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Three score and ten or more

Monday, October 08, 2007

On Moving, and professional behavior, and stuff.

I have been in the wheel spinning stage of trying to figure out where I am going and what I am doing after failing to sell the old house and somehow, in spite of working about as hard as I am capable of working, only being a little more than half moved into the new house. My mood wasn't improved by my receiving a notice from a collection agency (I think) in Finland that the amount of money I owe the Finnish hospital is growing exponentially. (This is made worse by the fact that the dollar/Euro ratio is getting worse every day. (My Finnish language skills improved a lot while we were in Finland last year, but not enough that I really know what in the heck the bills from Finland mean except that the numbers become bigger all the time.) In the mean time, tomorrow Janet goes to see the retina specialist to see if there is any chance that her peripheral vision will improve, and next week she goes to the rheumatologist to see if there is any chance that the pain in her hands (which prevents almost any use of the hands) can be lessened. (at least, between Medicare and my insurance and my pension, we are keeping the current group of doctors paid.)

Th funny thing is, that even with the debts and the doctors and the moving, and all the frustrations, in some ways, I feel more alive that I have in some time. When I don't post, it is because I am doing something that seems important, not just sitting at the computer wishing my brain would start clicking.

In my last post I mentioned that I had channel-surfed into an evening of Dancing With The Stars, and commented on how much I enjoyed watching Jane Seymour dance, and remembering some pleasant experiences in her regard. Tonight, I did something I haven't done since the first season of the program, I tuned in intentionally. I was pleased. Most of the dancing was entertaining, though Wayne Newton looked as old and stiff as I feel. (When I was in high school I taught ballroom part time and fancied myself a pretty good dancer. Bad knees and a neuropathy --and the approach of geezerhood put a stop that thought, but for a moment, I looked at Wayne Newton and thought, "Well heck, if he can fake his way through it, maybee???? -Naaah.") but the rest of the dancing was interesting and entertaining and Jane Seymour was, as before, class itself. Her performance was one of the two wherein, if not previously informed, it would be hard to tell which was the real professional dancer. I ended up having a good time. When the dancing was over, I went channel surfing again and found a football game between Youngstown State and Southern Illinois at Carbondale.

I was a doctoral student, teaching assistant, and ultimately an adjunct faculty member at Southern Illinois for almost five years. I am also a college football fan, but in this time I never saw a Southern Illinois football game. I finished my degree in 1970, and now, in 2007 I was watching my very first Southern Illinois University football game. It was actually a heckuva football game.

My SIU football experience had mostly involved living in the same building with a guy named Sam Silas, who was an SIU graduate student and a first string defensive player (linebacker mostly) for the St. Louis Cardinal football team. I got, from him, an idea of what it was to be a consummate professional. His conditioning routines were constant, well thought out and effective. I watched him on TV and he was one of the best. Ultimately All Pro if I remember correctly.

My other experience was giving a failing grade to a Prime football recruit from Mississippi who was, truly, illiterate. The day after I gave him his mid-term F, I talked on the phone with two coaches, a direct supervisor (who was really embarrassed) and a Vise President of the University. It was not specifically stated, but I had no doubt that if his final grade was not a passing grade my career was to be an abbreviated one. I had my back up and was weighing the consequences to my family if I stood my ground when the young man, knowing that he had no real chance for an education as things stood, walked out of school and hitched a ride back to Mississippi. I hope things worked out for him, because he sure saved my career with his departure. It was so sad, because he was such a nice young man, quite intelligent, but the product of segregated schools in Mississippi that had never taught him to read. He told me honestly that he was shocked, when he came up to Illinois, that he was expected to actually attend classes. No one had ever expected more of him than that his football team won games.

When Georgia Southern University put in a football program back in the eighties, I fought it tooth and nail (in futility) remembering my experience at SIU. I was so relieved at the difference between the programs. When Erk Russell, the Georgia Southern Football coach, or one of his assistants contacted a faculty member it was to make sure that the guy was attending class and doing the work, and if the coach received a bad report, the student repented swiftly and intensely. It made things fun.

Well, I have to leave for the Medical college of Georgia before Seven AM. (It is a couple of hours away and we have a morning appointment. Nite Nite.


At 4:35 PM, Anonymous kathleen said...

Good post. The fact that we have graduated kids of normal intelligence from high school not having the ability to read is beyond shameful in my mind.

About your moving ... what about boxing what you are keeping and disposing of what you don't want and then hire some college kids to move you? I would have them clean the house, too. Consider yourself management ... supervise.

I don't know what to say about the Finnish bills. Is there some way they can be negotiated down? Hopefully, based on the fact that you live here, they would be willing to settle for a reduced bill paid in cash. I have had friends who have negotiated serious reductions in hospital bills. Good luck with that.

Dancing With The Stars is surprisingly fun to watch. The stars end up doing quite well.

Hope all went well for Janet at the doctors.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger t_cole said...

your story about the football players and academic achievement reminds me of a movie trailer I saw recently.
in the clip, the coach is 'riding' a very talented player about his grades. The player - knowing the coach won't cut him b/c of his talent - responds with "Yeah, What are you going to do about it?"
in the next scene, you see the player and his Moma sitting in class with the teacher asking a question and finishes with "Who would like to answer that?" Moma raises her hand and much to his horror she says, "My son would like to answer that."
(or something like that) anywho - I loved the coach's tactics more than i can say.
Think it was a basketball movie set in Tx many years ago.


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