I Steal, Every Chance I Get

I’ve never had an original thought.  I’ve never written an original sentence.  And to lift an idea from Kurt Vonnegut, I will never compose Beethoven’s 10th symphony.  This makes writing an interesting blog problematic.  At a couple of junctures in my life I thought I had come up with original thoughts, only to later read that someone else had already published it.  For example, I grew up in a village of 800 souls, went off to Redneck U and chose to major in a field whose jobs do not exist in small towns.  Now and then I’d return home and visit Mom.  There’s not much to do in small towns, so we’d sit outdoors and I’d down a couple of cold ones while we talked about nothing.  One day, doing just that, a big black dog strolled down the middle of the town’s main street, blue highway LA 538.  Mom saw him and wondered out loud “What’s old Skokie doing down here?”

 

Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut

 

“Who’s Skokie?”  “That black dog in front of the Powdrill’s house.  He’s Plute McConnell’s dog.  They live over in the subdivision.”  (The ‘subdivision’ is a mile away, quite a trip for a dog to make on his own.)  I realized why I couldn’t live the rest of my life where I’d grown up:  everybody needs a certain amount of privacy, and if you live in a town so small that everybody knows everybody else’s dog’s business, they’re gonna know your business, too.

 

Old Skokie
Old Skokie

That scene occurs in nearly identical fashion on page 89 of Swann’s Way, Volume I of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.  I only got 90 pages into the book; it was a crushing blow.

 

Marcel Proust, Another Writer with a Hands on the Face Pose
Marcel Proust, Another Writer with a Hands on the Face Pose

And then a few years ago I began to wonder what happened to the kids I went to school with, especially, the ones who didn’t care about school.   Think of your high school:  How many ‘students’ did no homework, rarely studied for a test, and spent most of their class time passing notes?  In mine it was around 80%.  Here’s the Big Thought:  80% of the USA did not pay attention in class, but somehow, somewhere, they make a living.  Some are in government, some are cops, some are in the sales, and some are in management.   No wonder our world is dysfunctional:  far too many people who did not pay attention in class hold positions of responsibility, vote, and serve on juries.

 

Most of My and Your High School Class
Most of My and Your High School Class

Two months ago for this blog I researched Al McGuire the basketball coach and philosopher.  I needed another quote from him to go along with the one about Kamikazi pilots and helmets.  And here it is:  “The world is run by C students.”

 

Al McGuire
Al McGuire

I tell you, I get no respect.

 

Rodney D
Rodney D

There I go again.

9 thoughts on “I Steal, Every Chance I Get

    1. The visit was 20 years ago and I didn’t have a camera with me. It would have made a good picture: a deserted main street in a small, down at the heels town, with a big black lab sauntering down the centerline. Of course I stole this picture! But it is a good likeness; maybe they’re related?

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    2. That happened 20 years ago. I didn’t have a camera with me, and besides, blogging was not yet even a gleam in Al Gore’s eye. It would have made a fine picture: the deserted main street of a down-at-the-heels village, a big black lab sauntering down it with his belly right over the white lane divider paint. Of course I stole that picture, but let’s assume those dogs are cousins, how about that?

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    1. If you are referring to the debt ceiling, you gotta admit the world didn’t come to an end, so somebody deserves a day or two of grace for that. If it’s the Kentucky Kickback, bear in mind that the Ohio River locks carry much of the barge traffic (most of our grain exports) to the port of New Orleans, and that for lack of funding we were about to incur $160 million of non-payment penalties on lock refurb contracts. I find Mitch McConnell as annoying as stepping in dog stuff, but if he was behind the KK, today I’ll gladly clean my shoes.

      As always, thanks for reading us, KD.

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      1. Hi Jackson,

        In short, and in general, what I was referring is what comes across as constant bickering, and the focus on self-interest versus what is good for the country.

        Specifically, I was thinking about the government shutdown.

        Good to know that something good came via Mitch McConnell.

        Sorry about your shoes. ;-P 🙂

        K.

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