April 16, 2014

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Mightier Than The Sword

I was going to write about the debt crisis, but there isn't much to add to what everything has already heard.

I have been in the broadcasting business for nearly 35 years, but I'm amazed at how much impact the written, rather than the spoken word has.

As I look back on it, my first lesson came when I was in the sixth grade.

There was a kid in school (among many) who lived to give me a hard time.  In fact, he was involved in an incident early in the year in which my head went through the glass portion of a door. (I was wearing a hat that day-it was raining-and I suffered few, if any, visible injuries.) What complicated the matter was that his father was my father's supervisor at work.

Late in the year, after yet another run-in with him, my teacher decided to separate the two of us while we were waiting at school for the school bus at the end of the day. Problem was, while he was allowed to wait in line, I had to sit in the classroom until the bus arrived. While "who did what to whom first" may have been irrelevant, I felt as if I was being kept after school while he went scot-free.

I was still steamed about it a week later during final exams when my English test asked the question, "describe something which happened during the school year". In the few sentences I was allowed, I detailed the incident of just a few days earlier, with a conclusion that I would like "to teach that teacher something".

Now, it was the teacher's turn to be steamed. After she made a trip to the principal's office, she returned with a stern threat that this might mean I might not be able to participate in some end-of-year activities (I was NOT threatened with not graduating), and that this "would go on my permanent record". (The latter reminds me of a column Bob Greene did years later, which stated that it turned out there wasn't...and never had been...a permanent record.)

She must have had a change of heart about her (again, spoken) words, because, some time later, in a conversation with my father, she said that what I had done "took guts".

While I still make my living with the spoken word, in recent years, people have increasingly seen what I have had to write as well.  And I have found that my cyber-pen can, indeed, be mighter than my verbal sword.

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