What doesn’t matter, and what does


If I were to produce an accounting of my nearly nine decades, it would honestly consist mostly of trivia, mini-tragedies of my own shortcomings and idle goings, hardly worth further attention.

I have met many, many, marvelous persons, including family members, cousins and forebears of talent and courage, partly due to the privilege of my academic career, which permitted me to invite artists and celebrities of genuine value to my classes. I have little else to recommend myself to you, dear reader, if you have made your way this far through my accounting.

Most of our collective human prowess is wasted in wars that deeply, destructively, damage the sky, the soil, the souls of humans and of other species, more now than ever before. Oh, dear! And now we face the grim fact of the war in Israel, and I must declare the depth of my hopes for an Israeli victory like that of the G.I. triumph of 1945 as depicted in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s declaration of the Four Freedoms.

Every Friday evening, I salute and toast the state of Israel, along with the blessings and hopes for the future of American Judaism. So, this war must aim high and win! (And I add my congratulations to the Providence Journal’s Mark Patinkin for his recent columns on the war.)

MIKE FINK (mfink33@aol.com) is a professor emeritus at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Sketchbook, Mike Fink