1963 — For $118.00 a semester, plus text books, an extremely naïve 18 year old boy living on the South Side of Milwaukee began his college education. It was a classic case of culture shock. He had no idea what his “major” would be but, “liberal arts” sounded good, so he loaded up on subjects which he would never use the rest of his life. The most useless was Philosophy 101. It’s difficult to imagine applying Descartes’ famous line “I think, therefore I am.” in a warehouse environment where he would work for the next 35 years. To add to the agony of the Philosophy class, it was scheduled for 7:30 A.M. which required waking at 5:30 A.M. to get the bus for his 45 minute ride. This was without caffeine. He wouldn’t be a coffee drinker for another 5 years.

“Power and Society”. His instructor was Professor Engelman; a stereotypical German guy wearing a tweed coat and mutilating a tobacco pipe every few seconds. He would be the only teacher that our marginal student could recall by name.

Just about every course he took would ultimately be irrelevant, with one exception; Statistics! It was required for the most basic degree, and wouldn’t you know, it was the only course he flunked.

He stumbled through his freshman year squeaking by with a 1.75 GPA. He ignored colledge the next year simply because he wasn’t motivated during this segment of his life

He returned the next year with serious intentions. He stopped playing card games in the student union which really helped his G.P.A., and cruised the remaining 3 years with a 3.0 average. Psychology, once he learned how to spell the word, was his chosen major.

At the end of his senior year, 1968, only one problem remained: He was 3 credits short of a degree.

With his first born child on the way now and the need for income, he took a job in management at a distribution center. The job went well. His first boss became his mentor and he was slated for advancement right off the bat. Working 10 to 12 hours a day there was no time and no desire to get those last 3 credits.

It’s now 1970 and the light went on. He had stated on his application that he had a degree in Psychology which was a lie. That “little” white lie, progressively, made him more uncomfortable which prompted him to enroll in a night course in “medical terminology”, a vocabulary drill-like course which to this day helps him understand hundreds of words at first sight.

His Diploma arrived shortly thereafter.

You can probably guess who that colledge student was. Using the 3rd person narrative made it easier to be more objective. I can honestly say that I conducted myself with far more integrity from 1970 on.

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