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John W. Pinkerton


People…I like people…in a general sort of way, but sometimes I have my doubts about  the wisdom of getting involved with them.  I mean, Hell, they're weird.

Frankly, I've enjoyed rubbing up against them to attempt to see who they really are.  I can usually tell just by looking at them from a couple of hundred yards away if they're worth a damn.  However, sometimes they surprise me and turn out to be much worse than I first suspected and other times they're a little better.

When we were kids, most of us looked for others our age to see what we could stir up.  Usually these were kids allowed to run wild in the neighborhood, and sometimes when we met, we found mutual interest…perhaps cowboys and Indians or rocks at twenty paces.    Our real socialization began with school which for us old timers began with the first grade…about six years old.  We began to learn to operate in a small space filled with other urchins competing for our piece of the pie.

Usually these encounters were peaceful.  I recall my first encounter with another young fellow who for some unknown reason decided I needed my ass whipped.  I declined his offer which seemed to confuse him.  Another fellow decided to stab me with his pen---not  a ballpoint, a nib ink pen---one day in class.  To this day I don't know what provoked him.  Anyway,  I was beginning to learn that not all social encounters were pleasant.  I think it was about this time that I determined that it was probably best not to take stuff off of my fellow human beings---so I didn't and I don't.

I moved on through junior high age and on into high school…wow what a zoo.  I don't mean the formal school structure which was really very nice, but rather the personalities that emerged with puberty.  The possibility of getting one's ass whipped was just an explosion away.   Frankly, I didn't have many fights in high school.  Really, the closest I came really wasn't a fight at all.  A few careless words from me earned me a knuckle sandwich.  Oops.  I did learn that I should choose my words more thoughtfully.  Apparently expressing impatience with someone by calling him a fat ass is not acceptable.  Live and learn.

I observed some Hellatious fights in high school.  I learned that they usually didn't last long because they're exhausting.  A couple of minutes and both parties want to lie down for a while.

In college we were beginning to be a little more civilized…kinda.  My main preoccupations were studying, drinking, gambling, and girls…not necessarily in that order.

Then it was off to a couple of years in the army.   The army and I were not a good match, but it was an opportunity to meet folks from all over the country.  One thing I learned was that a lot of folks who probably looked pretty smart working at their local service station were actually pretty stupid when removed from their natural habitat.  I hope they made it back to their homes.  They weren't bad folks, just terribly slow.

Then I started teaching.  I foolishly anticipated that my biggest problems would evolve from the kids…wrong.   My biggest problems arose from my relationships with the administrators.  My first principal was a trick:  he was a thoughtful, well-balanced, intelligent gentleman and had everyone's interest at heart.  Of course the school board fired him.  The same can be said for my first superintendent.  Of course, they fired him also.  Ah, my first lessons in small-town politics.  Holy crap, it was downhill from there.  I dealt with about 15 or 16 different principals and several superintendents through my 35 year “career.”  I can't say they were all bad, but I can say most were.  However, they served as good lessons in human nature.  I was able to sharpen my social skills to the point that I was able to ignore most of their nonsense.

Okay.  Okay.  The reason I'm telling you all this is to indicate that I've spent a lot of years rubbing up against folks, and I can honestly say that I liked but did not respect most of them.  Sad but true.

In retirement, I've pursued art.  My original purpose was to see how good I could become and inadvertently got involved with selling art.  Selling art led to more interactions with folks.  Most of the gallery owners and fellow artists that I've met have been pleasant, but they too are subject to the worst elements of human nature.  More and more I find myself returning to my original goal of just seeing how good I could become at art:  more art---fewer people.  That’s the ticket.