Wednesday, October 10, 2012


This greeting came from a fellow named Ed when I was in Minnesota years ago selling at some important chess tournament.

Ed was interesting. He was smart, educated, worldly (hey, he was a fisherman when he wasn't working). He understood history, politicians (if that is possible) and chess AND he knew how to run a small, but good to great event. Small, let's say 50-60 people. Not bad.

Naturally I looked at Ed and waited for the next shoe to fall. He continued with, "You now have the City Administrator we kicked out of (blank)." He named his name too and I said, "Well Ed, you are right, he is our City Administrator. Though I am not overwhelmed."

"Well Bobby my boy you shouldn't be! The only thing he did when he was in our city was work on upgrading his resume for his next leap (to a better paying job). People saw the city hall lights on late at night figuring he was working hard but it was only on his resume." (I wondered, if he was this bad, with what could he pad his resume!?)

This fellow has been the City Administrator here in Davenport for quite a long time, much longer than the previous one (another forgettable memory.) He has been involved in lots of building projects, tearing up the streets, and the usual stuff but he doesn't seem to connect with anyone. In case you were going to ask, he has tried "higher-up" jobs within a couple years of being here, somewhere else, but he wasn't in the final selection (too bad for us).

They say "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!"

Why did this come to me today? I take these morning walks and one direction takes me past a donut place (I never see any cops in there!) As I am walking out I spotted the mayor of our fair city, listening to some guy talking about something. I recognized the mayor because I went to school with him (college). He was a year or two ahead of me. He's a baby kisser type of guy. Big on form.

But he and I were connected in another way too. As an unreal estate agent he was involved in a property I bought a long time ago, my house. Bill is affable, he really gets around. Like Lincoln, he lost lots of elections until getting elected to something.

My barber, who had him as a customer, never liked him. He used to go to my church, but I never cared for him either. I think what it was is that while he was "everywhere" I never heard of him really accomplishing anything--a big vision, something to put this great old town of Davenport on the map. He was not a boat-rocker. Is that so bad?

It seems to me that all of us were created to carve something great out of our present lives before we meet the undertaker. It came home to me again as I was on my walk this morning as I was reading a 29 page report I printed OFF of the internet (I practice what I preach) by a good friend of mine (you will meet him in the SECRETS OF PLANNING book I just finished (goes to the printer today). In it he writes on the subject of coaching. Before this I had contemplated about what I am good at (for coaching purposes):
1) Chess
2) Publishing and Type
3) Tutoring math
4) Internet Dating

1) It's hard to get recognition at "Chess" because my gut tells me that a student only will take someone as serious as a teacher for this if they are at least a master. But I've known masters who were being relegated to teaching only for kids, say 12 and under. Not very rewarding. I know players who are rated at my level who have GIANT weak spots that I could point out to them (and have) but who would never consider me for coaching. (Pride.)

I wrote once that a customer of mine told me of a problem with getting a big rating bump, even though he studied all the time (whatever that means, see Chapter 10 in my first SECRETS book). I suggested he was deficient in X. His eyebrows arched and he said, "So and so said the same thing!" The so-and-so was an international master. Could I coach him? At this time, no chance, he has all the answers. Everyone is a philosopher. Their idea of success is, "Who is making the most $$$." Compare a man when he is rich and when he is poor. Is it philosophy then. Was Thoreau or Emerson rich? Yet, pretty smart men, worth getting advice from.

2) In the 1980s I knew almost as much about type as anyone except the actual designers who were of lofty status such as Hermann Zapf and Ed Benguiat. I met Benguiat. What a guy (a genius)! I didn't meet Hermann in NY, but I did meet his wife! Big deal? Of course, she was almost as famous for type design as her husband.

I would walk the streets of Chicago, specifically, Lincoln Ave., rummaging through the book shops for books on type. I would buy and study them. I have to admit a secret feeling of "Wow!" So type selection was always important to me for whatever print jobs I chose.  I was self-taught. Years later I was brought onto the "arts committee" for the state of Illinois and my area of "expertise" was in type and using it in design. Bookwise I've published more than 160 plus many different magazines. I have some experiences in that. Yet I have hardly published ANYTHING for locals. In Davenport, you see, everyone is a genius except me... so there is no point in using my skill set (more on this in SECRETS 2) for the locals. (I take that back, sort of. I was asked to give a workshop at the Midwest writer's workshop to a roomful of aspiring (i.e., no cash) writers.)

3) When I was in the Savannah, GA area I walked in to a High School and talked to someone important and I asked, "What is the biggest subject deficiency, would you say, in your school among students?" Surprisingly, but not surprisingly, she said, "Math." I said, "I'm your man, my degrees are in mathematics and I have taught it for several years." She said I could post something about "tutoring." I did, nothing came of it. Apparently, in that school district, just like Davenport, everyone had suddenly become a genius, except, you got it, me. I was not a genius, but now and then, I did genius-type things. We call them "epiphany" moments. I am sure all of mine came from God as they were needed. I think that's valuable.

4) After my wife's death in 1984, for another 16 years I probably dated 50-100 different women (it will keep you poor I'm telling you). Some from newspaper ads, some from running into someone, and a bunch from the internet. The experiences ranged from, "Egaad" to "Not bad."

I felt that I had learned a lot because it was not just dating but asking lots of questions too (try that). Over time I learned a lot about the dating phenomenon and could offer some advice on the subject of "meeting the one!" I learned what type of female is the most commonly divorced (nurses and teachers). Now that I am past 50, there are a lot of widows out there. And... so on.

Maybe I will have to promote myself as an expert on internet dating because when it comes to affairs of the heart lots of people need help. Whether they are willing to pay for it is another subject. But to explain that a bit further, even though Davenport is 100,000 people in a 400,000 metro area, I have had hardly ANY dates (the only one I recall I married) from those who lived in Davenport! Once again, they are all geniuses, except, me!

My book will be titled "Do you have a big hairy chest?" It gets laughs, the women get it, and I have gotten lots of feedback.

I KNOW why women BELIEVE they can't get more men to ask them out. I get this answer over and over. And yet, I KNOW they are 85% wrong!! So, they are going about it, from a dubious theory. As to men, more clueless than women! Am hoping to have it out before Valentine's Day (that's going to be a real squeeze!) Will I give it away? No, but I hope to make it really accessible. We all need love folks, someone to pay attention to us. I was just reminded of it today while out on my walk and reading about skill sets. I have 4, but it might only be 1 that puts me on the map. Do you have a map?

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