Christmas Bankrupt

Decentralization / Deschooling /

A series of relatable memories just cascaded me. In high school, 1950s, I heard that the company that had won the contract to construct the UN building on the East River had gone bankrupt before the roof was finished. They hadn’t adequately budgeted for the roof. Ah, so that’s how come they were cheaper, that’s how come they won the contract: they forgot the roof! How could they have been so stupid?
But why, having been so stupid, should they have to continue to suffer? would you have thought to budget for a roof? How much can a roof cost? How many people buying the New York Times that day would have done better? been smarter?

Those memories first came back to me a decade later. I’d taken a teaching post at Colby College, Waterville, Maine. I wanted a change of pace. Coming hard up on thirty, I wanted to ski before my body tunred chicken (as well as clumsy), abandoned me quivering on the steep: and Colby was not only located in Maine (read Winter!), but had its own ski slope, near the campus: weekends I could go to Sugarloaf, weekdays I could ski right there in Waterville.
Other guys didn’t have to catch up on their early twenties in their late twenties: they’d proved themselves to themselves in their teens.

Dartmouth had its own ski slope, so did U Colorado, Denver. Colby responded, I went to Colby. And there, in the unforgettable winter of 1968-69, I encountered the snow removal company that was bankrupt not just by Christmas but before Thanksgiving! That company had played public roulette and survived in the past, but not in 1968-69. So that hell-of-a winter the roads weren’t cleared. Snow fell, people who knew how to drive in the slick, drove. People who knew how to drive in snow did just great. I had a Saab, Swedish car, front wheel drive, and free wheeling. Skis a-top, I’d drive like a maniac: I’d skid, so what? the back of the car would pass the front of the car, what a thrill, so what? I just keep driving, keep skidding: let the front end catch back up. I loved that Saab. I’d pass jeeps with 4-wheel drive! They were stuck, I’d whizz right past. As long as no lumber truck comes, also skidding sideways. the truck longer than the road is wide, I’m just fine, ahead of the game.

I post, to finish (or add) another time. At the moment I’m not remembering what my “deschooling” hook was. My anarchism bankrupted me.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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