I Don’t Like Failing
Modus Operandi

I’m in a quandary. My father got a promotion in an insurance company where he worked in Philadelphia, PA, which was a couple of years after WWII. However, it meant moving his family to Pittsburgh, PA. When he was looking of a home, he asked a real estate agent in Pittsburgh about which town in the area had the best schools. He wanted to make sure his children would be well-prepared educationally for college. The realtor said that Mt. Lebanon had the best schools in the area. What he didn’t say was that Mt. Lebanon was the 19th best school system in the entire nation. Additionally, it was also the richest community in Western Pennsylvania. We moved from a nice middle-class community where I was an above average student to a different world in Mt. Lebanon.

By the time I graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School, I had learned two things: I was dumb and poor. However, after I started working on my doctorate, I realized that I was not as dumb as I thought. In many essays over the years, I have written about those two curses becoming blessings. Nevertheless, the effect of Mt. Lebanon has been etched into my mind so much that it lingers just below the surface of my consciousness. It doesn’t take much to bring those old negative feelings back to the surface. No one enjoys failing, especially having attended Mt. Lebanon schools. I don’t like to fail either in the academic world or the world in general.

A couple weeks ago, it seemed as though Joe Biden was floundering in his attempt to become the Democratic party’s presidential nominee. I could relate to how he must have felt. However, that was BSC (Before South Carolina). After South Carolina, ASC, Biden was on a roll…rolling up delegates and rolling over Angry Bernie in South Carolina and last week’s Super Tuesday.

That evening, I was sitting in front of my computer writing and teaching online. It had to been after 11pm. I was tired and put my feet on my desk between my computer monitor and my 80-pound Himalayan Salt Lamp as I dozed off for about a half hour.

Then it happened. It was strangely reminiscent of what Edgar Allan Poe wrote in a similar situation.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door

It wasn’t a raven tapping while I was napping. I don’t recall what exactly caused me to awake. The only possible explanation was that my salt lamp emitted negative ions, which affected me. I love salt lamps and have two twenty-five-pound lamps: one in my living room and the other in my bedroom.

However, my man-cave or often called my office has a much larger salt lamp. Some salt lamp authorities claim that the negative ions attack electro-smog that floats around in the air. Google: Himalayan Salt Lamps, and you will find hundreds of medical claims associated with them.

I only have three in my home….

While I don’t want to get into a scientific debate about the health benefits of salt lamps, I am here to tell you that I woke up with a clear head.

I have failed at getting 1250 laptops for the two schools where my granddaughters attend in Myanmar. My feeling like a failure had dissipated when I awoke. Finally, I had an idea…I hope a brilliant one about acquiring laptops for the children that go to school with my granddaughters.

I don’t see any laptops.

I can’t go into the details, but I surely will let the world know whether my dream of laptops for 1250 students works out. Bobby Kennedy said, “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” I listen to my mentors…especially Bobby.