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Three score and ten or more

Friday, November 18, 2005

RERUN Some old thoughts brought back

RE-RUN Some old thoughts brought up again.
I don’t know if this is often done, or even if it is legitimate to do, but I am going to repost the first thoughts that I presented back in August when I started the blog.  I am doing this because my main reason for stating a computer journal was to meditate in writing about something about which I really wanted some outside opinions, and at that time, nobody was reading this stuff but me.  I was even having trouble getting my children (two of whom are bloggers) to seriously react to (or even read) my stuff.  You can skip the first five paragraphs without missing much but generic introduction, but I would appreciate a reaction to the last part of this, (if you find something worth reacting to) but I was at the time, and still am really conflicted about the last four or five paragraphs.


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 curmudgeonly 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 most 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 do pranks 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 extracurricular activities, 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.


At 6:06 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Well, Richard, if that's your biggest regret, you are blessed.

I've done things that I am so ashamed of that I cannot tell anyone about them. Of course, one day everyone will know about them when we are all in eternity. I'm just hoping God will have mercy on my soul.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

I don't know if this is my biggest regret, but it leaves a hole where old friends ought to be. (I suppose I am going to have to write about siphoning gas from airplanes some time-- that is a really wierd one.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

A wonderful post. You are just about my father's age, and I so wish that he would blog. He is a brilliant academician with a keen wit and strong mind (and opinions) and he would bless so many people with that (including myself).

Actually, your highschool self sounds adorable. My father was very much like you at that age, as well, and used to regale us with some of the hysterical pranks that he used to do.

At 2:41 AM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 20 05

Three Score:
What a funny and touching post! I think your pranks are hilarious! And American teenage boyhood seems to consist of such mischief. Although I can identify with your sadness about the friends who didn't get it together, and those who were caught and labelled delinquents when we all do dirt. I think the difference lays with the choices you made as an adult. We all have doen screwy and bad things, such is life and how we learn. I don't think you should feel guilt about things you can not change. However, if you still have that feeling, why not transform it and visit prisoners or juvenille delinquents? I am sure they would love the entertainment of a puppet show. You are quite entertaining in your writings and I think the blog idea for your purposes is great. I have been trying to get my Grandpa Butch to blog, but he is too stubborn and prefers to write everything by hand. Your grandchildren and children will appreciate this in time. Until then, please keep this up. You are a great asset to the blogosphere.

At 5:52 AM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I too have done some things that I have regretted, one of which I blogged about here some time ago. I have asked God's forgiveness many times for it and I guess he probably has even though I'm not sure I have forgiven myself. But I work on repaying it my way when I get a chance, whether it is buying a bum a meal or chopping firewood for a widow or anything else. But foremost, I try not to forget things that I have done lest I slip back into the way I was.


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