Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"Character, not circumstances, makes the man."

"He was street-knowledged, but he wasn't a violent person."

I have thought about this today. Street smarts. Do salesmen have street smarts? Cops? Drug dealers? Bait shop owners? Muffler installers? Plumbers? Probably yes to all in various degree. The capability to read others might pass for street smarts. It sounds akin to being self taught. Issac Newton was self taught. So was Van Gogh, and Frederic Douglas.

Who needs street smarts? Again, probably everyone. Which careers and jobs are closed to those whose only skill is street smarts? Electrical engineering, internal medicine, finish carpentry, furniture & cabinetmaking(that's me), oral surgery, auto mechanics, computer science, DNA technician, petroleum chemist , classical violinist, guitar repair- the list has no end.

Certainly these careers and many others; and the passage to success through them , if not barred outright to those only "street knowledged" must be badly crimped .

If they exist, what choices are open to those with street knowledge only? The list, though also endless, bears far fewer luminaries. Drug dealer, car jacker, hookers, burglars, stick-up men, thieves, will-work-for-food (holding new signs daily) workers, panhandlers. A litany of opportunists? How well do these jobs pay? Commission, straight salary, or wage? Cash and carry? Gash and grab?

I apologize for leaving any honorable choices off the second list. Certainly there are some. Great salesman come easily to mind; but don't forget that other trait typical of any greatness or success, perseverance. Booker T. Washington said "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed. "

I pray that anyone in affliction, trapped by street smarts and poor choices, can find within themselves what Booker T. Washington found in himself. At the very least, that we all remember to face down the demons of our own making, and rouse ourselves to the better Angels.

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