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Tag: moving up

  Fighting Through Life

 My work was my passion and I always had too much of both.  It was about the 25-year mark of my life’s work when a spectacular left hook, I did not know I had, smashed into the face of my University of Arizona Director.

 I worked all the time, all the time.  It is when I finally decided to take a break and go on a holiday that she called.  She was our National Director in the main office who also oversaw a director of one of our satellites in Arizona.  A string of lies forced her to fire him but he would not leave the office, apparently unwilling to take directions from a “girl” and certainly not going to be fired by one.

 My vacation abruptly ended, and I had a four-hour drive to load up a bit of steam.   I walked into our satellite Arizona office and told a snickering nut case to pack up and go.  He did not, suggesting he would leave at the end of the day and that was all there was to it.

 The next few moments are a little foggy in my memory as they always are when anger holds sway.  Although I do remember getting in his face and splattering out a slop pail of unkind words.  As it turned out my slop was unkind enough to get him to take a swing that glanced off the side of my head. That is when to my total surprise I discovered I have a spectacular left hook.  My spot-on accuracy changed his expression and the color dripping down his pasty white face.

  As I headed for home, I was pretty upset about what happened and how I had handled it.  It was not the first-time I let my anger rule my actions.

 As I pulled into my driveway, perhaps the most interesting, accomplished person I knew was standing outside in his yard.  At 93 years, he still had youthful good looks, was one of my closest friends and my next-door neighbor.  As a poor kid growing up in the Depression with nothing much for parents, Jack used to shag balls for Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, once hitched a ride into D. C. and was picked up by Eleanor Roosevelt as he worked his way through school.  After earning a Yale law degree, he found himself ducking enemy fire as a Marine gunner in the South Pacific.  The only time I ever heard him say he was scared and ran away, was when he turned 18 and Jean Harlow asked him up to her bedroom.

 As the years rolled by Chief Justice Earl Warren asked him if he couldn’t clean up what had become some very seedy operations at the U. S. Supreme Court.  His portrait still hangs there in thanks to this day.  He became the President of two major universities, chairman of MetLife, as well as a couple other major international corporations.  Two U. S. Presidents would be included in his circle of friends and when he relaxed a bit, he might be found having a picnic lunch with actress Jean Simmons on the hillside of the site they had chosen to build the Getty Center. To me he was Forest Gump with a brain.

 Anyway, there he was, standing outside as I pulled into my driveway, and I was about to hear one of the most jaw dropping, life awakening responses to a question I would ever ask.

 Visibly unsettled, I walked up to him, told him all that had happened and then asked, “Jack, you have led so many efforts, been so successful in life, struggled and achieved so much on so many fronts.  How did you managed it when you were forced to fight on your way up all those hills?

   He just looked at me for a moment in silence, and then softly said, “Richard, I never fought with anyone.”

 Richard Kimball

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