“I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.”
― Flannery O'Connor
I have been saying this of myself for decades, albeit not as succinctly. My late mother said the same thing was true for her.
I have honestly lost track of the number of times I have heard movie or television personalities either say they never watch themselves or that they hate watching themselves.
There are also those in the middle. I feel certain I heard Jimmy Stewart say once, “It’s like watching someone who looks a lot like you doing something you don’t really remember doing.” (I couldn’t find the quote on the Internet, so don’t quote me)
Not me. I played my game show highlights for my 8th grade students every year on the last day of school. Those appearances were between 15 and 28 years old during my 13-year tenure. And sure enough, I felt like Jimmy Stewart, but I watched every year anyway, rooting for me to solve the puzzle Salt and Pepper for that trip to Paris.
I never tire of watching my appearances on The Computer Chronicles, including the supercut of my software review intros, my negative review of the Macintosh and my software piracy commentary. In fact I’d gladly spend an afternoon watching everything under Paul Schindler on TV in the column to the right (or at the bottom if you’re reading this on a phone) from 1973 on WBZ through my last game show, Merv Griffen’s Crosswords. My 1974 Appearance on WGBH.
No wonder I was never admitted to the “I’m a star” club. I often watch myself on TV, and I don’t hate it.
To the best of my understanding, most sports nuts, the ones who spend hundreds of hours a year watching or reading about sports, do this for the same reason men generally do things: it was passed from father to son..
Thank you Dad.
My late father generally threw out the sports section of the paper any day it was a separate section.
In discussing this issue, a friend of mine called the act of throwing out the section “ostentatious.” Nah. My dad was a newspaper sorter. God forbid you messed the paper up before it was properly sorted. Eventually we subscribed to two copies of the Sunday paper, one dad could sort, and another the rest of us could read haphazardly. And again, (see above) this particular habit was passed from father to son.
Dad could not care less about sports. He was just following the father to son rule. His Schweizerdeutscher father, who came to America in 1920, also could not have cared less about sports.
I get down on my hands and knees and thank you almost daily, Dad. I appreciate (as does my wife and my family and friends) the literally thousands of hours I did not spend with a TV or radio instead of with them.
I don’t begrudge sports fans their fandom. After all, I lived in Boston for five years. But I’m glad not to be so afflicted. I faked it when I was teaching so I’d have something to talk about to the 8th grade boys.
And in the summer of 1975, while working the overnight shift at UPI Boston, I knew the Boston Red Sox lineup. I have long since forgotten them all except for Luis Tiant, the cigar-smoking right-hander (as I called him in every radio story)
I sat across from the 18.02 teaching assistant who was grading the quiz that would determine whether I passed the required second-term calculus class and was allowed to graduate from MIT. She recognized my name from The Tech and we talked about Charlton Heston. Why did she pass me? The grade on the quiz was a judgment call. In an instant decision, she gave me a pity pass that granted me my degree and my career.
The 12 moments presented here were the most obvious. I am sure there are other small moments which, upon reflection, were big moments. I will toss them into this column if/when I think of them.
My long-time friend Robert Malchman contends that had these moments not happened, something else would have happened. He calls it the “Next Bus Theory.” While I grant him that, the point of this series was that small decisions produce big results. Other decisions and other results were possible, but these were the tiny decisions I (or others) made and the GIGANTIC results they produced.
The column to the right on this blog contains permanent content, most of which has appeared at one time or another in the main body. I’ve decided to include a reminder.
On Jan 16, 2021, David Paul Kirkpatrick wrote an essay about Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It includes this missive from her:
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Or as we say in Christianity (of which I am a nominal member) treat others as you would be treated, or “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Regular readers will recall that I was a frequent contributor to the Top5 List many years ago (Made No. 1 on the Top5, Made The Top 5, Paul on the Top 5 List). As founder Chris White puts it: “We’re exhuming the humor corpse for another run.”
I can’t believe I failed to plug my No. 18 on the recent list Capitol Stormers’ To-Do Lists. Mine was “Fold up a libtard and stick him in one of those fancy electoral vote boxes.”
Alas, I didn’t make the Top5 Rejected SuperBowl Ads list, which was email only... except for here!
Good advice, from Clark Smith in 1978 during one of the most tumultuous times in my life: “Take some time. Be alone. You’ll attract women when you are comfortable in yourself and by yourself.” In other words, you don’t need someone to complete you, since you’re already complete. Look for someone to complement you, to roll along next to you. Here's the Daily Calm meme on the subject: