Life is a series of compromises. As a kid, you learn essential things at your own pace such as toilet training, walking, talking and eating and then you go to school and they tell you- like it or not- that you will learn what everyone else learns in the same time period and at the same mental capacity.

Of course, this is not fair to the kid who excels in a specific area and is held back because the teacher cannot deal with thirty individuals at each their own pace. In second grade, we had a “Think and Do” book which was a workbook full of arithmetic questions and challenges. I found the examples too easy to do and finished them very quickly much to the shock of the teacher. So, she had me go around the room and help all the slowpokes.

The same thing happened twenty years later when I took a course in computer flow charting. Another student and myself- both of us were not coincidentally about ten years older than the other students- had figured out the logic flow for just about the entire workbook we were using. The workbook was written by the instructor herself who admitted that there were some factual errors. She said if anyone could find them, she would be grateful. Naturally, yours truly found them all. She had me help her teach the logically challenged ones in the class and took over for her one week while she was having a hysterectomy. No kidding!

Before you call me a self-proclaimed smarty pants, I would be the first to admit being a step behind in other areas of intelligence- such as just about anything that has an ‘ology’ at the end of the word. I was okay at Chemistry as long as I didn’t have to figure out logarithms on a slide rule. (If you have to ask, it means you are under the age of thirty-five.) I know I took Physics in high school but I have no recall on what I did while sitting in the classroom. The only thing I do remember is that our Physics teacher made a bet with our Chemistry teacher before the 1969 Superbowl that Joe Namath and the upstart New York Jets would beat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. ‘Til this day, I hear that the Chemistry teacher thinks the fix was in.

I didn’t do well in English in high school because I was forced to fit myself into a heavily competitive atmosphere pushed by teachers who thought I was a goof off. I just wanted to take things a little more leisurely and read stuff that I found interesting rather than Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne or some other dead Englishman.

The workplace was also a compromise. I hated getting up so early in the morning to be at work at the time my boss decided and to take a break or leave when they said it was okay. Or how to write correspondence and answer a phone. I also didn’t like the fact that they decided how much money I got paid. The nerve of them!

Now you know why I just had to be self-employed. But even with that, I hated having to wait to collect money for service provided and not knowing when it would show up in the mail. I hated waiting to hear from clients to tell me when they needed my services again. But, then I thought about hating being an employee, so this wasn’t such a bad compromise after all.

The one compromise that seems to have no alternative is getting older. In this case, I look at the glass being half filled rather than half empty. You think maybe the Cubs will win it all by the time I’m 120?

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