Proud Moments:

One can be justifiably proud when one creates or saves time by either solving or preventing a problem or a wrong. One's life goes forward, that is, pro esse, that Latin root of pride, proud and profit.

  1. Best grill boy: For decades after I last worked for him in high school, King Krekel always introduced me as the best grill boy ever when I visited him.
  2. Work detail volunteer: On a naval base, projects pop up that require day laborers which the base officials requisition from the ships in port. Ships officers would send workers from each division on the ship. Usually, the workers were seamen (E-3's or below), that is, non-petty officers. The electronics division was different than most divisions, for our ratio of seamen to petty officers was quite the reverse. Our ratio was 1 seaman and 44 ET's. This reflected the mission of the ship: Communication Command Ship, a floating "Pentagon" from where the President could conduct a war. At the time, late 1960's, our 44 ETs compared with a destroyer having one ET, a cruiser having three ET's and a carrier having six. Our one E-3 had entered the division from another division as a step toward attending electronics school. Someone realized that our E-3 was every day going off on a work detail which was not only unfair but preventing him from being around electronic equipment and personnel to learn about his career choice. This someone polled the other petty officers to see if they were willing to implement a rotating pool as substitutes for the E-3. The division officers thought it was a great idea as long as regular assignments were first priority by the pool members and no hassles occurred. The pool was over a dozen shipmates--of course, no E-6 or above volunteered.  Actually, being a volunteer for a work detail was a nice change of pace every few weeks. Two interesting things was the reaction of the other members of the work detail who consistently would ask, "How did you screw up to get on a work detail, you being a petty officer." I told them the reason as well as since I was the senior rank present, I would not only help but make sure the work was done in the most efficient way so as to get the job done quickly. More than once I raised my voice to stop the work so that we would all work in a certain way, e.g., pushing a large object that should have been moved by a front loader. One of the reasons all of us volunteered was that our only E-3 was our only division member who was black. While he had been sent on work details as an E-3, the symbolism of the only non-white sailor doing all the dirty work all the time did not sit well with most of us. (When was pointed out to one E-7 from the South, his response was, "He should go back to his old division.")
  3. Best tar baby: When I painted fences on horse farms between the Navy and college, I was called the "best tar baby"--while the average painter could manually do a quarter mile of four-plank, I consistently did a mile a day.
  4. Taking care of Cathy: When my wife's original heart-surgery went bad, I dropped everything to be her care-taker 24/7 for four months till she finally came to the end of the "final" procedures.
  5. Women in business: I had two women quit because their husbands said they were becoming too independent. I consistently told employees to question and think with the result that this self-empowering attitude carried over into homelives where it was not appreciated.
  6. Former high school students calling up and saying they realized their lives were better because of my insistence that they were hired to learn the work ethic, not to get rich nor be my friend. (Of the latter, most said they did not like me when they worked for me.)
  7. Taking care of Marcia : When after 30 years of non-communication, I approach my first wife to offer her some stock in because after my second wife, there was no one living to whom I owed more for my luck and happiness. More importantly, Marcia had helped defined the first building block of timism ( Rate of Integration or mentality ) from which the other levels evolved. Upon realizing that she was in an abusive, demeaning and debasing second marriage, I could not not help her find some of the freedom and happiness she had planted in me.
  8. $20 wadded up bill: While walking in a windy snowstorm one Christmas morning in Minneapolis during my "homeless" phase, a Cadillac pulled up along side. Out came a green ball which I realized was money. As I unrolled the twenty-dollar bill, I handed it back, telling them to give to someone who needed it. Disgusting. Throwing money at people.
  9. Nigger in San Antonio on train: Explained what God thought of the word "Nigger." One of the three chocolate passengers said to me that it was the first time his 50 years of life that he had heard a white man say "nigger" and not wanted to harm the white guy. Said, "Thank you."
  10. Student in Barnes&Nobles: During one keyboarding session, a young man approach me and said, "I want to thank you for changing my life. Six months ago I overheard a conversation of yours in which you made so much sense for why one should go to college that I changed my life so I could go to college." When I talk about going to college, I tell young people to get an education, not job-training.
  11. $2300 in billfold: In April, 2009, found a billfold with $2300 in cash as well as credit cards and ID. Never once thought about keeping it. Cost me over an hour and $10 to return it to its owner.
  12. Neighbor on taking charge of her life: One day a neighbor came over to say that she had changed her life because of my conversations with her on being the master of her own fate. Despite the NUBS herein, she said had meant a lot to her that I had focused on the benefits of changing for the better rather than criticizing her failures to date.
  13. A neighbor asked me to keep a key to her house in case something went wrong while she was away. The same neighbor insist that her children and grandchildren address me formally and acknowledge me if I am visiting her.
  14. A passerby stopped and said, "I know some of your neighbors who tell me what you do for them. You are a good person."
  15. Bus Driver: While feeding the meter, the driver asked how I was doing to which I responded fine. She then said that I did not remember her to which I reponded that getting old took its toll on one's memory. She told me that we had talked after she heard me telling some high school passengers to go to college for an education not job training which she thought was really good advice.
  16. "Here, let me step on your toes so you have something real to cry about." Thus, I introduced myself to a teenage girl standing behind me in the courtyard of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, June, 18, 2011. Yes, it was a boyfriend who had said from Colorado that they should use the summer separation as a time to test their love by dating others. In many ways I explained why boys were not ready to be good friends. Between laughing at my analogies, suggestions and conclusions on boys, I hope Regina learned the lesson to be no emotional slave to another person ... very apropo in the shadow of Independence Hall. Otherwise, she will lose control of her life as one immature boy after another tells her what she wants to hear rather than what she needs to hear, the prescription for a long life of single motherhood and babymouths to feed before the teenage years filled with know-it-alls. I hope she took my advice for a hobby of reading about strong, independent-minded women, e.g., Eleanor Roosevelt. I hope the Parasite Hilton role models don't win out.

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