Monday, August 30, 2004

August 30, 2004
Had breakfast with Deena this morning and solved life. Today’s lesson: everything comes to the person who is patient. When you are young and impatient you think you have to have everything immediately or it will go away, disappear, they’ll run out. Many times, I have given up on wishes and goals only to have them come true after the fact (and probably because I stopped trying so hard—see yesterday’s quote). That was fun. I know my daughter is probably just humoring me, but I don’t care. I love talking philosophy with her.

Deena also gave me an update on Ursula in Iraq: she was watching tv the other day, when they made her hide in her room while they unloaded a truck load of machine guns into their office. When I asked Deena exactly what Ursula has to do for her salary (a reported $100K) she said she has to sell businesses on Iraq opportunities. “They hate our guts. They want to kill us all. Wanna buy in?” Certainly this must be a phone job, I thought, but then realized, no, she could do that from here. According to Deena, Ursula goes out into that strange world wearing a burka. Imagine making a cold call in a burka, with only your eyes showing and trying to sell someone and you don’t speak a word of Arabic. Ay-yi-yi! She deserves every penny of that salary. A very brave girl.

Got a new poll up: Who had the greatest influence on settling the West?
• Prospectors and miners
• Cowboys and ranchers
• Mountain men
• U.S. Cavalry
• Homesteaders
Click here to give us your opinion.

Sometimes when the wind blows just right, I think of my youth in Kingman, and I remember the oddest things:

When I was in the fifth grade, Mrs. Klotsch gave us seat assignments based on our test scores and grade average. Each week, she would grade our work, then assign us a seat, placing us according to our worthiness. The first row, on the right side of the room was made up of the smartest kids with the very smartest in the first seat, literally the head of the class. The best and the brightest were lined up, probably six desks deep, going to the back of the room, then it went to the front of the second row, back and on down to the dumbest of the dumb. As you might have already guessed, the first row was all girls with Katherine Lamb, Melinda Rucker and Kathy Cannon vying for the front every week. The only guy who ever cracked the first row was Charlie Waters and he didn’t stay there long. He had a close friend who talked all the time, and so Charlie and the loud friend got in trouble and ended up on each side of the teacher’s desk. Special desks, like wing commanders next to the Mother Ship (in fact, the next year, Charlie’s mother made sure the two wingsters had different teachers). When the troublemaker wasn’t riding wing for Mrs. Klotsch he spent the rest of the time in the second row, three seats from the back. He might move up a seat, or back two, but he was stuck there. No matter how hard he tried (or didn’t try), over and over again he seemed to be stuck at the grade point of 86—"slightly above average."

It is a stigma I have never broken. I have been very patient but even after all the books I’ve published, all the prizes I have won, all the women I've bedded, all the money I've made, after all is said and done, I am still the number 86. No better, no worse. Thankyou Mrs. Klotsch.

“"Life is full of infinite absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true."
 —Luigi Pirandello

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