It’s all about ME, ME, ME!
At the time of this writing I have successfully completed a total of seventy-seven years of life on this planet, and I am five months and seven days into my seventy-eighth year—assuming, of course, that I get through today.
AN UPDATE—APRIL 18, 2011:
I have completed that seventy-eighth year and I am, at the time of this writing, some six months away from completing the seventy-ninth year of life on this planet, a mark that I will achieve, as the saying goes, if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise!
I’m a Virgo, born on September 19, 1932. I possess and proudly display all the positive attributes of a Virgo and none of the negative attributes—if there are any.
I am married to a lovely lady, the same one I married away back in 1952 on a beautiful winter day in the city of Douglas, a small town in south Georgia—the state, not the nation. We completed 57 years of marriage on December 13, 2009 and are hurtling toward 58 years of marriage and looking forward to it.
AN UPDATE—APRIL 18, 2011:
My wife and I lacked 25 days completing the fifty-eighth year of our marriage. She died at 9:15 PM on November 18, 2010 from complications of ovarian cancer and kidney failure. I detailed her death in a posting dated December 4, 2010. My efforts may appear a bit macabre to some, but the posting was cathartic for me, and my primary reason for blogging on Word Press is to leave my family with details of my life, an autobiography so to speak. Click here to read the posting—you might want to bring along some tissues.
I was born in Vernon, Alabama, moved with my family to Columbus, Mississippi at the age of five, and in the intervening years I have lived in numerous cities in five states—Alabama, Mississippi, Illinois, Texas and Louisiana—and four foreign countries—Japan, Korea, Germany and South Vietnam.
I am the youngest of seven children born to the same mother and father. Over a period of seventeen years the couple produced seven children—two boys and five girls. I am the last one standing—all the others are gone.
Of those eight people three lived into their eighties, three into their sixties, one died in an automobile accident at the age of twelve—killed by a drunken driver, and one lived only one day.
As for education, I am a tenth grade high school dropout, but I was awarded a Certificate of Equivalence—the equivalent of a high school diploma—through the General Education Development testing process. I would reveal my scores on the five sections of the GED but nobody would believe me—believe me!
In preparation to beginning college level extension courses with the University of Alabama, I took the college level GED tests. Here, as with the five sections of the high school GED tests, I would reveal my scores on the four sections of the college level GED but nobody would believe me—believe me!
Just a bit more info on testing: Prior to retirement from the military I took the federal government’s Civil Service tests and scored in the 96th percentile of test takers. That score combined with my five percent veteran’s preference gave me an overall score of 101 for consideration for hire with the US government, and also qualified me for consideration to participate in the Civil Service’s Senior Executive program. That program provides a path to the top level Civil Service management grade, GM-18, a pay grade equal to that of a four-star general in the military, with a corresponding level of responsibilities.
Accordingly, shortly before my retirement I traveled to New Orleans to be evaluated for the government’s Senior Executive program. I held little hope of being selected, primarily because I was almost 39 years old, and the government in virtually all cases selects people in their mid-twenties for those positions—training for such positions covers numerous federal agencies including all branches of the military—it’s lengthy and expensive, and Uncle Sam looks for longevity in those selected to guarantee a return of the government’s investment.
So far, so good, right? Wrong. I was evaluated by the government evaluation team on my performance and contributions as a group member, and again in an individual interview with the team. The team was comprised of two females, one fairly young and the other a bit older, each presenting, and presumably representing, purposely or coincidentally, a different ethnicity. In my humble opinion I did well on both sections of the interview, but committed a faux pas as I exited the conference room.
The interviewers cautioned me to drive carefully in the New Orleans traffic, and I said that after driving on San Antonio’s freeway traffic with no mishaps, and given the city’s proximity to our southern border and its international mix of vehicles and vehicle operators, New Orleans traffic would be a picnic.
Granted, I affixed a specific nationality to describe certain vehicles and certain operators, but I was referring to the hordes of visitors from our neighbor to the south, none of whom seem to have any familiarity with our intricate freeway system.
Yep, you guessed it—I called them Mexicans—horror of horrors! I did not intend to include San Antonio’s citizens and other residents—our home boys, so to speak—however, I did not verbally exclude them. My remark was all in fun and should have had no effect on my consideration for employment. While my age was definitely a factor, I believe, and will always believe, that my final remark erased me from the competition—to quote Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, I coulda been uh contenduh!
Droning on, I accumulated far more than enough college credits from varied and diverse sources to qualify for the military’s Bootstrap program, gathered them up and traveled to Omaha, Nebraska in 1967 for my senior year. There I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and was graduated in 1968 by the Municipal University of Omaha—now UNO, the University of Nebraska at Omaha—with a major in American history and minors in philosophy and military science.
I earned a Bachelor of Science degree over a period of four years and was graduated in 1981 by the Pan American University at Edinburg, Texas, with a major in Criminal Justice—the degree was almost one-hundred percent criminal justice studies and did not provide for minors. That school is now the University of Texas—Pan American, at Edinburg, Texas.
Those educational tidbits, acquired over a period of thirty-two years, culminated in the equivalent of a high school diploma and two four-year university degrees. The first twenty-two years were spent in the U.S. military with numerous temporary assignments, tours in Germany and Japan and combat assignments in Korea and Vietnam. The next ten years of that period followed my retirement from the military and were the first ten years of the twenty-six years I spent as a federal law enforcement officer.
I included all that boring information in order to show that one can achieve an education while simultaneously doing an outstanding job earning a living and assisting in raising a family. Yes, outstanding, and I have the military decorations—medals, campaign ribbons with battle stars, letters of commendation—atta boys—and two four-year university diplomas to prove it. Over a period of twenty-three years I attended seven different universities in the U.S. and overseas and completed numerous courses through correspondence with military and civilian sources.
Just as an aside, I retired from the U.S. military for length of service after 22 years, and I retired from our federal civil service—U.S. Customs—for length of service after 26 years. Separation physical examinations for each retirement revealed no mental or physical disabilities—I offer that as proof that getting an education the hard way won’t cause any lasting damage.
I assume that since you are reading this, you have managed to get to the bottom of It’s all about ME, ME, ME! If you are interested in more personal information about me—another assumption—I’ll provide a link that includes a considerable amount of such information—click here for About the King of Texas.