Proudly, I am one of the last of the “slide rule” physicists. When I graduated, the first calculators were coming to market, and an early casualty of the digital age beginning with the introduction of calculators, was the slide rule that many of us used to learn our physics, engineering, and sciences. I was given a calculator as a graduation present by a family friend. I remember thinking, how nice to be given a tool to save my life after already drowning.
I wasn't a very good physicist. I kept falling in and out of love. I loved to travel, ski, explore the west and later the world, explore history, explore economics and meet people. I studied physics because I didn't know what else to do, and at the end of each semester I was overwhelmed with the wonderful sensation of having conquered mental Mount Everests and feeling immensely satisfied. So, each following semester I would dive once more into the breach and study more physics.
When I was a young boy I would be sent to spend part of my summer living with my grandparents. They had a very large house built by a lumberman, filled with all kinds of collections situated on several acres in a small country town in Wisconsin. The house had rooms full of surprises. Trunks, animal heads, ancient rugs, secret passages, clay marbles, and more. The collections included native American artifacts like indian arrowheads, indian bow and arrows, a rattle made of human scalps the black hair dangling.
numerous collections of first world war helmets, sabres, and guns most of which I needed two hands to pick up. Their acreage was riddled with gophers and gopher holes. My time was spent in a Don Quixote like existence, playing cowboys and indians with my scalp rattle and guns (they didn't give me bullets), playing war games, hunting for gophers with my real indian bow and real indian arrows, and other fantasy pursuits. When I wasn't warring or hunting I would walk a short distance to the open air pickle factory which consisted of huge vats of cucumbers in brine pickling under an open air roof. No one was there. I'd go up the steps, pull back the wooden cover reach in and grab a pickle to eat. At other times I'd cross the street to the lumber yard and crawl thru and up and down the wood.
I never got a gopher (they are much smarter than a little boy). As we say in Wisconsin, its the “hunt” that matters. Nevertheless, I am probably one of the few boys who actually played with real items instead of toys in living out his childhood fantasies. For me the dreams were real. The artifacts survived and went to museums. My life has been a journey of exploration. Post graduation, I resolved to explore the world of experiences in all of its forms. It has taken me to many cultures, arts, architechure, philosophies, and fields. It's been a journey of discovery and learning. I've made many friends.
I am, like my favorite detective Phillip Marlowe, from the legendary author Raymond
Chandler, "clinically insubordinate". It has served me well.
And finally, I am ....... a sailor. I grew up on the sailing fields of America. Sailing began as recreation, became a sport, then a science, it evolved into an art, and finally it became philosophy and religion. In the end elightenment came to me while sailing on an indian summer day, with pleasant winds, gentle clouds and soft sun. Suddenly, I was overcome with sensations of the lake, the winds, sailing, friends, native Americans from long ago, and the spirits. God exists. He lives on the the lakes of the midwest, in the Heart of America. I know this.
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