The principal of the thing

Posted by: Duane Hiatt in Commentaries Add comments

Every person’s life is worthy of a book. I hope you are writing yours, or saving and collecting the material to one day write it.

I am in the midst of mine.

For those of you who just tuned in, this is the next installment of my memoirs currently in production. The previous installments are available on my web pageduanehiatt.com I hope you find it interesting.

The book is titled, Live Long*,  Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot.

“The principal wants to see you in his office.” These words used to strike terror in the hearts of students. But not in mine. I knew how to deal with these faculty and admin people. I had been the student body president in junior high school and was now starting an encore of my act as a senior at Payson High. I got elected to most everything I ever ran for. The reason was simple. Somewhere I got hold of a dog eared copy of a book by Dale Carnegie titled, “How to win friends and influence people.” It made perfect sense to my young mind. Everybody is right in his own opinion. Put yourself on their side of the table. Listen with your heart as well as your mind.

I was as self-centered as the average insecure teenager, with a mind, emotions, and spirit as awkward and gawky as was my developing body. Yet I believed these things. In my stumbling way I usually tried to practice them. Because, “In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” I was half a step ahead of my age group in trying to reach out to other people.

As a result I made friends everywhere except with Tink Shepherd. He wanted to beat me up, and eventually did to knock me off my cocky perch.

The handlers of Jimmy Walker were slapping each other on the back the night he was elected Mayor of New York. Then someone asked a momentarily sobering question. “What kind of a mayor will Jimmie be?” Somebody else restored the raucous festivities with, “Who knows. But he’s h___ of a candidate.”

That would have been me. I figured the name of the game was to get elected. It was a popularity contest. Who knew (or frankly cared much) what happened after that. When my loyal constituency began to grumble that we weren’t having the dances and other activities they had counted on, I blamed the dead beats in the faculty and administration.

Knock, knock; “Come in. Sit down.”

Reed Jones was the new principal replacing Louis Bates, a gentle gentleman who had retired the previous year. Mr. Jones was cut from a different cloth; sheet steel to be exact. Among other things, Principle Jones worked as a baseball umpire. He once threw his own son out of a game for questioning one of his strike calls. Even the faculty was tiptoeing around the school since he blew in. What was I thinking? Or not?

He pulled up a hard back chair close to his desk, and motioned for me to sit in it. An hour later which flew by like a snail on crutches, Principal Jones called off his verbal attack dogs and released me. I was mince meat. He didn’t have to open the door for me. I walked out under it.

The most blistering part of the ordeal was that he was absolutely right. I knew that during the bludgeoning, and even stronger as the memory of it burned into my brain and heart.

That miserable, ugly, embarrassing, wrenching, flogging was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I vowed then I would take responsibility for my mistakes, and shortcomings. I would never blame my failures on outward circumstances and other people.

Have I kept that pledge 100% of the time? If I say yes, you will know I have added lying to my sin of passing the buck. But I have tried, and still try. In the words of the eminent philosopher Yoda, “There is no try. There is only do and not do.” I have done and not done. When I have done, I have gained ground. When I have faltered I have back slid. I believe I have inched forward more than I have lost ground. Less often I have been guilty of the greatest of sins which is to be conscious of none. I am now conscious of some. I now either catch myself before I stumble or repent when I do.

So if you don’t like what I have just written, I am disappointed but I can’t blame anybody but myself.

Everybody I know is busy, including me.  Where are those golden years I was planning on of sitting on the back porch picking my guitar? So I will send just one little part of the book at a time. You can give it a quick read and tell me what you think if you would like.

I’ve slimmed that process down to two questions, and four strokes on the key board (six if you count “Reply” and “Send.”)

The questions are these:“A” How much did you enjoy this?

“B” How much do you think a person who doesn’t know Duane Hiatt would enjoy this?

The rating is:1. Glanced at it, printed it out and lined the bottom of the bird cage with it.

2. Sped-read it and filed it with my tax return receipts

3. Thought it was about as interesting as a well written obituary

4. Could have put it down, but didn’t want to

5. Couldn’t put it down. Put it in a magnetic frame and stuck it onto the fridge door

So your response would perhaps be A-4, B-3, (Or maybe A-5, B-5, I’m expecting a minimum number of those.)

Also feel free to add comments if you like.

Also, also, feel free to forward this material to anyone you want to.

Every person’s life is worthy of a book. I hope you are writing yours, or saving and collecting the material to one day write it.

I am in the midst of mine.

For those of you who just tuned in, this is the next installment of my memoirs currently in production. The previous installments are available on my web pageduanehiatt.com I hope you find it interesting.

The book is titled, Live Long*,  Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot.

“The principal wants to see you in his office.” These words used to strike terror in the hearts of students. But not in mine. I knew how to deal with these faculty and admin people. I had been the student body president in junior high school and was now starting an encore of my act as a senior at Payson High. I got elected to most everything I ever ran for. The reason was simple. Somewhere I got hold of a dog eared copy of a book by Dale Carnegie titled, “How to win friends and influence people.” It made perfect sense to my young mind. Everybody is right in his own opinion. Put yourself on their side of the table. Listen with your heart as well as your mind.

I was as self-centered as the average insecure teenager, with a mind, emotions, and spirit as awkward and gawky as was my developing body. Yet I believed these things. In my stumbling way I usually tried to practice them. Because, “In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” I was half a step ahead of my age group in trying to reach out to other people.

As a result I made friends everywhere except with Tink Shepherd. He wanted to beat me up, and eventually did to knock me off my cocky perch.

The handlers of Jimmy Walker were slapping each other on the back the night he was elected Mayor of New York. Then someone asked a momentarily sobering question. “What kind of a mayor will Jimmie be?” Somebody else restored the raucous festivities with, “Who knows. But he’s h___ of a candidate.”

That would have been me. I figured the name of the game was to get elected. It was a popularity contest. Who knew (or frankly cared much) what happened after that. When my loyal constituency began to grumble that we weren’t having the dances and other activities they had counted on, I blamed the dead beats in the faculty and administration.

Knock, knock; “Come in. Sit down.”

Reed Jones was the new principal replacing Louis Bates, a gentle gentleman who had retired the previous year. Mr. Jones was cut from a different cloth; sheet steel to be exact. Among other things, Principle Jones worked as a baseball umpire. He once threw his own son out of a game for questioning one of his strike calls. Even the faculty was tiptoeing around the school since he blew in. What was I thinking? Or not?

He pulled up a hard back chair close to his desk, and motioned for me to sit in it. An hour later which flew by like a snail on crutches, Principal Jones called off his verbal attack dogs and released me. I was mince meat. He didn’t have to open the door for me. I walked out under it.

The most blistering part of the ordeal was that he was absolutely right. I knew that during the bludgeoning, and even stronger as the memory of it burned into my brain and heart.

That miserable, ugly, embarrassing, wrenching, flogging was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I vowed then I would take responsibility for my mistakes, and shortcomings. I would never blame my failures on outward circumstances and other people.

Have I kept that pledge 100% of the time? If I say yes, you will know I have added lying to my sin of passing the buck. But I have tried, and still try. In the words of the eminent philosopher Yoda, “There is no try. There is only do and not do.” I have done and not done. When I have done, I have gained ground. When I have faltered I have back slid. I believe I have inched forward more than I have lost ground. Less often I have been guilty of the greatest of sins which is to be conscious of none. I am now conscious of some. I now either catch myself before I stumble or repent when I do.

So if you don’t like what I have just written, I am disappointed but I can’t blame anybody but myself.

Everybody I know is busy, including me.  Where are those golden years I was planning on of sitting on the back porch picking my guitar? So I will send just one little part of the book at a time. You can give it a quick read and tell me what you think if you would like.

I’ve slimmed that process down to two questions, and four strokes on the key board (six if you count “Reply” and “Send.”)

The questions are these:“A” How much did you enjoy this?

“B” How much do you think a person who doesn’t know Duane Hiatt would enjoy this?

The rating is:1. Glanced at it, printed it out and lined the bottom of the bird cage with it.

2. Sped-read it and filed it with my tax return receipts

3. Thought it was about as interesting as a well written obituary

4. Could have put it down, but didn’t want to

5. Couldn’t put it down. Put it in a magnetic frame and stuck it onto the fridge door

So your response would perhaps be A-4, B-3, (Or maybe A-5, B-5, I’m expecting a minimum number of those.)

Also feel free to add comments if you like.

Also, also, feel free to forward this material to anyone you want to.

Comments are closed.