My Life - Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key Words: Woody Guthrie 1946 Music: Billy Bragg 1997
From Chapter 6 Our First Kiss   "In nine lifetimes, you’ll never know as much about your cat as your cat knows about you.” Michel de Montaigne
I was a computer project leader for a fast-growing high-technology firm that was famous for installing the first large-scale IBM financial-accounting systems for New York city and Washington, D.C. Both cities had been on the verge of bankruptcy, and my company had built the computer systems that saved them. Those systems were so complex and difficult to implement that the accounting and consulting firm that Alice worked for was hired to manage and oversee the process. Alice had been selected to be her firm’s manager on the next big project that my company was about to undertake. I would be the computer project leader. Together, Alice and I would be in charge of installing a large-scale IBM financial-accounting system in Baton Rouge for the State of Louisiana......
Dupont Circle was also the home of Kramer’s Books, which included a full-service restaurant with patio dining and two floors of books featuring authors famous and not-so-famous. Next door was Melody Records. This was the center of the city’s vinyl scene. If a song had ever been pressed on vinyl, it could be found at Melody Records. The store employed a professional cadre of musicologists who toiled by day selling Coltrane and Thelonious Monk for $ 4.99 and moonlighted as musicians at the city’s underground bars and clubs. Melody was my favorite place to spend a Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t think of a better place for Alice to have an apartment than on Dupont Circle.......
“I’m not a lawyer but I know a little bit about royalties and royalty agreements.” Alice told CJ that I had half a dozen issued U.S. patents related to controlling access to electronic data, such as music. Companies like Apple licensed these patents, and it involved all sorts of royalty agreements. As Alice was explaining this to CJ, it dawned on me that Alice had read my royalty agreements so many times that she probably understood a lot more about this topic than I did.........
From Chapter Four Beaumont, Babe and Bodin“Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.”Miguel de Cervantes
.............My childhood days had always ended around the dinner table. Dinner conversation usually touched on baseball or golf. My parents seldom missed a Brooklyn Dodgers radio broadcast. When it came to golf, they never agreed on anything except when it came to Babe Didrikson. Mom and Dad had been raised an hour away from the storied fairways of the Augusta National Golf Club, and golf was in their blood. Dad and his older brother, Steel Roy, had stood shoulder to shoulder watching Gene Sarazen’s double-eagle fairway shot put the Masters on the map. His phenomenal tie for the lead in the Masters with a second shot on the fifteenth hole was the first “shot heard round the world.” This was Sarazen’s four-wood smash from the fairway that flew 235 yards and rolled in for a double eagle on the par five Firethorn.
Three weeks after witnessing Sarazen’s miraculous shot, my dad’s eyes lit up over the headlines in the sports section. The Atlanta Constitution reported that Olympic Champion Babe Didrikson had driven the ball 260 yards from the first tee at Indian Hills and went on to win her match with a seven under par. The great Byron Nelson remarked only a handful of men alive could outdrive Babe Didrikson. The lady golfer and Olympic champion immediately became one of my dad’s favorite sports heroes.
Considering how captivated my parents had been by sports celebrities, I shouldn’t have been surprised that my childhood dinner conversations involved so many sports analogies. In grade school, I could count on hearing how hitting like Babe Ruth or jumping like Babe Didrikson somehow equated to making better grades in long division and spelling. While there was plenty of talk about home runs and bases stolen, there was none about the lives of the athletes behind those records. I learned more about Babe Didrikson listening to Betty’s reminisces than I had ever heard around the dinner table at home.
My parents had been impressed with achievements and records and helping me understand how much preparation and training preceded the storied event. This was their way of teaching me that it was necessary to practice in order to succeed in life. From my mom, I also learned that records were made to be broken by those who had the talent and could afford the price. My dad taught me to respect my own capabilities and know my limits. His wish, I suppose, was to teach me to love the effort, not the goals. Looking back, I think it was his way of telling me that life was about the journey and not the destination. Babe’s athletic prowess was held up to me as an example of success through hard work.