Friday, October 5, 2007

Front Page of Stars & Stripes!

Look Ma, I'm on the cover of the Rolling Stone!!! Well ok, it might not be Rolling Stone Magazine, but to me it's equally impressive. To understand why this is so impressive you first need to understand the kind of student I was in high school. And I don't say this to brag, it's more by way of a confession. While I absolutely loved reading, and couldn't get my hands on enough books, I did it for my enjoyment only, never because a teacher told me I had to. I never took a text book home all through high school. I have always had a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor, and was more interested in looking for the opportunity for jokes than in figuring out how to conjugate a verb. Unfortunately for me, I was smart enough to still get B's throughout high school without ever studying or trying. I say unfortunately because it allowed me to be a lazy student and never really apply myself. My teachers saw this and realized it too, so they never pushed me the way they probably should have.

I think the only reason my high school English teacher passed me was because she really didn't ever want to see me in her class again. I saw my high school Physics teacher a few years after graduating, and he asked if I was out on parole. He was certain that jail is the only place I was heading in any hurry. Now it's possible he was kidding, but I seriously doubt it. I was the only blemish on Zale Miller's long and distinguished career. He asked me a question one morning, and I gave some one liner that had the whole class laughing, he came over with his thick wooden meter long measuring stick and smashed it across my knuckles. That kind of thing actually happened back then, but usually it was reserved for more serious offenses. The other problem was that I was the running back for the high school football team and we had a game that night. Zip, as I affectionately called him, sent me down to the principals office after the knuckle smashing incident, so when I had to talk to the principal, I told him exactly what happened and showed him my red and swollen knuckles. Zip actually got the only written reprimand on his sterling personnel file that day. So you can see why he might have thought I was headed to jail, or at least belonged there for what I did to him.

But fortunately, it is possible to change and to learn what is important in life and to start taking things seriously. I've definitely had an interesting life, and while I have never been rich, and never will be, I've had a fairly comfortable life, especially when you look at what the rest of the world lives like. I now have a respectable job, am a member of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club and have held board positions in both organizations. So while it's not the CEO for Microsoft, it sure beats jail or being a pepetual misfit in society.

I told you a while back that I was approached by the military newspaper Stars & Stripes to do some stories about Saipan for them. The first one was published several weeks ago, but I didn't find out about it until a couple weeks later, so I never saw the story. I got an e-mail yesterday from Doug Johnson, the guy I took diving from Stars & Stripes several months ago, telling me that the last story I wrote will be on the front page of the next edition of Stars & Stripes, which might be online later today. You can go to this link, then click on Stripes Guam to see the story. They have also asked me to write more stories about world-class nudibranch diving in the Grotto, some of the amazing golf holes on Saipan, and our Thursday night street market for upcoming editions of the newspaper. Now honestly, I can't believe it's my writing they actually enjoy, I'm thinking it's the pictures that have them hooked. So in order to make sure I deliver quality product on the pictures, I am ordering a new Canon EOS Digital Rebel xTi 400D with an underwater housing of course. So hopefully my pictures will be better than ever very soon. So Mr. Miller and Miss Blomberg, I hope you're looking down on this old thorn in your sides and see that I have managed to make something respectable out of myself and am contributing in my own unique way. I may not have listened to every single thing you ever said, but evidently I listened to enough to be able to write a story that has now made it to the cover of the Rolling Stone, oops, I mean Stars & Stripes.