Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An Unforgetable Lesson

When I started writing this Blog, I felt I had a lot to say, so writing it was a very natural part of my day. Putting my words down on virtual paper was even a cleansing experience for me, even if no one every read them. I imagined that the novelty of the writing experience would wear off, and that forcing myself to write daily would become a chore, but I was up for the self-discipline to fit it into my crazy-busy schedule, and I was willing to accept the burden of trying to be humorous. I have to say now, that after 60 consecutive entries (taking only one day off per week to see my wife and kids), I'm too the point where I don't prioritize this activity.

For starters, I was hoping that the entire Blog experience would be more interactive. I originally imagined that I'd get a chance to read the comments of others who were interested. When comments were not coming, I began telling others about the blog, although I felt somewhat shameful doing so. When word of mouth did not work, I sent out an informative, yet apologetic, email to everyone in my email addresses which included those of students I had in class years ago, former colleagues who were now retired or in another state, and people I haven't seen since high school.

I invited everyone to read without obligation, to comment without restraint, and to enjoy my little gift to them. Very few accepted my invitation or relished my free gift.
Undeterred, I wrote on, daily, thinking that eventually friends of friends of acquaintances of strangers would eventually hear about the "funny, insightful, math guy" and would just HAVE to check out the blog, which, after reading and recovering from laughter-induced abdominal pain, would feel compelled to leave a comment. Heck, I was even eagerly anticipating negative comments, or rude insults, or even vulgar ultimatums, but to no avail--I think their keyboards are unplugged, because I'm not getting their feedback, good or bad. Maybe they're just not hitting the keys hard enough, or maybe, they're just not hitting the keys at all. But. . . . I'm . . . . OK. I'll . . . . . . be OK.

I'll keep pecking at MY keyboard, squeezing in thirty minutes here and there simply out of personal conviction. I gave up giving up long, long ago when my dad called me a quitter (at the time, I thought giving up smoking was a GOOD idea--only kidding.)
What I REALLY wanted to quit was junior-league football in 5th grade, not because I didn't like getting tackled, but because we NEVER won a game.

Digressing sufficiently, our last game of the season was in Lockhart, and were entering the game at 0-8. I told my dad that I didn't want to go to the game because losing had lost its thrill. He TOTALLY lost it! I remember him shaking his finger, with his eyes bulging, skin as red as a beet, while he angrily muttered through clenched teeth, "you'll never be anything but a quitter!!! (triple exclamation point)" I felt very small, worthless, and pathetic. My poor attitude was obviously a tremendous disappointment to my father, as it was apparently my pattern of youth.

What I viewed as a chance to experiment with new situations and notions, my father must have seen as my fickleness and lack of commitment. Anyway, he honored my decision NOT to go to the game (which we ended up losing.) I really ended up feeling horrible that I wasn't there at the game to curse frustrated obscenities with the rest of my team.
Since that day, I have been overly-committed to a fault, taking many a bad idea to an unnecessarily painful level, but it has also kept me driven and focused. Not a day goes by when I don't hear those words from 23 years ago resonating in my head. In fact, they are becoming quite a distraction RIGHT NOW as I'm trying to "QUIT. . . ." err C O N T I N U E typing.

And so it is, that I keep typing away, day after day to any empty, vacuous cyber-crowd, lest I become what every every son fears to be in the eyes of his father--a blogger-giver-upper.
Thanks, dad for your powerful, unforgettable lesson so many years ago. Today, I am doing my best to pass the same values of diligence, persistence, and commitment to MY son . . . . . . which is why he's still sitting at the dinner table right now trying to finish his cold broccoli . . . . . from yesterday!


Anonymous said...

I'm reading, I'm reading.

Anonymous said...

me too

StephenR said...

Keep on posting korpi

Dmac said...

All those years between your last Pop-Warner football game in Lockhardt were unleashed on you as you took one for the team and were de-cleated by Coach Phair last year. Your dad should be proud. You are the prototype tackling dummy and that losing season helped you become so. Your gift is that you have always made those around you better for your sacrifices. Your blog encourages the masses of those of warped enough to call education our profession and navigate through the red tape and obstacles in a less than ideal environment while our true goal is to work with children and develop their content area skills to perhaps spur them on to improve this world for the betterment of their fellow man. Keep it up man. Don't quit us!!! We won't quit you.

Brenda said...

Oh, Korpi! I read and I appreciate everything you write. I even laugh sometimes too.

I'll start telling all my cool college friends to read your blog. Maybe they can fit it in somewhere between going to parties (which is of utmost priority around here) and studying for finals (which is also of very high priority - strange place, this UT).

I hope to see you sometime during the holidays - I think I will be doing "Hometown Recruiting" in January.