David Bruce: Boredom is Anti-Life — Death, Education

Death

• After Thomas Jefferson took over for Benjamin Franklin in France, he was asked, “It is you, sir, who replace Doctor Franklin?” Mr. Jefferson always answered, “No one can replace him, sir; I am only his successor.” By the way, Mr. Jefferson wrote his own epitaph: “Author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.” He also charged his heirs to obey his wishes: “Not a word more.”

Education

• While attending Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, Stephen Wozniak found the electronics classes to be very easy, so his teacher, John McCollum, arranged for him to spend Wednesday afternoons in the computer room of GTE/Sylvania Electronics, where young Steve was able to learn something about electronics. Steve built a computer in a friend’s garage. While working on the computer, he and his friend drank quarts of cream soda so they decided to call the computer the Cream Soda Computer. When the computer was built, Steve’s mother called a newspaper to come out, take a photograph, and write a story. Unfortunately, when Steve turned on the computer, sparks and smoke filled the air. The story was never published, but Steve didn’t mind since he knew the fault was not his. Instead, the disaster occurred because of a faulty computer chip. Later, Mr. Wozniak co-founded the Apple Computer Company.

• As a student in elementary and high school, Bill Cosby was lacking — although he did go on to earn a doctorate in education at the University of Massachusetts in 1976. Often, before he became serious about getting an education, he would read a comic book in class instead of his textbooks. Sometimes, he would get caught, and the teacher would take the comic book away, saying, “You’ll get this back at the end of the school year.” Bill would then ask the teacher, “Why? Does it take that long to read it?” By the way, early in his career, comedian Mr. Cosby played a club that was so small that it didn’t have a stage. Instead, management placed a chair on top of a table and Mr. Cosby did his act from there.

• For the first time, a young novice went out of the monastery, but in the company of an old Buddhist monk. The novice saw a young woman selling vegetables, and he asked the old monk, “What is that?” The old monk replied, “A tiger.” Later, the novice saw a real tiger, and he asked, “What is that?” The old monk replied, “A young woman.” When the novice and the old monk had returned to the monastery, the head of the monastery, knowing that the novice had seen a woman and a tiger on his trip outside, decided to test the novice. He asked the novice, “What did you like best of all the things you saw outside the monastery?” The novice replied, “The tiger.”

• When comedian Kate Clinton was a teacher of “at-risk” children, a nun came in to observe her class. Ms. Clinton knew the nun was going to observe her, so she alerted all her students to come to class on time — especially one student who was notorious for his tardiness. The student stayed up late the night before to watch a baseball game, forgot about the nun, came to class tardy as usual, and said, “The f — ing Yankees suck.” Then he noticed the nun and looked at Ms. Clinton, who told him, “Steve, you need to apologize to the class for what you said.” Steve said, “I’m sorry I said ‘suck.’ Twice.”

• Comedian Jay Leno declines to act as if he is better than other people. Once, while boarding a plane, he pushed himself in front of an old lady in a wheelchair, who waved him on and said, “Oh, go ahead, dearie.” This made him feel terrible. He said, “I felt like the guy on the Titanic who puts on a dress so he can get in the life raft first.” After that, he acted like a normal person instead of like a big shot. By the way, in 1968, comedian Jay Leno graduated from Andover (Massachusetts) High School. In his yearbook, he wrote that he wanted his future career to be “retired millionaire.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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