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Three score and ten or more

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Why blog

I have decided to start a blog for a couple of reasons, (actually for more than a couple).  First;  there are some things I’d like to think about out loud that don’t fit into the rest of my writing (primarily plays, puppet plays, short stories and professional stuff).

Second: I’ve turned seventy one, and curmudgeonal thoughts keep floating through my head (that might still be reason number one).  A curmudgeon needs a place to curmudgeon.  

Third:  I have written some short stories and essays that I haven’t been able to peddle, and I’d like them to go out there where someone besides my family can read them.  (The family is getting tired of them.)  When I post them, they are all copyrighted, and though I have no objection to people snatching parts (or all) of them for other venues, I would appreciate it if you would save the copyright symbols and post them too.  I taught for too long to be sanguine about academic thievery or plagiarism.

Fourth:  I have strong opinions about almost everything.  Before I retired from teaching I could usually find a way to foist my opinions upon my students under some academic guise or another.  I have lost that venue and have decided that this one will have to do, even if no body really reads it.

My  email signature is quoted in my personal identification.  Most of what I post will relate to one or more of the personal persona that I cherish.  I will try to label them with the appropriate persona.  (Most of the first ones will probably relate to “fool.)

My first meditation relates to a certain conflict that only recently arose in my mind.  A couple of years ago, my high school class had its fiftieth reunion.  My personal attendance was hindered by an inconvenient quadruple cardiac bypass, but I purchased the “book” which presented pictures and histories of my classmates, and reading this material brought a lot of old thoughts to my attention.  A number of my friends weren’t there, and memories of “high school hi jinks” began to return.  It came to my mind that quite a few people I knew in high school (Pocatello High School, Pocatello, Idaho, class of 1952, or three or so)never graduated.  Some of them went to prison, some into dead end lives, drug overdoses and a variety of unpleasant circumstances.  Many of these were as smart as me, as committed to their studies, etc. etc.  

Now some of these people were just unmotivated, or were sociopaths or whatever, but I could think of several who just did some of the same things I did, and the primary thing that differentiated between their fates and mine (Mine: High School Graduate, College Graduate with a couple of Graduate Degrees including PhD,  church missionary,  married to a woman with more education and talent than “me and them” put together,  six great children, etc., etc.) was that they got caught doing some of the stupid things high school students do, and I didn’t.  They got labeled “juvenile delinquents”, reform school alumni,  general pains in the butt, and I never did.  

I don’t want anyone to misunderstand.  I was not out mugging drunks, holding up gas stations, raping and pillaging the neighborhoods, or any of those types of things.  But I did cut class to play snooker at the local pool hall (not often, I was a lousy snooker player) or to make life miserable for a couple of people whom I thought of as snobs.  It was not a frequent occurrence, but I found my self short on gas money a few times and found myself siphoning gas from the local school busses and, on one occasion from the airplanes at the local air field.  Two of my friends and I, (one of them who later led a miserable life)  once stole two or three cases of beer from a beer delivery truck and distributed our ill gotten gains to a number of our schoolmates who thought at the time that we were really cool. These were offenses which, if I had been caught, would have deservedly created a really difficult life for me (and for my parents, my dad was, at that time, in a Mormon bishopric).

  But I didn’t get caught and lived my life as an upstanding citizen, with all the rewards involved.  To tell the truth, most of the time I tried really hard to be an upstanding citizen.  I studied hard (most of the time) was involved with a lot of extracurriculars, went to church, and, near the end of my high school career committed my life to  my Lord and to my faith.   I feel strongly that the atonement of Jesus Christ provides at least the opportunity for forgiveness for my sins.  That doesn’t change the hole in my heart I feel about the fact that, in some ways the main difference between some folks, some of whom I really loved, and others of whom I should have loved, who really had a hard life and who ended up career criminals or worse, is that they got caught and I didn’t.  I have a real void in my soul wishing that, even at this late date, there were something I could do to make up for this.  I wonder if anyone else shares this feeling, or if in some way it is unique to old Mormon Theatre Professors.

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