end of the conversation

I still don’t buy it. I don’t think it’s true. I don’t think I do that anymore than anybody else does.

You do. Other people hide things, sure. Everybody to some degree. But , there aren’t very many who are hiding as much as you are. Most people don’t have anything that big to hide. You’re even hiding from yourself.

So, you think things would be easier for me if I’d change some things?

No. Nothing will be easier.

What then?

Not easier. Just better.


Well, like your life might actually lead somewhere – where it ought to lead. Where you’re fit to go. You’re on a dead end street right now.

I’m in the top half of the class and not even trying.

I’m glad to hear you admit that. But you are trying. You’re trying very hard not to excel. Where do you think being in the top half of your class will get you?

I don’t know. Decent job.

Maybe. Maybe not. But even if you get a job that you can make a living on, you’ll be completely surrounded by people who are not nearly as smart or as capable as you are. You’ll see them for what they are. They will limit you. You’ll be bored to death. It will drive you crazy. You’ll never be happy in your work.

Nobody is. Nobody is happy in their work.

There you go again. You think that the researchers who won the Nobel prize aren’t happy in their work? You think the novelists who win the Pulitzer aren’t happy in their work? As happy as Jerry West is in his?

I’m not talking about that kind of work.

You could do that kind of work.

I don’t believe you.

I know. I know. It’s probably not fair to expect you to. But I’m asking – offering – a way for you to get a glimpse of what’s possible for you.


Have you ever read Tarzan?

Saw the movie.

You know how Tarzan gets through the jungle?


Could just anybody do that?

No. You’d have to be very strong.

As strong as Tarzan.


Well, I think you’re that strong. And I can offer you a grapevine that will take you soaring over this jungle and it will lead you – just like Tarzan – to the next grapevine.

Before the period was over she had explained the debate team to him and he had bought in. When the bell rang I backed away from the window and found that my hand, still gripping the lever, had gone to sleep. I walked into the hallway with the crowd, my classroom time over for the day.

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