Sunday, July 17, 2005

Chesterton's Ghost Appears, Suggests Fans Find "Other Interests"

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Chesterton urged Griffin to do "anything."

LONDON -- A London book buyer got the shock of his life yesterday when the ghost of G.K. Chesterton appeared to him and joked that he wished his fans would 'get lives.'

"I was in The Bookstop, buying a copy of Orthodoxy when a man touched me on the shoulder and commended me for being a good Distributist and shopping locally," said Jack Griffin, a history teacher at St. Margaret Clitherow High School. "When I turned around, I saw this enormous fellow, smoking a cigar and laughing. He told me to stop shaking and not try to impress him with any 'inverted platitudes,' because unfortunately, 'he had heard them all already.'"

According to Griffin, the ghost and acclaimed writer said he has access to new books, magazines and the Internet in Heaven, but is sent to Earth to "check things out," from time to time.

Griffin and Chesterton had a 45-minute chat, in which the latter told him about Heaven, saints he's friends with, and his desire that his fans would quit trying to out-Chesterton each other.

"He is really tired of reading Chestertonian platitudes and proverbs," said Griffin. "He is tired of fans dressing like him, imitating him, talking about how brilliant he is. He said the last straw was when someone named his dog after him."

"He told me that 'it's one thing to inspire people like Michael Collins, Gandhi, C.S. Lewis and Martin Luther King, but quite another to inspire a generation of Catholics under-50 to be plain annoying.'"

Of Collins, et al, Chesterton told Griffin, "They were inspired and they did something. I'd prefer you not be inspired and do anything."

Chesterton joked that while his friends Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton led lives that convinced people to help the poor and commune with God, that he, Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy were quickly becoming the patron saints of people 'who just read all the time.'

Chesterton's parting words to Griffin were to enjoy life and strive for eternal life. "He wouldn't give me any hints on the end of the world, but reminded me there would be a happy ending."

Striving to be a Higher Being