Category Archives: Life

Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Dedicated to: Daniel Fischer ‘Life’s not worth a damn, ‘Til you can say, ‘Hey, world, I am what I am’ . Some thoughts on turning 67, February 16, 2014.

Dedicated to: Daniel Fischer

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. These kinds of things are happening to me all the time  now. I was sitting in a booth at the Cambridge Common Restaurant just the  other day and was anxious  to enjoy the same American fare I always get  there, namely a classic hamburger medium well, fresh lettuce and tomato  with a whisper of Bermuda onion; side of onion rings (a specialite’ de  la maison), justly renowned up and down Massachusetts Avenue, three half  deviled eggs (uniquely available here) and large diet Coke; make sure there  are three slices of lime. I am most particular about such matters, and don’t forget  it, Pookie. Mind, just two won’t do.

Then the snag. I couldn’t get out of my top coat, suitably charcoal gray, the one  that I acquired so many years ago in London, at Austin Reed, in that long  ago era when being stylish still mattered to me, though even then not so very  much (to my mother’s abiding chagrin).

This coat, now my straight-jacket, now my jailor… for, you see, I couldn’t take  it off and I couldn’t get it on. I was a hostage and even doing the shimmy like my  sister Kate didn’t help. Nothing did.

My irksome dilemma was compounded by the fact no waitron (as we call  them in my progressive metropolis) was to hand. No, they were all bunched  together at the entrance, where at least 4 of them cast jaundiced eyes at  the folks (another Cambridge-ism) entering; what tip they might get their one  and only concern.

And so I waited pondering the thoughts every hostage wherever held had thought;  thoughts like how did I get myself into this friggin’ situation… how could I get myself  out of it… and where was the cavalry to rescue me? After all, I pay my taxes.

Like I said, this wasn’t the first time I was trapped inside my top coat… or my  favorite sweater, the thick one from France with the heraldic devices and  fastidious moths… or any of those Ralph Lauren polo shirts, the ones that  mysteriously disappear when certain light-fingered friends decide to spend  the night because they’ve over served themselves from my dwindling supply of  fine wines and liquors I shall never buy again.

No, this wasn’t the first time a determined garment decided to hold me for  ransom, but it was the longest and most public such event, thus deserving of  the most careful consideration and a thorough vetting of each and every detail,  no matter how picayune you might think. Besides, who asked you for an opinion  anyway?

So, by now I was one exasperated puppy with a fast rising temperature. I  needed help and the staff had well and truly disappeared. Now what? Out of  the corner of my eye I saw an elderly couple just finishing up. Then the  absolutely unthinkable notion… they could help me. And all of a sudden I was  confronted by one of the most profound and undeniable aspects of aging… that  I, help giver par excellence for my entire life, now needed help…. and I didn’t like  that one little bit… not least when my potential rescuers stood up and I realized  with horror the “elderly couple” was my age… yes, card carrying Baby Boomers.  It only worsened my dilemma… and made me feel damn foolish, too.

I mean, why couldn’t I just say in my most congenial and casual way, “Could  you folks give me a hand?”. They would have said yes, pulled me up smartly  and removed me from the troublesome coat.

They would then have smiled and quipped some phrase like “Don’t take any  wooden nickles”, waved and gone on their merry way with that happy  feeling that  comes when you’ve taken time to do a good deed you didn’t need to do. The whole  thing would have taken 120 seconds, or less.    Besides, I had seen the gentleman look at me struggling. It seems to me he  wanted to help but didn’t want to intrude, either for fear he’d be rebuffed by  me or somehow “get involved”, a thing that trips us all up. We want to make  the world a better place, we prattle on about it without surcease, but we want  to do it without “getting involved”. How this can be accomplished no one knows.  Thus I didn’t request his help, and he didn’t offer it. I remained trapped, arms pinned.  And to think the gray haired couple and I all grew up on Bob Dylan and  his 1974  masterpiece, “Forever Young,” “May you always do for others/ And let others do  for you.”

Giving, yes. Getting, no.

I’m ok with the first half of Dylan’s line. Giving is what successful people do. Giving  is an important aspect of their success. It firmly and unequivocally establishes  them as a person of consequence, a person of empathy and kindness and  generosity; a person who should be touched to ensure good luck and whose every  word is solid gold, ready for chiseling on public buildings.

Of course I see myself this way and give with the well-honed and always gracious  gesture of the grandest grand seigneur. When misery of any kind strikes within  my circle and often without; (think typhoons in far-away places which even I cannot  find with ease), I respond at once.

It is not an act of thought; it is rather an act of indelible habit long ago taught and  constantly performed since. It affirms my superior status and good heart and  immediately suggests God’s unqualified approbation and bounty. This thought  comforted my God-fearing Puritan ancestors; it comforts me as well, just as it  comforts me to give even where the response is anything but warm.

One day when I was returning from my walk about the neighborhood, I saw a  family in distress.Their car didn’t work, and they were in despair, young children  shrieking. I asked them where they were going and how much they needed.  Connecticut. $500.

I offered to lend, not give, the money. Could they pay back, say, $50 a month?  “Oh, yes, sir, we can and we will.” Fervent thanks were rendered and rendered  again. A week or two after the first payment date, no funds received, I called. I  expected an excuse and a promise for prompt recompense and renewed  appreciation. What I got was an earful of the bluest and most vulgar, every word  an expostulation of the rawest and most offensive; the whole proof positive that no  good deed goes unpunished.

But here’s the rub. I was not disconcerted by the torrent of malice; quite the contrary.  “There but for the grace of God…” What might so easily have resulted in a shouting  match turned instead into a moment of quiet satisfaction and proof of God’s love.  Could the man shouting unanticipated obscenities have said as much? Yes, God  moves in mysterious ways and His account of the time we have been given and  used is absolute, infallible, eternal. Yes, this is what happens to the givers, each  blessed and rightly so. But what happens to those who are given? I didn’t need  to consider this matter. It had been drilled into me from birth… and now prevented  me from asking for help.

“If you want it done right, do it yourself,” I’d been taught. “God helps those who  help themselves,” I’d been assured.” “Don’t wait to be asked. Take the initiative to  do the right thing and do it now!”, every phrase an adamant declaration for  independence here, independence now, independence forever.

These were the shibboleths of the people who shaped me, theirs the adamant  voices ringing in my ear today. And they are right, for there is nothing more important  as you age than the personal freedom and independent living which are constantly  at risk and being chipped away, threatened, diminished day by day. Then out  of nowhere, I heard a song begin to gather in my brain. And it went something like  this…

“I am what I am/ I am my own special creation/ So come take a look/  Give me the hook or the ovation.”

And all of a sudden, as the song rose and its insistent lyrics soared, I got that  feeling that I’ve known before, the feeling that He is there… that He is watching…  and against every logical thought and sentiment He cares.

Thus did epiphany and perfect recognition hit me squarely between the eyes  in an urban greasy spoon in the unlikely form of an anthem for drag queens  everywhere featuring this electrifying line, “There’s one life, and there’s no return  and no deposit.” (The song, of course, is “I Am What I Am” music and lyrics  by Jerry Herman from the 1983 production of “La Cage aux Folles”. Go now to  any search engine and find it. I prefer the version by George Hearn with resonant.  adamant voice enough to uplift millions, including you and me.)

“I don’t want praise. I don’t want pity.”

And so the truths poured out. I shuffle now, my once strident walk slower now.  This doesn’t matter.

My right hand tremors,  This doesn’t  matter.

Shoelaces a struggle to tie. This doesn’t matter either.

The agile letters that jump up and down on a page challenging meaning.  This, too, doesn’t matter. What then does?

The waitress knew. “I’m sorry you had to wait so long. Need some help with  your coat?” and so my incapacity begot a new friend with radiant smile  and, in short order deviled eggs, onion rings, and apple crunch with vanilla  ice cream… all on the house. “You deserve it,” she said…. and maybe I’m ready  to admit that I do.

Dedication by the Author. It is my privilege and pleasure to dedicate this article  to Daniel Fischer, my “monkey” and friend, a man of spirit, persistence,  dedication and love. Remember, you are not alone and  your example and  dazzling smile inspire us all and always will, none more so than me.

http://worldprofitassociates.com/t25.cfm?id=5431714

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is the author of over a dozen best selling business and marketing books, as well as several ebooks and over one thousand online articles on a variety of topics.

You oughta be in pictures… and with the help of this article, you will be, beautiful.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. I was doing one of those thankless tasks that is the result of affluence and impulse buying, namely too many DVDs and VCRs, the result being that my bedroom is overflowing with empty plastic jackets, mismatched, a riot of chaos and disorganization, efficiency and good order the first casualties needing immediate attention.

However, it is the way of such matters to make grand resolutions… then find them, always for the best of reasons, impossible to carry out. Thus, instead of getting my mint collection of Flash Gordon videos organized the way they should be, I popped in an unmarked tape and thrilled to what I saw. It was… me! And I was wonderful!

In the pink at 28 or so… all deliciously captured on film, forever and ever.

The video in question, depicting my popular workshop on how to succeed as an independent consultant, was the result of my friend Paul Bloom volunteering to undertake the bewildering number of technical details that it takes to create magic and that critical connection with your expectant audience. Way ahead of his time, this oh-so-smart cookie, rightly knew and forthrightly told me that with video mastery the world would be my oyster, with “wealth and fame your reward.” And, by golly, he was right.

Thus on a very hot day in about 1977 or so, in an ordinary classroom turned into a makeshift studio with live audience; temperature like the steam room of the Chicago Athletic Club; hotter and hotter from the plethora of sweat-making lights, I faced the truth that is video… and found out that Paul — and Rudy Vallee’ — were right:

I was a natural, video thereby becoming a substantial part of the mail-order enterprise that first turned me into a millionaire by 30, a long time ago. Now I intend to assist you get rich and famous, too… ready to get started? You just couldn’t have a better avatar than Rudy or… me!

Two-step to video mastery… “You Ought to Be in Pictures”.

Even if you’re 60 or 70 or so, you probably couldn’t name a single one of Vallee’s’ mind-boggling array of hits. However, he was prolific, he was cute, he was a real-deal Yalie, and he knew how to keep America dancing and feeling swell. And so he did yet again with his 1934 hit “You Ought to Be in Pictures”, written by Dana Suesse and Edward Heyman.

Go to any search engine prontito and immerse yourself in the background music that will put you into just the right mood to rise higher and higher. It’ll be the ride of your life. Here are the essential tips you’ll need….

Set your objective. It all starts from within.

Since you’ve now listened to the recorded version of “You Ought to Be in Pictures”, you know it’s written from the perspective of an adoring lover paying his girl friend the biggest compliment he can think of. Men have been giving their ladies such posies since there have been men, ladies, and the need to fashion compliments to achieve desirable ends. Effervescent tunes with delectable beats and dance steps fall under this heading… but it’s going take much more to get you started in video.

First, you need the desire to be a “star of stars”. It’s not enough that people tell you, however lyrically, that “you ought to be in pictures.” You’ve got to want it. This essential aspect of the matter eliminates the wannabees who think the final results are marvelous… but who won’t do the necessary to achieve them. Be different. Resolve here and now to be one of the 1% who is truly dedicated to success and will do the necessary, all the necessary to achieve it.

Get help. One of the problems about succeeding in video or any other form of media is the lack of role models. I mean, Oprah just isn’t going to take the time to advise and mentor you, is she? However, you need that kind of detailed, specific, hands-on help. Where can you get it without breaking the bank?

Start at worldprofit.com. That’s where you’ll find me and the folks called Monitors. I am the originator of this concept and virtually every day of the year (with very infrequent time off for good behavior) I am there being a Monitor and, along with my colleagues, instructing new folks like you.

It is a unique system which creates video professionals like the Monitors at Worldprofit. What’s more — and this is really BIG — your instruction is FREE once you’ve become a Member, that’s right, F-R-E-E. I kid you not.

Here’s just some of what my colleagues and I will teach you… each technique, tactic, and tidbit the distillation of years of actual experience and “been there, done that” hard work, not a word theoretical.

Item: When you’re an ingenue, on camera for the first time or two, you’ll be nervous and that’s ok. That means you are treating the matter at hand with the importance and consideration it deserves.

Item: Smile. Because the matter is important, because you want to get off to a good start, chances are you’ll look like the Grim Reaper when you come up. Remind yourself (by keeping this set of recommendations near) to smile. Remember, the audience wants to like you. Show them you want to be liked; that you’re worthy of their attention and appreciation.

Item: Tell your audience you’re a newbie, still learning the ropes. There isn’t a person in your audience, no matter how large, who hasn’t been in your shoes. Believe me they are rooting for you. Just make sure they know how new and green you are!

Here are some more useful tips.

Item: Place yourself in the center of the screen. Make sure you are not squished in a corner or that your head seems to rest on the bottom pane. That is what I call the “guillotine” position and you know what happened to the folks, even kings like Louis XVI, who made that mistake!

Item: Make sure your lighting is adequate. It should be ample, not generate shadows or glares. It should look entirely natural, flattering, not raking; making you look like the proverbial deer in the headlights.

Item: Make sure your background is plain and simple, never “busy” with lots of avoidable distractions. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, Simon.

Item: Your clothes should be dressy casual. You should look like a person of the world, which necessarily entails knowing what to wear, when, and how. When in doubt, ask your mother… or ask me. I am a video fashionista!

Still more.

Item: Use a script — and practice. Until you become very comfortable with the camera (like me!), don’t extemporize. The script is your friend.

Item: Keep a dictionary at hand. Look up words you don’t know and how to pronounce them. Adult learners tend to be difficult about this, often regarding the matter of increasing vocabulary and proper pronunciation and usage as cruel and unusual punishment. YOU need to take the broader view.

Item: Eliminate all background noise, including overly indulged dogs and terminally cute kids, all of whom view your air time as the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the power and perfect audibility of their practised shrieks and yelps to the world.

Item: Practice. At Worldprofit we maintain what we call the Live Business Center practice area. In it people can get their on-screen presentation just so. If you don’t have this helpful facility, then ask a friend to assist as I did so long ago with Paul Bloom and his meticulous eye.

Lights, camera…. goof.

Now it’s time to get out there and astonish the world; only unless you’re Superperson your inaugural performance is likely to be less than brilliant, more like a dog’s dinner, glitches, false starts, errors small, memorable, ludicrous. Not to worry. It takes time to get good. So don’t get discouraged. Make your mistakes early, particularly the really memorable bloopers you are sure to make. (Need I say that visiting me at worldprofit.com will ensure you make as few and get good as fast as humanly possible.)

Serendipity, Tom Welling, and the power of media, the power you want to have working for you ASAP. .

About 3 a.m. today, while I was working on this article and feverishly trying to find the complete lyrics to “You Ought to Be in Pictures” but with no success whatsoever, the phone rang. It was a gentleman who was on one of our affiliated websites and had what I was looking for. And so he picked up the phone, never mind the time, and called with all the details I required. Hallelujah! The power of media demonstrated yet again. My live presence online united with Tom Welling’s kindness and search skills delivered the bacon. Tip of the hat, Tom… I’d love to have you a participating player at worldprofit.com.

“You surely should be offered/ A starring part — right away…”

And if no one offers, why then propose yourself for there is a world to conquer… ideas to disseminate! People to touch, change, influence! And as for money… when you’re using media it’s as easy as turning on an endlessly open faucet! So get started now; don’t keep your legions of soon-to-be fans waiting. Haven’t they suffered enough without the immediacy, the vibrancy, the grand reality that is you? Go to worldprofit.com and let me know. I am ready to work my proven magic on you, for after all,

“”You’re sweet as a Gaynor/And you’re hot as a gal named West. You’ll even make Garbo jealous/ when you take a movie test.”

Oh, yes, you are going to be “My star of stars!”

A dedication.

To the memory of Paul Bloom. Too soon taken , never forgotten, always remembered and loved. You told me it would happen, then you helped me so it did. Rest now and dream the big dreams forever.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is the author of over a dozen printed books, several ebooks, and over one thousand online articles. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com. Check out Lead Rocket -> http://khdfshops.leadrocket.hop.clickbank.net

Our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. Independence Day, 2013.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. She made the request as if she thought I might deny it, as if I might deem it inappropriate for a business website. However, if she thought this, she didn’t think it for long. “Of course you should read the Declaration of Independence in the Live Business Center. I’m only irritated that I didn’t think of it myself.” And thus did Barbara Buegeler, Senior Monitor in Worldprofit’s LBC, do what every Citizen should do one day each year this day: that is not just to think about this exalted document, but to actually read it aloud as our ancestors used to do, beginning on July 4, 1776.

Sadly, most people do nothing, no thought, no reading, no consideration at all of one of history’s signature documents, the document that laid the revolutionaries’ case, our case, before the bar of public opinion worldwide, thereby not only alerting our English masters that a new reality was at hand, but every oppressive government wherever it might be, not just then but forever after.

And so the lady from rural Texas began to read, each word famous, but some touched by God Himself…

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of this earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Having thus forthrightly stated their risky intentions through the genius of young Thomas Jefferson (just 33 at the time he put quill pen to paper) the members of Congress assembled; each now a marked man, a man venturing everything that makes life comfortable and sweet, thrilled to the riff each hoped would unify 13 fractious colonies; the riff that would forever brand George, by the Grace of God, King as the very archetype of tyranny, when in fact he was anything but.

To make his point and to foment the revolution to which he and his resolute colleagues were committed, he did what all revolutionaries do: he contorted the truth. He exaggerated, misstated, rearranged, and reshaped, the better to achieve his treasonous goal. For make no mistake about it, these were men who were playing for the biggest stakes and were betting everything on being right, for the consequences were staggering if they were not, for each one individually and for all collectively.

And so Jefferson, a world-class propagandist, gifted with the power of words, took sharp aim at his anointed sovereign, never mind that hapless monarch and the monster of iniquity conceived and portrayed by Jefferson had virtually nothing in common. No matter.

Thus, at least 18 times in prose that grew in harshness and intensity with each new clause beginning “He has…”, Jefferson walloped his king and liege lord, the man, he asserted, who never tired of menacing, upsetting, exasperating and even destroying the colonies which were the jewels in his imperial crown. Thus….

“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary to the public good”… to… “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

It was splendid, masterful invective, broad, audacious, designed to outrage and turn every colonial, no matter how disengaged, loyal and pacific, into a fervent partisan, a new breed called Americans.

However, there was a problem, a big problem. The real king George III and Jefferson’s bogeyman were not the same person… no way. How to handle this conundrum? Lie. For after all, if a man is proposing treason, what matter a lie or two? You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs.

About the King, a true revolutionary himself.

But if Jefferson had carefully distorted his facts, sometimes in degree, sometimes in veracity, sometimes by a word or two of artful arrangement, sometimes false in every particular, who then was the man for whom his subjects worldwide sang “God Save The King”?

That man, George William Frederick (1738-1820) was the product of revolution, the heir of revolution, the living pledge of revolution and the man whose very life confirmed that the promise and settlement of the great and Glorious Revolution of 1688 abided; that the sovereign reigned but ruled as little as Parliament allowed, and that year by year was less and less.

For this revolution, lead by renegade aristocrats, assured the final victory of Parliament over Crown, thus turning this Crown, however radiant and burnished into the creature of the people and their potent legislature, from whence came everything, including whatever colonial policy they thought best, whatever obstreperous colonials might think.

And this presented Thomas Jefferson with a stupendous, daunting problem which would surely have confounded and thwarted many a lesser man. What’s more Jefferson had many other things on his always active mind. For one thing, he was physically uncomfortable as all the delegates were. It was insufferably hot in Philadelphia those crucial days of argument and revolution. Delegates grew irritable from tossing night after miserable night, unable to find the rest they sorely needed for matters of such high importance.

Worse, they discovered the tenacious presence and bite of bed bugs, determined creatures, no respecters of persons or causes, savoring the flesh of delegates, happy in their work.

Then there was the matter of his parlous financial condition. Throughout his long life, Jefferson lived like the wealthy man he never was. He spent money he didn’t have, borrowing money he had no way, and perhaps no intention, of paying back. He was well acquainted with duns pestering him for long overdue sums. And so it was in Philadelphia, where its many Quaker residents curiously adhered to the quaint notion that what was borrowed needed to be repaid in timely fashion, a point of view entirely foreign to Jefferson, a man of careless finances and high living.

But there was another reason, too, and that was his beloved wife, Martha Wayles Skelton, who was a 23-year-old widow when he married her January 1, 1772. Theirs was a love match with all that entailed and in the long, uncomfortable nights he missed her to the core of his ardent being and longed for her passionate embraces. Remember, he was just 33…

However, the revolution needed him and so he put his genius to work crafting the words of revolution. Fortunately he had opponents who were not remotely as gifted in that department, opponents who failed to answer Jefferson and his colleagues, and so lost the crucial battle for hearts and minds. Jefferson made a brilliant case; his opponents relied on their established rights and disdained the messy business of human persuasion. And this wasn’t remotely good enough…. as the loyal royalists learned to their eternal detriment and rue.

Lord North.

This brings us to the very antagonist Jefferson might have wished to have… Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, Knight of the Garter, Privy Councillor (1732-1792) known to history by his courtesy title, Lord North, the man who, along with his dread lord, threw away the greatest of empires. His tenure in office running from 1770 to 1782 was disastrous for the Crown and the greatest possible benefit to Jefferson and the Great Republic which grew from the great Declaration. In short Jefferson and his colleagues lucked out, and as Napoleon later said, “Give me the lucky man.” That was most assuredly Jefferson, most assuredly not North.

And the sad thing is, North knew it and often begged his sovereign for permission to resign. But the King wanted a man as prime minister he trusted, and that was North, a man of no vision, no knowledge of Americans and the colonies, without empathy, inspiration or the ability to cut a deal that would keep them British. He pleased the king and so his majesty kept the man congenial to him, catastrophic to his realm. How Jefferson, brilliant, dazzling, splendid Jefferson must have whooped at his unrivalled fortune in having such a hack, such a mediocrity as his opponent…

Thus was the greatest empire sundered; thus did the Great Republic grow apace, the one lead by the blind and inadequate, the other driven by determination, brains, and growing expertise in the artistry of revolution. In such circumstances, the English could not prevail; they had so little to offer whilst the revolutionaries promised everything including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, the hand that trumped all.

“God Bless America!”

Thus we arrive at today by stages short and long, difficult and easy, losing and winning, proud and abasing. But always important and influential for such is our destiny, and we must play it out. But I have this question for you, my reader, my every reader. How can we do so with massive ignorance about who we are, where we came from, what we have done and why it matters, for that is our painful and dangerous situation today when so little is known of America and that little so often wrong. How long can we sustain our might and mission under such enfeebling circumstances… and how can we possibly help the world and be that bright city while presenting such a poor and tawdry example?

That is why I urge you to read the great Declaration aloud and help rescue the Great Republic from her sad plight today, so dangerous, so inglorious, so abashing in every way.

Then go to any search engine, and find Irving Berlin’s great hymn to the Great Republic, “God Bless America,” first written in1918, revised in 1938. I recommend the stirring version by Kate Smith, a chanteuse who belted it out and brought a tear to the eye of every true American, every lover of freedom, and every citizen trustee for our great story, “Through the night with a light from above”.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is the author of over a dozen print books, several eBooks, and over one thousand online articles. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.

A sapient CEO addresses the office tantrum, pro and con, more con, calling on that pint-sized Samaritan Justin Bieber for support, yeah Justin Bieber.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant .

Author’s program note. This article was inspired by a dear friend of mine I’ll call Doyle, leaving you to figure out whether that is his real name, or not. Yesterday he threw a rip snorter of a tantrum, I mean working himself into a real good lather of the “you’re an idiot, I’m a blessed saint” variety.

Now this particular tantrum used a technique as old as pen and paper, never mind that it was carried by e-mail right into my life on a major holiday week-end when I already had two-Excedrin staff problems, the working classes unaccountably preferring the beach on this sultry week-end, rather than helping out their beleaguered and needing-all-hands-on-deck desperate CEO.

Yeah, it was Comrade Jeffrey doing his tantric “I can stretch from Mumbai to Kansas City” number, never mind that I was one tired ol’ puppy, the more needing TLC than providing it… are you sobbing in your beer for me yet? I confess it’s my clear objective until your tears are falling thick and fast into your brew, every one a rosary bead for yours truly.

Anyway, there I was performing feats of derring-do already unexampled in the “CEO Book of Legerdemain and Cleaning Toilets”, a learned tome I don’t have to study, since its every hard-learned word is engraved on my amazingly big, always empathetic and ultra understanding heart. I kid you not.

Then The Letter arrived…

And what a magnum opus it was. Each word carefully calculated to sting and torment, to leave an indelible impression on my tender and tremulous flesh; each one exquisite in its ability to bring a venerable, vulnerable old man to his very knees, there to utter searing jeremiads and heart-felt pleas of near Biblical woe and high lamentation, more feeling and profound than emanating from the great Sanhedrin itself, my eloquence still memorable despite my heart-rending plight. Are you sobbing yet? No matter, I’m just getting wound up….

The structure of a tantrum.

Doyle’s words came thick and fast, each one as sharp as Zola’s epic line, “J’accuse”.

Doyle was outraged… Doyle was chagrined… Doyle had never in his long and useful life been so humiliated, insulted, and infuriated. Doyle was good. Doyle was better. Doyle was the best. Doyle was a saint laboring long hours in obscurity for the good of mankind. Doyle was… but you get the picture. I expected the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to arrive any minute, to sing out about this righteous man of near holy proportions. Amen, Brother, Hallelujah!

What had caused this veritable volcano of rage and acute self justification and total loss of his usual and habitual sang froid and icy self control, the very model of grace under pressure? What indeed!

He didn’t get the exact hours he wanted in the company schedule. And so he was determined not merely to throw the baby out with the bath water, but to puree that infant in the Cuisinart of his scorched and hurting soul.

First, he was quitting his job… never mind that he had never held a place which he loved so well, amongst people who respected and, yes, even loved him; where his beautiful and lovely-of-soul-and-spirit wife (call her Casey) was welcome, admired and petted whenever she dropped by; a place where he was valued, respected, heeded, and shamelessly flattered, deferred to, and extolled by his so perceptive CEO who knew a good person when he saw one and who was never afraid to lavish care and consideration on such a complete paragon.

Doyle cast all this aside, so titanic was the cauldron of his wrath. “I wanted certain hours. I must have certain hours. And since someone else booked those hours I am going to burn down the house, destroying all and everyone within, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, hasta la vista, bebe. P.S. This is the best company I’ve ever worked for, with the best people on earth and you, sir, are the best CEO I’ve ever had, and the smartest man I’ve ever known. But I am going to burn the house down just the same, because this is my tantrum, and I never do things by half… and you know that’s true, sir. Good-bye, forever.”

Now let’s get this straight. Friend Doyle was leaving kith, kin, friends and valued colleagues behind because “his” hours had been taken by a perky lady (we’ll call her Sherry) who had the unmitigated gall and temerity to get up early, check the schedule three months in advance and pencil in her John Hancock, never mind that this still left Doyle with dozens of well placed hours to select from.

This, this is what occasioned his let-‘er-rip tantrum sure to be the model for the next couple of centuries or so; a 6.9 on the Richter Scale? What is wrong with this picture? Buffalo-ed, I needed acute insight into the human condition and this (let’s be frank) non-existent “problem” which now was morphing into a real mare’s nest, I called upon that Canadian cutie Justin Bieber and paid his hefty fee to ensure I benefit from his wit and profoundest wisdom. It was money well spent, never mind he already owns all of New Brunswick and has an option to buy Manitoba.

About Justin.

When I told my friend Joe I had hired Justin, he went on a bloody rampage, “Justin is cotton candy… Justin is everything that’s wrong with America… Justin is totally plastic, made up, sick-making.” Yikes! Another tantrum in the making, this time by a guy who in his dim, distant salad days majored in nude frisbee on the glorious sun- swept beaches of Santa Barbara; he’s still miffed he never got on the Olympic team for his provocative, eye-catching sport and smolders about it even now. Besides Justin earns more in five golden minutes than Joe has earned in a lifetime. Make no mistake, consulting the Clearasil boy with the Midas touch made good sense…

Justin (born March 1, 1994) was the very picture of adolescent courtesy, “Hey, dude, what’s the prob? Wanna a pudding pop?” I explained about Doyle, about Casey, about Sherry, about Joe… and about me, the CEO, taking it on the chin, about to lose a valued colleague and two friends, for no good reason whatsoever. And this is what this phenom told me, every word divinely inspired. “Dude, send Doyle the link to my wicked cool tune, ‘Baby’. He’ll know you love him and he’ll feel like a pig about how rotten he’s been to you and all his friends. Take an extra pudding pop on your way out. Ciao, dude.”

I couldn’t wait to hear the music and the lyrics and so raced to the nearest search engine, there to be acquainted with what passes for music nowadays.

“You know you love me. You know you care. Just shout whenever, and I’ll be there. You are my love, you are my heart. And we will never, ever, ever be apart.”

Yeah, that’ll work alright and so I sent Doyle the link accompanied by these words, “Your resignation is not accepted. Listen to the lyrics. And we will never, ever, ever be apart.” I held back until the utmost need a drawer full of Doyle and Casey mash notes to me, to be used only in extremis. But it’s been a day now… and Doyle, anchored in petulance and a whopper of a bad decision, still hasn’t responded. This time it was my Gargoyle who helped me out.

The wisdom of the Gargoyle: “Get over it!”

In December,1967, aged just 20, I made my first visit to Paris and, on Christmas Eve, to the glorious pile that is Notre Dame. There I became acquainted with a mischievous imp, a Gargoyle of wit, insight, impertinent remarks and often unpalatable wisdom. I felt an immediate kinship, even to his pointy ears and a tongue always stuck out at each and every visitor. Of course I came to know his expression well; it said, without hesitation or pause, “Get over it!” And on this basis, he has accompanied me through life, unexpurgated, incorrigible, forever saucy and deflating. It was this Gargoyle who advised me now. This was his counsel…

Friend Doyle is a proud man, but often acts without fully considering or understanding what his actions will engender. So it is in this case. The “problem” here was simple and could be simply resolved, for Madam Sherry is a reasonable woman. Had Doyle sent the merest message about his concern, he would easily have been accommodated. But instead he made the unhappy decision to send an email which should have been written — and trashed. Thus he put himself in an untenable position and you, your excellency, must help him get out of it.

But how, Gargoyle?

By making him laugh, even smile… for the minute his mood lifts, he will understand how foolish and shorted-sighted he has been; remembering all he has to lose, admitting he was hasty and ill-advised, and so the “problem” that wasn’t will be solved and the turmoil subside.

I took Gargoyle’s advice and have just sent this article to Doyle. Hopefully, he’ll get the message so that things can return to “normal”. But just in case even more is necessary, I am resending the link to Justin Bieber’s “Baby” so “we will never, ever, ever be apart.” I’ve asked Joe, who loves Justin so, to serenade Doyle and Casey this evening, sure to be memorable in every way, baby.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is the author of over a dozen print publications, several ebooks and over one thousand online articles on a number of interesting and sometimes controversial topics. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com. Check out Info Cash -> http://khdfshops.cpc100.hop.clickbank.net

Delicious new developments in the riveting matter of ‘Dr’ Bogus Berlowicz asfinger pointing escalates at the abashed American Academy of Arts and Sciences.And don’t we love it?

Author’s program note. Funny how memory works. I hadn’t thought of this incident for years… it concerned one of my grandfather’s construction projects. He had to eject a nest of rats and so took the simple expedient of using a dollop of gasoline and a match. Those rats moved alright, with record speed. But on its way out, one threw back its head and bit the vermin behind, a good, deep gouge.

I like to think Rat #1 was repaying Rat #2 for any number of irritants and exasperations. And that’s what’s happening right now at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, whose august members, trustees and staff are engaged in an epic rendition of academia’s most cherished activity… the art of finger pointing, a recherche’ skill refined over a lifetime and kept for just such a moment as this.

The objective is plain, to prove beyond any doubt whatsoever that you are righter than right, as usual, and that anyone who disagrees is next door to a certified moron, never mind 18 books and a Nobel Prize. And on this basis, the infants terribles destroy the harmony and quiet disdain that ordinarily defines their sand box.

This is why the late William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008), renowned for his puckish commentary once famously said “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

What is happening these fascinating days at the American Academy proves his trenchant point… that is why I cannot get enough of this scandal for it shows the best at their worst.

The facts.

In early June, 2013 The Boston Globe broke the story that the 45th president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Leslie Berlowicz, who wore her doctoral title like a papal tiara, did not have the earned doctorate in English she claimed New York University had conferred; rather that she had bestowed it on herself which even the most fastidious must admit is faster than the tedious business of working for it. And as Leslie was a girl in a rush, she made the perfectly rational decision that so much tiring effort was for the little people, not titans of moving and shaking like her. No other course of action made any sense at all.

Thus she applied to be President of the Academy (1996) the revered institution founded in 1780 by three heroes of the American Revolution, John Adams, John Hancock and James Bowdoin, their goal the constant betterment and improvement of the Great Republic.

Her lies were equal to the task at hand, for they secured her the bountiful objective of her schemes, including princely remuneration which in 2012 reached $598,000, a height which even Madam Leslie may have thought acceptable for such a paragon as she (but probably didn’t).

She had gambled, she had won, she had proved her superiority and tactical skills, including leveraging her bogus credentials on one false document after another (including grant applications to several agencies of the federal government) to get still more. She had a proven system of success and she worked it with a will. Never mind that she was sole beneficiary or that she brought shame to one of the Great Republic’s most respected institutions. The important thing was that she survived and prospered.

Thus, I give you Stephen Sondheim’s 1971 masterpiece, “I’m Still Here” from his aptly named musical “Follies”. So apropos are the lyrics to the developing scandal at the Academy and Madam Leslie’s clear objective to beat the rap and even keep her golden goose, no other tune would do.

Go now to any search engine and listen to its bold, bodacious, brassy sound and its unmistakably clear message of what it takes to survive. I prefer the version by Elaine Paige, a diva always worth hearing. Ironically enough the many talented Sondheim was elected a Fellow of the Academy in 2008, very much during Berlowicz’ salad days. No doubt Madam Leslie appreciates his often wicked cool lyrics and smooth harmonies, though this may not be her very favorite.

“I should have gone to an acting school, that seems clear; Still someone said ‘She’s sincere,’ so I’m here.”

Latest disclosures, further evidence the Board was asleep at the switch.

A short refresher course in the whys and wherefors of nonprofit organizations is now necessary. These organizations, hundreds of thousands strong, are the bedrock of our society, crucial to the way we live and the quality of our lives. Almost all are tax-exempt, that status being conferred upon application and review by the federal government.

The power to act and the responsibility for acting resides in what is either called the Board of Directors or Board of Trustees. These people are elected by the Board for either their prestige, management skills and business acumen, or their useful contacts and ability to give donations themselves or connect them to others who can do so.

Executive power is delegated by the Board to the individual variously called either president or executive director. This person is responsible to the board for all actions and may or may not have full membership on the board as the organization’s by-laws dictate.

This executive serves at and may be removed at the pleasure of the Board with or without cause. Thus, in theory, the executive is the creature of the Board, every action open to periodic and regular review either by the full Board or by an executive committee appointed by and responsible to the full Board. Within this framework, the Board rules all… at least in theory.

In fact, as glaringly occurred at the Academy, the President , Madam Leslie, subverted the governing structure and systematically replaced their power and authority with her own, leaving directors progressively disengaged from the governing process for which, remember, they remained completely, legally, responsible. How had this inversion occurred? In a nutshell it was because the Board had largely disengaged from the governance of the Academy, thereby creating a vacuum which Berlowicz was only too anxious to fill.

“I’ll do it” was her policy and governing objective… achievable because she micro-managed just who was elected to the Board, an essential project to which she gave unstinting attention, especially when after just one year in office, she was taken to task by the Board for abusive behavior to the Academy’s long-suffering staff. She survived — just — no doubt resolving “never again.” Her decisive influence over the Board made her regime of control and contempt not merely possible but inevitable.

And so…

In 2004 “Dr.” Berlowicz persuaded her compliant Board to add her name to the roster of more than 200 newly elected members of the Academy — 6 months after the original election notice, thus making it look like Madam had been voted in to the exalted Pantheon along with everyone else. It was a lie, of course, but by then altering reality was her speciality and by 2004 her skills in this department were peerless.

For instance, as reported in The Boston Globe, several former employees claimed that Berlowicz worked early and late getting just the right candidates for election; “right” being defined as people Madam liked and admired, always blocking those she felt would be inimical to her regime of falseness and favoritism. This included even seeing all the ballots before they were tallied… a device reminiscent of political machines for whom voting the long dead and gone was child’s play.

Academy spokesman Ray Howell pooh-poohed any such concern saying that while Berlowicz did have access to all ballots, no one need worry since she “was responsible for making sure the election process was administered appropriately”. Mr. Howell, no doubt, was speaking in the ironic mode, tongue firmly in cheek. Thus, he follows the party line and stays “loyal”. After all, he has a job to protect, and Berlowicz has not resigned or been removed — yet.

And so it goes as one revealing feature after another of her menacing regime seeps out. How she ordered the word “welcome” effaced from the Academy’s front door to make sure hoi polloi would understand this nirvana was not for them. How starting three years ago she began closing access to the good people of Cambridge to the 5.1 acres of wooded grounds which the Academy leases from Harvard University. The City of Cambridge intervened to retain the status quo and a place for a pleasant saunter.

How the Academy in her regime has blocked access even by qualified scholars to manuscript material of George Washington (who once lived nearby in Cambridge), Thomas Jefferson, and Founder John Adams, and many others thus outraging the very basis of the Academy as a place of unfettered research and the free dissemination of useful knowledge.

Why did the Board put up with it all? One guess.

With a rap sheet as long as your arm, why didn’t the Board act to save the mission, its soul and self respect? Money… that’s why. Miss Leslie, you see, was a prodigious fund raiser, skilled in adding generous plutocrats and zillionaire entrepreneurs. Boston Scientific Corp. cofounder Peter Nicholas, who became a Fellow in 1999, gave $2.4 million between 2006-2010 when the Academy raised $39 million.

John Cogan, a Boston investment executive who joined the Academy in 2005, gave $1.9 million. Gershon Kekst, Wall Street communications tycoon, elected in 2006, gave a million.

There were Fellows, of course, who talked darkly about the evil influence of cash and how these folks were NOKD (“not our kind, dear”) but the well-heeled had always been welcome. After all one of the cofounders, John Hancock, was the richest merchant in Boston.

Thus had Leslie played her cards better, foregoing the delights of demeaning her staff and affronting anyone and everyone, she might have gone on to scale the invigorating slopes of power, riches and sweet control, her lies known but tolerated because of her undeniable fund raising skills. But moderation was never her metier. And so she is now on paid leave whilst her Board dithers to a decision about what to do, though that should be obvious to even these tabby cats.

A person of eminence and known integrity should be appointed to review the case, thence to make recommendations for reasserting the Board’s legitimate and legal functions. I recommend Margaret Marshall, recently resigned Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, a woman well respected, who conveniently lives within walking distance of the Academy and knows it well. After all she’s been a Fellow since 2001.

As for Madam Leslie, I can hardly bear to think of her retiring from the scene, golden parachute in hand. But perhaps she’ll survive to fight another day. After all that is the point of Sondheim’s gem,

“Good times and bad times, I’ve seen them all/ And, my dear, I’m still here.”

And that, for once, is nothing but the truth. It’s a start.

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc. at www.worldprofit.com, providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com. Check out Info Cash -> http://khdfshops.cpc100.hop.clickbank.net

10,000 (Wo)men of Harvard. Oprah Winfrey at Commencement, May 30, 2013 and I am proud to be there for

Author’s program note. I knew I would go to Harvard Commencement this year after I read a disconcerting article in The Boston Globe some months ago. It cited the opposition of certain alumni to having Miss Oprah Winfrey as this year’s principal speaker and honorary degree recipient, Harvard’s chief honor. Their argument went something like this, some of it overt, some (the ugliest) not.

She wasn’t up to Harvard standards, she was not a woman of education, not a woman of merit, and most important, NOKD, “Not our kind, dear.” As these words, written and implied, rolled out, I knew in my bones that come hell or high water, I would be present, in full regalia, to honor the lady and what I knew would be her message of hope, inspiration and empowerment.

And so yesterday, on the unexpectedly hottest day of the year, I went back to Harvard, on the day of my own 43rd graduation anniversary… to show solidarity, support, good manners and discerning judgement. And no one cheered her more loudly and with greater sincerity than I did… for I recognized that this was not merely an event to honor a single woman, no matter how deserving of such honor. But far more important to honor the sisterhood and their gentle revolution, an epochal event that changed the world and liberated not just women but men, too, for the liberation of women has certainly meant the liberation of men, though not all such have recognized this yet.

Dramatis personae.

Before I go on I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to the principal players in yesterday’s production. First, there is Mr. Aime’ and Mrs. Mercedes Joseph, born in Haiti, two of the principal reasons why my life works so well and smoothly. I took them to Commencement to thank them, to show them an aspect of Americana they would not otherwise see, and, frankly, because it is easy to trip and fall amidst the undulations of such a huge crowd… and their support was very useful indeed.

Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University, Lincoln Professor of History.

Sandra Demson, ’58, distinguished attorney in Canada, veteran of the revolution.

Oprah.

Diane Neal Emmons, Ed.M., an old friend rediscovered, another soldier for the cause, her weapons of choice her wit, ebullience, and an optimism that will not waver, despite the provocations life throws at each of us, delighting to see what we will make of them.

Fate.

As a social scientist, student of the material world in all its manifestations, I should not believe in such matters as destiny, providence, or kismet. Should not. But when a day arranges itself as felicitously as yesterday’s did, the right things happening in just the right order, one is forced to consider the inconvenient notion that something other than random chance is present, “inconvenient” because unpredictable, though that doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Yesterday’s serendipities were anything but…

Security.

Since I arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1969, I have passed through the great Class of 1877 Gate thousands of times. But when I passed through it yesterday I was patted down by a female security officer. It is a sign of our times, a blip that tells us the world has changed, and not for the better. Once inside a recollection from “Gone With The Wind” came to mind. It was at the beginning of the film, where the newly engaged couple, Ashley and Melanie, stand on the balcony of Twelve Oaks and look out at their world of grace, luxury and privilege, a world they love, threatened with destruction whether the South wins or not.

I stood for a moment, just next to the president’s office in Massachusetts Hall and looked at the vibrant scene before me. It, too, is challenged, roiled by even positive change… I was determined to see, determined to remember what I saw this day and what was part of me: class marshals in top hat and cut-away; their female counterparts wearing bright red rosettes with bright smiles to match; academic gowns from every renowned and prestigious university on Earth; new graduates wearing the most desirable costume of all, their unflinching youth. They would shortly sing “Gaudeamus igitur, Juvenes dum sumus” (Let us rejoice while we are young.) They would not understand… but the alumni before them would… for the words, once just lyrics of a well-known song, gather their profound meaning with every passing year in an exercise we call wisdom and which we cannot approach unmoved.

Rubbing for luck.

Every alumnus becomes perforce a guide when escorting guests to Commencement, and so, hobbling, I lead the Josephs to the statue of John Harvard, the Founder. Only it isn’t. There are no extant images of the man whose gift of books, lavish as all gifts to Harvard should be, launched the greatest educational establishment on Earth (1636).

What to do? Improvise! And thus a suitably attractive young man of noble countenance from the class of 1884 was invited to pose for the famous statue by Daniel Chester French. It stands in the center of the Yard, the faceless Founder facing eternity in the body of flawless youth. Both have thereby been immortalized, and this is perhaps why one is advised to rub the shoe for luck… for seizing eternity is certainly worth the doing. This is something every Harvard student knows.

The President!

When you talk of The President in Cambridge, you mean the President of Harvard. It was my privilege to share a few minutes conversation with the current occupant yesterday, Drew Gilpin Faust, president since 2007. An historian herself, she is a person of history; the first woman to lead Harvard. Let me tell you this: she is well and truly on her way to becoming one of the most respected and beloved leaders of this historic institution and thus one of the great benefactors of the Great Republic and the wider world beyond, for Harvard is universal now and forever more.

When you think of President Faust think of what has happened to and in the world since her historic appointment. You will then understand she has presided over six turbulent years, years when even Fortress Harvard knew anxiety. If she never did another thing, she would find an honorable place in Harvard’s story. But at just 65, she is in her prime… ready to do battle for the light. What will she do? Here’s a clue to one of her projects…

In her remarks yesterday she drove home one essential point; that the impending massive cuts in federal research funding are short sighted, self destructive, ill advised in every way. Research is what gives us the improvements we desire; slicing any part of it gives us less. Does this make sense?

President Faust will ensure Harvard’s clout is used to avoid this folly. And she has my support in doing so. Just as she will always have my support in any and all endeavors to strengthen the liberal arts and humanities, always the great beating heart of Harvard.

“Is this seat taken?”

There were just three seats left in about the fourth row, and I knew we should grab them. But first I needed a positive response to the question asked through the ages: Is this seat taken? And so I came to meet a new friend, Sandra Demson, Class of ’58. She had come to participate in the 55th Reunion of the Harvard and Radcliffe Classes of 1958. I introduced myself and in just a minute or two we were chatting like a house afire, discovering one person after another we knew and had in common. Harvard meetings are like that.

However, the most important aspect of our conversation concerned my questions to Sandra about the differences she discerned in the situation of Radcliffe students in 1958 and the position of women undergraduates today. And here a pleasant afternoon’s smooth conversation became more than chat, an insight into history, something she wanted to tell… and I very much wanted to hear.

You see, Sandra Demson, smart, attractive, charming, was part of the generation which placed every aspect and feature at the foot of Man… and lived to regret it, like so many other women who not only discovered father didn’t know best; they discovered that father knew hardly anything at all… and this made for many problems, ructions, and difficulties, especially when Man continued to insist upon a superiority he clearly did not possess.

And so Sandra, like every “good woman” of her age and outlook learned to carry on, bite her tongue, and somehow keep the faith alive, that better days, and lasting love, too, would come to her. And, in due course, “this too shall pass” passed… And God granted her marital love, peace, and the easy, “woman of the world” manners which we have all erred in not insisting our young successors should have and which she graciously shared with me on this sweltering day.

Oprah!

It was Sandra Demson who looked at Oprah and said, “She’s nervous. She’s trembling”… No wonder. A poor black girl from the Deep South,had by dint of unceasing work, determination and an attitude of “must” not just “can” do had scaled the heights into the very citadel of American prestige. There she was, physically smaller than her outsized television presence, quivering just a bit but the crowed roared for her… and so the lady of embracements, hugs and love, was soon awash in the huzzas which must have been heard blocks away. In a very real sense, Oprah Winfrey had come home, and she was greeted accordingly.

The music.

When the tumult ebbed a bit, Oprah began. Soon, just in passing, she mentioned a tune she loved. I looked it up when I got home and immediately understood her better as well as why she’d referenced it, holding it close, a security blanket. It is “We’ll understand it better bye and bye”. Written by Charles Albert Tindley (1851- 1933), an ex-slave and “the Father of Gospel Music”, it is a rousing, barn stormer of a song, the lyrical equivalent of Oprah herself. Go now to any search engine and listen carefully…”We are tossed and driven/ on the restless sea of time… We will understand it better bye and bye.” I prefer the inimitable version by Mahalia Jackson. Listening to this mistress of godly soul, you can believe, deep in your heart, that better times will come as they came to Oprah Winfrey.

Then Oprah told us how they came to her, what she learned, what she had to do… and what she had to share with others. She spoke, like a female Polonius, of being true to thyself, of living your own life, not the life assigned to you or allowed by others. She spoke of the commitment one must make, the unceasing focus one must maintain. And she spoke of what must be done in the inevitable days when troubles come and one faces the reality of dread and defeat. This was not mere eloquence, though the lady excels at eloquence. It was not mere rhetoric, though the lady’s rhetoric is notable… no, indeed. Instead she was speaking from what the world knows as her great heart… so motivational, so inspirational, so uplifting that along with her massive crowd of the eminent, learned and well connected, I was on my feet, not just cheering, but shouting approbation and encouragement… yes, Oprah had come home…. and for the lady who loves there was ample love indeed.

Dee-On.

My day was, I thought, over and completely successful. Aime’ and Mercedes Joseph had given support. President Faust impressed and reassured. Sandra Demson gave charm and friendship. Oprah gave the formula not merely for success, but how to conquer failure. It was enough, more than enough, but there was more….

Leaving the Tercentenary Theatre, Oprah whisked away by the omnipresent security, I saw a face I knew so well… and it was Diane (always pronounced Dee-On), Diane Neal Emmons. And so serendipity continued, unpredictability its metier, for here was a long-lost friend, benefactor when I was a penurious graduate student, forty years ago, success in the future, but when? Diane and her legendary hospitality helped make waiting bearable. This time she invited me to her home for the 4th of July celebrations when the known world gathers in her front yard to extol the Great Republic. I may even go… for there is a story there… and I want to be the one who tells it, for only thus will we “understand it better bye and bye…”

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc. at www.worldprofit.com, providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.

‘Lollipop, lollipop! Oh lolli, lolli, lolli.’ When your sweet tooth cannot be denied.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. This story began a long, long time ago. Week-days sixty years ago and then some, my father used to take the Burlington Northern Railroad into Chicago. There was a ritual to his commute. My mother, particularly in winter and on the many inclement days which distinguish Illinois weather, would drive over to drop him off in the morning when he looked spruce and sharp, exactly like a young junior executive should look… and pick him up in the evening, when a gaggle of other young wives and children awaited their bread-winning hubbies. He looked suitably rumpled and tired, the way a young junior executive should look after a long grueling day in The Loop. We were all, and he was particularly, comme il faut.

On nice days, my father used to walk home. It wasn’t a particularly long walk but yet our still very much in development neighborhood lacked such amenities as sidewalks. Moreover, the streets were asphalt which melted under the blistering summer sun of the vast prairies. Still, he liked to walk home and he liked company. That usually meant me, particularly in the first years of his commute and, when he grew up enough, Kevin, my brother, whom I treated in the lordly disdainful manner I thought appropriate for such an ingenious little pest.

Of course we all knew precisely how long it took to walk from 4906 Woodward Avenue to the station (hardly more than a whistle stop) we knew so well, right across the street from Mackey’s General Store, at once U.S. Post Office, intelligence center for every single thing happening for miles around, and — you need to know — the object of my affection, every (we thought) kind of candy, many sold for a penny, most displayed in big glass jars, the better to see and to keep the pesky field mice out.

I always made sure there was enough time to review the sweetest merchandise on Earth, both old favorites and new brands we were eager to know, sample, and if they passed our rigorous standards, spend our limited funds on.

Mr. Mackey was our prime source of information; Mrs. Mackey always seemed a shade distant. She busied herself with “women’s” merchandise; (there was always a frock displayed in the window; it was always a year or two out of date; never a la mode. Of course I didn’t know that then. I also didn’t know that the hauteur on regular display was designed to punish her husband for dragging her to this backwater and, worse, keeping her there without possibility of promotion or release. It was all unsaid, of course… but never unknown.

Under the circumstances, it was probably better that our dealings were with the patron himself. He took excellent care of his pint-sized but discerning customers. I’d say now that he was a man who had come to accept his fate and was, therefore, sufficiently at peace, happy to treat children with true courtesy, instead of false condescension.

I imagine Mrs. Mackey might have differed, believing such time wasted. But if she’d ever said such a thing about me, her lord and master might well have reminded her that my family was well known and their collective custom nothing to be sneezed at. And so Mr. Mackey instructed me on a subject no real boy could know too much about… candy. Frankly, the candy industry of the Great Republic should have conferred award after award on this indispensable man; for he didn’t merely sell it… he turned pip squeaks into life time buyers. And that deserved the utmost recognition… as his dear wife probably didn’t know or appreciate… But I do.

Lollipop.

Quick, how many songs about candy do you know, particularly songs where the adolescent beloved is likened to one’s favorite confection? The list, of course, is interminable. One of the best known is a little1958 ditty called “Lollipop”. It’s a particularly brainless effusion that was probably written on the back of a match book while waiting for one’s sweetie pie to check her prom ensemble — for the twelfth time.

Like so many such ditties once it’s in your head… there is no possible way to get rid of it. And so, with this article, I plant the brain numbing lyrics in your mind for all eternity, as sung by four sugar pies of the prairie, The Cordettes, from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. They were a sugar overdose indeed… with the de rigueur blinding smiles and a “gee whiz” sincerity which in 1949 arch cynic Arthur Godfrey knew America would take to its heart, for “Oh, lolli, lolli, lolli” meant lolly in Godfrey’s capacious cash register for the quartet was box office! He never over estimated the taste of the Great Republic and he accordingly laughed all the way to the bank… as did The Cordettes whose barber shop banalities flourished from 1946 to 1961.

Check them out in any search engine, but remember: if you play “Lollipop” you will quickly become a syncopated menace and your friends and family will retaliate. A present from the Vermont Country Store may placate them. At the very least it will taste good, and such things are always worth knowing about, since we all make mistakes which are best dealt with by gifts of (affordable) tangible remorse. I know.

The Vermont Country Store, Rutland, Vermont

I no longer recall just when I became aware of this enterprise, but I surely know how. I am, you see, a catalog connoisseur. I get hundreds in the mail because my name is golden, a person who buys from such catalogs and buys frequently. Mail order retailers cherish me accordingly and as I am a man who loves affection, I accept theirs with gratitude since, after 65, one must take such regard anywhere one can find it.

I am therefore glad to know about their special offers and other frequent marks of their continuing esteem and adamant desire to make me and mine as comfortable as possible. This is their grand and soothing mission… and as I yield to no one in my adamant desire to be comfy, cozy I started placing orders… including the candies I recalled so vibrantly from the gustatory treats of my many relatives… and what Mr. Mackey had taught me about candy… information which I have used frequently, always readily available in vibrant memory.

Hurricane Irene.

So things might have gone on, The Vermont Country Store tempting; me indulging, without any attempt to resist whatsoever. Then on August 30, 2011 Hurricane Irene walloped the lovely Green Mountain State, just days before the grandeur of the critical foliage season.

Damages in this disastrous storm were in excess of $700 million. Worse, because the damage was mostly flood and water-related, insurance companies were absolved from helping Vermonters; people I knew well from having lectured at its fine, picturesque university. It was an outrage that doomed many businesses… but not the Country Store. Its people reacted with the typically understated phlegm for which all true Vermonters are famous.

“How were things after Irene?” “Bad.” What would they do?” “Persevere.”

And so they did.

That meant contacting all their many customers worldwide and making offers that could not be beat and customer service that went beyond excellent.

Such offers, of course, caught my attention. Thus last Christmas I found myself on the telephone too near December 25th for comfort. When I called in to place my fourth order of the day, the customer service representative said, “You really like us!” I guess so. Christmas present… then present for me… Christmas present…. then another one for me. It was a rhythm that worked and of course candy was an important part of the haul.

No stinting.

With every item I bought, with every item I ate, I felt like the Good Samaritan, helping the folks Vermont way get through their long night’s journey into day whilst slowly savoring each piece of sugar heaven. And that’s why right now, right here there is a box from The Vermont Country Store filled with 11 pounds of sweet perfection… the bridge mix my grandmother loved… the licorice that was my father’s favorite… two boxes of chocolate truffles (to be shared with no one)… giant gum drops 1 inch in diameter and about 1 inch tall. And, yes you guessed it, something “sweeter than an apple pie”…

“Lollipop, lollipop… Oh, lolli, lolli, lolli.”

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is the author of 15 print books, 2 ebooks, and over a thousand articles on a variety of topics including business, and marketing. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.

‘and the ladies they will all turn out.’ How war came to Main Street enlistingevery single one of us. Some thoughts.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. I was restless the evening of April 18 and so did what I almost never do, turning on the television for some light entertainment. This, however, was not destined to take place. Indeed, there was to be nothing light and no mirth at all for that day and the excruciatingly long day to come…

I saw the feature that so often distinguishes late night newscasts, video feed from a crime scene, the place usually being somewhere in the inner city no sensible person would ever go to, much less in dead of night. Sirens blared. The sharp reds and blues pierced the night. Police swaggered, made the kinds of adamant gestures which look so officious and ridiculous but which we card-carrying members of the middle class are glad at moments like this are on our side.

Yes, it was the usual late-night distraction that would be buried on page 8 or so in tomorrow’s paper. Nothing to do with me… not even the caption on the bottom of the screen: “MIT security officer killed.” But from then on, through the long night and the longer day that followed everything was direct, personal, everything to do with me.

The reporter noted the crime scene as Vassar Street, Cambridge while the on-screen video showed a great fortress-like structure that was a building well known to me. There the overflow of my pack-rat life is stored… copies of my books and articles, my father’s letters from the Pacific front in World War II, both sides of the voluminous correspondence when my mother and I were working out the rough patches in a relationship where loving each other did not keep us from saying the sharpest, often wounding of words, she in her copperplate hand, mine rushed and illegible.

Such things and so many others were the crucial artifacts of life, things to be stored in boxes now, to be considered at leisure, some day, I promise… It was all in the building behind the reporter… and I glanced at the time, just about 11 p.m. Life was about to change forever as the total war of our times swept me up, imperious, without thought of who I was, what I had been doing, no matter how important. My desires, wishes, priorities counted for nothing… and neither did yours.

“When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

The lyrics to “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”‘ were written by the Irish-American band leader Patrick Gilmore. Its first sheet music publication was deposited in the Library of Congress on September 26,1863, with words and music credited to “Louis Lambert”, a pseudonym Gilmore unaccountably used instead of his own name. The copyright was retained by the publisher, Henry Tolman & Co., of Boston.

Determining who actually composed the music is much trickier. There is, for instance, a melodic resemblance to an earlier drinking song entitled “Johnny Fill Up the Bowl”. Someone named J. Durnal claimed credit for its arrangement, though not its composition. This in turn had a distinct melodic resemblance to a tune by Robert Burns, “John Anderson, my Jo”, which harked back to a tune of 1630 entitled “The Three Ravens,”… which harked back to… but you get the picture.

The important thing is how popular it became both with Confederate and Union troops. And no wonder… it’s a grand marching song… the music urging tired feet to go farther and never waver… while the lyrics remind them of the delights of home, theirs soon to savor and enjoy, just one more battle… just one. Before continuing, go to any search engine where you’ll find several fine versions. Listen carefully to lyrics which are now ironic and as far away as ancient Troy.

“The men will cheer and the boys will shout.”

This was how wars were fought in those days… and, until just the other day, in ours. We knew who the enemy was. We knew where he was. We knew what he was fighting for and we knew he had a martial code of honor which would (at least occasionally) cause him to think twice before doing the unspeakable. To be sure, it was a code more often honored in the breach… but it did exist, if only in one Geneva convention or another.

Thus did our much loved troops dress up in battle kit, self conscious about the last kiss to girlfriend or wife; these held back the tear that will surely fall when alone just minutes from now when the beloved is gone, perhaps forever. Fathers hugged the children they would not recognize when they returned; they grow so fast.

This was the war we knew… cheers on departure, certain victory for our cause was always right and our resort to warfare always reluctant and unwilling… then loud, sustained, enthusiastic cheers when Johnny comes marching home.

Now that kind of antediluvian warfare is only a thing of memory, resemblance, and wishful thinking… for now we do not go to war in full regalia, flags flying, the music brassy, suitable for the high affairs of the Great Republic. No indeed. For now we do not go to and return from the war. That war comes to us and confounds our lives more than even the greatest of battles… for we are all of us fully engaged in this new kind of undeclared, limitless war without any rules and procedures whatsoever, war where the first casualty may well be a child of 8, his life sundered and blown to bits by malefactors whose movements are secret, stealthy, and murderous, utterly without meaning, honor and the respect soldiers in the other wars might give their worthy opponents.

But this new kind of war is entirely different, insidious, taking prosaic objects and situations, turning them into the weapons of fear, anxiety and random death. This is a world where evil can lurk behind young and boyish faces and demeanors. Where there are no military helmets, but rather baseball caps, worn backwards in approved adolescent chic. This is a world where the element of deadly surprise always belongs to the attackers and thus can be wielded with merciless accuracy and acute precision.

This is a world where the elements for the bombs made to maim, dismember, and destroy are no further than your local hardware store, for amidst the waxes, sprays, paints and screws are the essential tools of pitiless catastrophe and the reverberating fear that paralyzes a great city whilst causing millions more worldwide to wonder if this could happen to them, knowing full well in their anxious hearts that these purveyors of death could already be about their cruel, selfish work; perhaps the surly young man who scowled when greeted today… worse, perhaps the handsome young man who smiled, offering a friendly quip or passing pleasantry. You see, the agent of mass pain and suffering can so easily wear the most amiable of faces.

These are the aspects of our new kind of war, the war, here now, here for the rest of our troubled, fretful lives.

“Stay in your house. Do not open your door.”

I had never received such a call before, but I feel sure I will get others like it in the years ahead. I had decided to go out and see what I could see. But I never got the chance because the Cambridge Police Department called to say I was to stay at home and to make sure I didn’t let any strangers in. They called this lockdown; it turned me, and hundreds of thousands of others, into a legion of the interned…

And so all of us, surrounded as we are by a plethora of communications devices, used them to feed our anxiety and disbelief. On the firing line as we were, we listened intently for each piece of often inaccurate, incomplete, and alarming detail. Like any good journalist, we examined, reviewed, made deductions, listened to more suppositions and soon-to-be-discarded “facts”… veering first one way, then another as events unfolded; our attention rapt and disbelieving that so much was happening, so close, so unaccountable, in my city, my neighborhood and on my very doorstep.

It was surreal, unforgettable, riveting, frightening, the new reality of our challenged, jittery, insecure times. And it can all take place anywhere at any time against any of the peoples of this Earth, people whose race, creed, color or disposition are deemed unsuitable by some “superior” group whose first target is killing the very idea of diversity. For in a world which must necessarily value, strive for, and cherish the diverse; they aim for just one truth, theirs, and as such are willing to go to any length, destabilize any society, engage in any barbarity to secure their way. These are the absolutists of world politics… the lordly thugs who hold the rest of us and everything we value at risk…. they offer hate, violence, an agenda of unmitigated evil and unrelenting malice.

Against such a litany of horrors all the good people of this planet must stand united for our credo, tolerance for all, acceptance, humanity, diversity, inclusion and always love, for without love there can be no lasting peace… and lasting peace is what we strive for. This way, the way of unity and community, is the only way. Otherwise random death and the awesome apparatus of response will be our portion… Thus to save our freedom we are forced to give up our freedom, losers whatever happens. We are already on this perilous road, right to be apprehensive and filled with grave foreboding and growing alarm.

“And let each one perform some part/ To fill with joy the warrior’s heart/ And we’ll all feel gay/ When Johnny comes marching home.”

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is a well known author of 15 books, 3 ebooks, and over a thousand of articles on a variety of topics. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.

‘Aisle be seeing you in all the old familiar places.’ Thoughts on efficiency, radishes, and unlikely friendships that enrich lives.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. If you’re English or an aging subject in one of the great Dominions beyond the seas; if you’re, that is, one of the now fast dwindling number of World War II veterans, civil or military, from whatever piece of Earth on which the sun never set; if you are one of those who knows in your heart that Winston Churchill was right when he talked about the “finest hour” because you were there and lived it… then one song rendered by one singer who became in time an icon of England and its grit, tenacity, and grace under pressure is like a faucet for the involuntary tear. You hear it, you sing it, you are touched by it all over again… and the tears come… all over again.

The song was “I’ll be seeing you”; music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Irving Kahal. It was first recorded by (now Dame) Vera Lynn in 1938, as if the principals somehow were preparing for the mayhem and sadness just around the corner. It was lovely, wistful, haunting and, of course, recorded by an avalanche of talented singers who felt the magic, but could never enhance the original.

“I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places/ That this heart of mine embraces all day through.”

Find it in any search engine in its pristine form and enjoy it thoroughly as your young and dance mad grandparents did… and before I’ve used its unforgettable tune and bitter sweet lyrics for an entirely different purpose!

Efficiency.

I don’t like admitting it, but I am a very busy fellow. What’s more, I was long ago programmed to set worthy goals; set meaningful objectives; and never stop achieving them. Frankly, I cannot imagine another kind of life, much less a life of sloth and excuse making. What’s more at 66 I am just too old and obstinate to change. Thus, you will always find me “doing something”, never bored.

In fact when the subject of boredom raises its ugly head, I instantly recall a marginal note penned by Her Majesty Queen Mary (once an impecunious and superbly efficient princess of Teck). In an unauthorized biography of this most industrious of sovereigns its incautious, uninformed author accused her of episodes of boredom, of all things.

The Queen’s trenchant, unanswerable comment, arresting in her copper plate hand, was stark, “The Queen is never bored!” Neither am I. And both for the same reason: there is just too much of interest and importance always awaiting those with a zest for education, amelioration, and improvement.

Choices

This doesn’t mean, don’t you know, that I do anything at hand, treating the small and insignificant with the same importance and resolution as the cosmic and Earth-changing. No indeed. Rather, I have developed an acute realization about what is truly significant and must be done by my own fair hand… and what must be done by others, and not just any others either, but by people who can do the delegated tasks (nearly) as well as I can, “nearly” because my grandmother, a paragon of unerring Prairie common sense, was always quick to proclaim “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” And so she did…

But I do not.

The key to efficiently and the well lived life is a determined and committed delegation. And so over the years as wealth and resolution made possible, I have shucked off tasks which were all necessary but which each in its way was impeding progress and the early realization of insistent goals deemed more valuable and critical.

And so bit by bit I gave up washing clothes (even folding them and putting them away); driving a car (I always thought a limousine so much the superior mode of transportation, not least because I rest easy during metropolitan grid lock, emerging equable and good natured, even jaunty from the comfortable state room on wheels en route to everywhere my inclinations and schemes necessitate, which could be anywhere at all.)

I gave up, too, trips to post office, bank, cleaners, all the must-have services we rely upon, services that are voracious in eating up time and emotional stability, delivering in my crowded urban area parking tickets and frequent demonstrations of rage and ungentlemanlike behavior. But I had a secret weapon and his name was Aime Joseph. Meeting him was one of the miracles of my life; a literal godsend and like all miracles it came when least expected… and most needed.

Mr. Joseph, as he is well known about Cambridge, was an ordinary taxi driver. which meant he was beset with such characteristic and unpleasant problems as abusive (even armed and dangerous) customers; a dismaying hackney system which was elaborately and expensively stacked against him, cut-throat competition and the feeling that the hurrier he worked, the behinder he got.

Then fate served us both, for when I hailed a cab outside the Sheraton- Commander Hotel, I got far more than another opportunity to show-off my practiced ability to shoe-horn myself into manifestly inadequate space. This therefore was a day of revolution, for we both got Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, a way out and up indeed.

As things developed, his side of an increasingly happy arrangement turned into a black sleek limousine comme il faut, whilst mine meant I never had to think of where we were going, how to get there and the damage purportedly licensed and “responsible” drivers were doing to my (limited) good nature.

The drill.

Mr. Joseph calls me three minutes before he arrives chez moi; I make it a point never to keep him waiting overly long. As soon as he sees me in the lobby, he opens the door and we are on our way, my entire focus on what must be achieved with maximum efficiency, so much so that one very rainy day in Harvard Square, I opened a packet of important documents from my bank without considering the belligerent weather.

Mr. Joseph, unnoticed by me, had the broad golf umbrella opened over my wind swept graying locks. I was oblivious. Others did see, however, and one admiring wag of discernment shouted, “Where can I get someone like that?” Wherever one finds life rearranged by kismet, I would have said had I been paying attention. But that’s the point… I didn’t have to.

Another bright idea.

And so things waxed and waxed again… my subtly flavored asparagus cooked just so (though not the first time); a new cleaners found (half the price of the old); and the unforgettable evening Mr. Joseph and his sympatica wife Mercedes were the first people I called after a particularly nasty fall which opened a deep gash to my right temple. (I was adamant that he should not say ‘Wow’ while bathing the wound in alcohol. I also told him patients were opposed to care givers whispering about them in the kitchen. I told them to sit down and enjoy a fine bottle of my Veuve Clicquot instead. They did not demur and were louder (and less ominous) in their commentaries on my bloody head and bones no one but God has seen before.

Under the circumstances it was then I made the fateful suggestion that he go to Shaw’s Market in Porter Square… and that I’d call him there with what I wanted. And almost immediately we discovered the frustrations which can emerge when a man of precise words and equally precise directions tries to get his explicit wishes across to the conscientious, responsible helper eager to get the thing and only the very thing desired. And that is where the radish enters, for admit it, since you first saw the title, you’ve wondered.

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicacae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. I like a good sharp radish every once in a while… and so one particular day, me on my land line, Mr. Joseph on his cell, I asked him to pick up a bunch and was greeted with… incomprehension. “What is a radish?”, he asked. What indeed? Now try explaining it to a Haitian whose creole may be perfect but whose English is not; the best of a hundred attempts:

“It’s a friggin’ little red thing that is in the produce department, bunched and tied with a rubber band.”

Exasperated, I finally got the produce manager on the phone and the radishes were finally placed in the cart, a symbol of what happens to you when you don’t listen to your grannie and attempt to improve upon the folk wisdom of ages. But I haven’t given up yet. During a recent visit to Shaw’s (for, yes, I am going in person again) I placed a post it note where Mr. Joseph but no one else could find it… I expect it to facilitate the delivery of my radishes. I also taught Mr. Joseph a bit of Vera Lynn’s masterpiece, “Aisle be seeing you in all the old familiar places,” the aisle in question being number 1, where I learned just how difficult it is to achieve the perfect life when two people are entirely focused on making it happen. That’s what’s called a paradox and that’s why I go to the store with Mr. Joseph nowadays… where I’ll be seeing you.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Lant is the author of 15 print books, 3 ebooks, and over one thousand articles on a variety of topics. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com. Check out Info Cash -> http://khdfshops.cpc100.hop.clickbank.net

‘I can’t get no satisfaction.’ The travails ahead threatening Generation X and what you can do about them.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. It is unquestionably one of the greatest rock songs ever written, skewering as it does (with infectious beat) a culture unrelentingly focused on endless, deadening commercialism, no place to avoid the deluge, none whatsoever. In such an environment you are what you buy and only what you buy, and it better be the right brand, too, or your fragile social station plummets:

“Well he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.”

This is, of course, the 1965 zinger by The Rolling Stones, the first tune to take them to the top in the Great Republic, the lyrics that made it clear they had Something To Say and were going to say it no matter how offensive, insulting or irritating as they could be, which was plenty. They weren’t going to take any guff, and they urged the rest of us to get guff-less at the earliest possible moment.

Now, boys with what high school coaches call “bad attitudes” may be able to get away with such irksome behaviors, especially if they’re as rich as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, but the rest of us who live in the “real world” can only imagine a universe where we can actually say whatever we want, whenever we want to say it. The members of Generation X cannot even imagine it…

Meet Generation X, the first cohort in our history destined to be less wealthy than their fathers. Oh, my!

Sadly of all the generations going back to the live wires (masters of lese majeste’) who fomented and executed the revolution of 1776, the members of what advertising executives like to call “Generation X” (a phrase invented in the 1950s by Magnum photographer Robert Capra) will have to be the most patient, accepting and resigned of all… because they face a sea of troubles ahead, including a far less ample lifestyle than Mom and Pop. They are the first generation in the history of the Great Republic to be so afflicted

Nobody wants to break the bad news to them… nobody that is but the perennially adolescent Jagger whose unparalleled ability to deliver the most jarring and socially affronting comments was proven long ago and continues bright into a green (albeit aging) maturity. After all, he’s expert at getting satisfaction…

Generation X, the good news.

With its members born between 1961-1981 Gen. X (as it is usually referred to) may, as a cultural phenomenon, be far more interesting and influential that their notoriously influential parents, the Baby Boomers. This will strike some members of my Boomer cohort as a horrifying deduction, especially when I add this: that Boomers too often have been defined by what they were against, including parents, authorities, Vietnam, abortion and sexual restrictions of any kind, and the merest hint of cutting back Social Security (or raising the age to get it) and other government entitlement programs.

Our expertise is on seeing, wanting and grasping… then gloating over how clever we are at manipulating the system to get more than our share. Yes, we have learned how to get satisfaction, that’s what I say.

Boomers have been called many things but one designation consistently appears and that is “selfish” and all its related descriptors; spoiled, self-aggrandizing, and always manifesting an undue regard for self. “Living well is the best revenge,” and no one lives better than Baby Boomers (as their charged up credit cards attest.) Ours is the Louis XV of generations: “Apres moi le deluge”. This ultra-cynical policy certainly worked for His Most Christian Majesty, who enjoyed himself immensely (think Madame de Pompadour), whilst just managing to miss the guillotine. Cool.

Understanding Gen. X.

As you may imagine with the fate of the Great Republic, not to mention the world at stake, interest in Gen. X and what its members are all about is acute, though conclusions are by no means unanimous. Scholars, after all, must differ since their promotions are dependent upon exquisite, incessant nit-picking which is what defines the Academy. Here, for instance, is what Professor Christine Henseler, one of the most perceptive and sensitive of Gen. X observers, wrote in “Generation X Goes Global: Mapping a Youth Culture in Motion,” a collection of essays. In it she defined

“a generation whose worldview is based on change, on the need to combat corruption, dictatorship, abuse, AIDS, a generation in search of human dignity and individual freedom, the need for stability, love, tolerance and human rights for all.”

Nobody but nobody could ever have written such a celestial Valentine to the Baby Boomers who would have been too busy indulging themselves to read it anyway…. “Apres moi….”

More insight into Generation X.

In 2012, the Corporation for National and Community Service ranked Generation X volunteer rates in the United States at 29.4% per year, by far the highest compared with other generations. The rankings were based on a three-year moving average between 2009 and 2011.

What’s more, compared with previous generations Gen. X. represents a more apparently heterogeneous generation, openly acknowledging and embracing social diversity in terms of such characteristics as race, class, religion, ethnicity, culture, language, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Additional insights about this generation under a microscope include the following:

Item: The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Generation X statistically holds the highest education levels when looking at current age groups.

Item: The 2011 publication “The Generation X Report” dispels the materialistic, slacker, disenfranchised stereotype associated with youth in the 1970s and 80s. (Who could they mean?) This same study finds X-ers active, balanced, happy and famly-oriented.

But here’s the source and the quote that best sums up these astonishing paragons, each apparently issued a societal tool-kit and infinite calm at birth; “X Saves the World — How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking,” deep insights and saintly reflections in 2008 by “Details” magazine editor-at-large Jeff Gordinier.

Baby boomers mess up and stay safe and warm. X-ers cope with the perfect storm but love us anyway. What’s not to like?

Ok, so the Boomers have been battening on the X-ers since there were X-ers to batten upon. We like it that way; we’ll kill to keep them that way, even in face of the perfect storm already assailing our little buddies, a storm a new study from the Urban Institute, a nonprofit Washington research institution, lays out in merciless detail.

1) X-ers up to age 40 have accrued significantly less wealth than their parents did at the same age, even as the average wealth of Americans has doubled over the past quarter century.

2) The collapse of the housing market has hit X-ers hard. X-ers too often overpaid for properties which are now underwater and may never return to their purchase prices. What’s more tougher credit market standards will lock many out leaving them marooned, impecunious, and miserable, thereby producing lots of unhappy X-ers and broken marriages.

3) Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these younger workers have faced a brutal, punishing job market for the last five years. The unemployment rate is 7.8 percent for workers between ages 25 and 34. For workers ages 45 to 54, the jobless rate is 5.5 percent and peaked at 8 percent in 2010.

What’s more, those who held on to their jobs through the 2008 “turbulent days” are often actually worse off. Wages, adjusted for inflation have stagnated for a broad swarth of workers for over a decade; moreover, wages have actually declined for millions of workers through the recession and the sluggish economy.

Problems, what problems?

Let me tell you how these problems will be solved. Ignore them. That’s right, pull that ol’ ostrich head in the sand number. Or re-enact the crowning achievement of those three cute monkeys, the primate “think, hear, say” no evil trio. You see my ever resourceful Boomer generation has already solved this muddle. Years ago when we first became aware of the insoluble mess we were creating, we experimented until we developed the perfect generation to follow our great and abiding glory.

And so we invented Generation X and populated it with progeny who would get next to nothing, leave us with everything, and be glad they have us to cater to. No, they’ll get absolutely no satisfaction… but they’ll never miss it. “Hey, hey, hey, that’s what I say.”

About the Author: Dr. Jeffrey Lant is a published author with 15 print books to his credit, several ebooks and has penned over one thousand articles. His articles cover topics including marketing, home business, US history and US politics. As a noted historian he is also considered an expert on the British Royal Family and European history. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.