It was a Spanish Inquisition moment. The one timeI did well, I was doubted.
All this memory was packed between Habemus Papam and the emergence of Pope Francis on the balcony–my fingerpint. What was yours?