Thursday, January 24, 2008


Just when you think things are going to settle down, the fates have a good chuckle and throw something else your way. One of my grad school professors passed away from a rare brain disorder recently. The funeral is tomorrow, and I plan to attend.

This particular prof and I found ourselves crossways more than once. He was a brilliant man who had this really annoying knack for recalling even the most obscure bit of trivia, and he took great pleasure in his ability to stump his students. He never pulled any punches, and as a result many of us left his classroom embarrassed or frustrated or even angry.

He was pretty tough on me, I must admit. Flat out insulted me once, although I don't think it was intentional. I made a few attempts to reach out to him and get to know him better, but never felt that I was successful.

It wasn't until I heard that he was ill (and I was forced to face my feelings about him) that I connected a few dots. My parents were always really tough on me. My band directors and voice coaches were absolute hell on me at times. Flying batons and shouted criticism were not unheard of. And so it was with Dr Spinks at times.

Days before my mother passed, she apologized for being so hard to please, explaining that she demanded the best from me because she knew I was capable of giving just that and that I didn't always live up to my own potential. Wow - a powerful thing to hear from someone you idolize.

I reckon it is true that if people don't care about you, they don't put forth the effort to help you improve.


Yesterday everyone in my agency attended a convocation. If yesterday was any indication, convocation translates to "really long day filled with informative albeit overwhelming training sessions for the purpose of helping us do our jobs better."

The event started with an adrenaline rush for me as I was asked to lead the invocation. More specifically, I was asked to sing a prayer to the ~200 attendees. I offered an a capella musical rendition of Prayer of St Francis. I believe it went well, and I hope my nerves didn't show too much. I would rather sing in front of 1,000 strangers than 10 of my peers.

The adrenaline rushed wore off as the day wore on.


I heard this on the radio this morning. I can say with absolute confidence that I sang better than this:


BB said...

I... couldn't do it. Was Shatner playing that for laughs? I got about a minute in and my cringe reflex got the better of me. I stopped it.

The passing of Dr. Spinks has rattled me, in no small part due to my own role in his last class ever. I'm being too Briscoe here, but yeah, I think that I (and we) did the best we could.

You were GREAT yesterday. Everyone thought so. I could hear them murmuring their approval.

amcnew said...

Yes, BB, you did the right thing in your last class with Dr Spinks. You should have no regrets.

Is murmuring good?