“Who am I? Why am I here?” *
I suppose my whole life has been, in one way or another, about trying to make the case that the cost to bring me into this world was worth it.
Yes, I’m still working on it.
* Questions asked by Adm. James B. Stockdale, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, senior Navy officer held captive in North Vietnam for seven years. In 1992 he was thrust into the limelight of H. Ross Perot’s quixotic presidential campaign when Perot selected him as his running mate for vice president. He opened his opening statement with these two questions. So far as I know, I am not related to Adm. Stockdale.
Answers to Typical Questions
Where are you from?
Let me give you some details and you can pick your own answer. Including my current temporary, yet still actual, residence, I have called 17 different cities “home” and lived in 34 different houses/housing long enough to have mail delivered there. The list, in order, including move-backs:
- Portales, NM
- Olton, TX
- Lubbock, TX (2 different addresses)
- Pampa, TX
- Norman, OK (2 different addresses)
- Lubbock, TX (2 different addresses)
- Olton, TX (2 different addresses)
- USAF Academy, CO
- Sacramento, CA, Mather AFB
- Merced, CA, Castle AFB
- Fort Worth, TX (2 different addresses)
- Minot AFB, ND
- Bedford, TX
- Lewisville, TX
- Irving, TX (3 different addresses)
- Fort Worth, TX (5 different addresses)
- Santa Fe, NM (2 different addresses)
- Grants, NM
- Albuquerque, NM (2 different addresses)
- Bridgeport, TX (current)
Not that you asked, but with all those moves I attended several schools. From Grades 1-9, I went to seven different schools in two cities and two towns.
- Grades 1-2: Roscoe Wilson, Lubbock, TX
- Grades 3-6 (1st semester): Stephen F. Austin, Pampa, TX
- Grade 6 (2nd semester): Cleveland, Norman, OK
- Grade 7 (1st semester): West Jr. High, Norman, OK
- Grade 7 (2nd semester): MacKenzie Jr. High, Lubbock, TX
- Grade 8: Smylie Wilson Jr. High, Lubbock, TX
- Grades 9-12: Olton High School, Olton, TX
What do you do for a living?
Right now I’m pondering retirement, but if you’re interested in what I have done …
- Curriculum Vitae
- navigated airplanes (our mission was the pass gas at 30,000 ft), and instructed others
- engineered systems, managed projects, developed business, managed costs and schedules, and managed programs
- executively-directed a nonprofit, oversaw purchase and major renovation of a 70-year old building, organized and ran two conferences, taught at seminars, taught at three colleges (full semester, one week, and one guest lecture)
- got a Masters degree shortly after I turned 58 (years, not shades of grey)
- directed an IT staff, administered an LMS (learning management system)
- deputily-directed the operations of a library, managed the operations of an academic building
- done my own website for twenty years (thus far, 1999-2019) and in a few cases, other websites either as designer, guider, or implementer
Answers to More Interesting Questions
Who or what has inspired you?
- The Chip Hilton series of books by Clair Bee
- “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
- Joseph Heller’s Catch 22.
- The thinking and writings of the American Transcendentalists, especially Henry David Thoreau (Walden) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (“Essay on Self-Reliance”)
- “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes that you won or lost but how you played the game.” (Grantland Rice)
- John Irving’s books, especially The World According to Garp and Cider House Rules
- Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides: “I lived with the terrible knowledge that one day I would be an old man, still waiting for my real life to start.”
- The Beatles
- The metaphor of “Not For Sale” from my father and the record produced of his Pampa High School Band playing two concerts with Carl “Doc” Severinsen in 1965.
- In a slightly different way, the two PBS documentaries by Robert X. (Bob) Cringely documenting the beginnings of the personal computer (“Triumph of the Nerds”) and the Internet (“Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet”) that both came out in the mid-late ’90s.
Has anything interesting happened to you?
- The last real football game I played in was against Notre Dame, in South Bend, on Thanksgiving Day, and it was nationally televised by ABC. The late Keith Jackson mentioned my name twice on kickoffs. (The last time I competed on a football field, I quarterbacked our squadron’s flag football team to the base championship game, which we lost. I believe.)
- When I was in high school and receiving the standard college recruiting materials, one piece of mail stood out – a personal letter from Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys, on behalf of the Naval Academy. Even though I turned down the appointment to Annapolis, I kept the letter. In 1992, Staubach led his fellow Navy alums against West Point grads (led by Pete Dawkins) in an annual flag football competition. For this special Army/Navy game with two Heisman Trophy quarterbacks, the referee was Chad Hennings, Dallas Cowboy and Air Force Academy graduate. I went to the game, waiting in line with all the kids, and got Roger’s autograph a second time on the same letter I received two decades earlier.
- I’ve been to Oktoberfest. The one in Munich. I’ve also skated on the open air ice rink that used to be in Olympiapark.
- When I was in the 4th grade I appeared onstage as a boy in the town band in the Pampa High School production of “The Music Man.”
- When I was a high school senior I appeared onstage as an ant scientist (i.e., an ant who was a scientist) in our One-Act Play performance of “Under the Sycamore Tree.” I was named Best Actor in our district competition.
To be continued at some point …
Published articles about me and/or things I was working on
These are all posted on my ThisIsNotThat.com site.
- It’s a study of how lives (in so many words) — Fort Worth Star-Telegram (August 2002)
- Brimming with knowledge — Dallas Business Journal (July 2003)
- Avoiding dating disasters — Dallas Morning News (December 2003)
- from Capitalizing on Career Chaos by Helen Harkness (published May 2005)
- He takes little at face value — Dallas Morning News (November 2006)
- Think before your speak — Daily News & Analysis, Mumbai, India (November 2007)
- National Workshop on General Semantics — DIVYA BHASKAR DAILY, Gujarat, India (November 2007)
- Report on the National Workshop on General Semantics — Centre for Contemporary Theory, Vadodora, Gujurat, India (November 2007)