Saturday, November 26, 2011


I read Shakespeare and the Bible, and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education.

Tallulah Bankhead
Hello Jen
When I was a teenager I carried a violin and a switch blade.

I had the violin because I really wanted to be able to play it. After several years of lessons and many hours of practice I concluded that I had no talent for the violin. Many years later I learned I had talent for the clarinet. But I was immersed in my career as an actor and had neither the time nor the income to study the clarinet. If I, like Woody Allen, had started in my boyhood I might have been able to play in jazz clubs the way he does from time to time. Now, in my retirement, I might be able to pick it up. But again I can't afford it. But I would like to buy a tenor recorder some day.

The reason I carried the switch blade is because the other guy had one. It was like nuclear missiles sitting in their silos. We have them and the Russians have them and everyone knows it. As long as they stay in the silos there is peace between us.

There are definite disadvantages from growing up without enough money. (No kidding!) But there are some advantages to be had if one is willing to face the dark. Some street wisdom isn't a bad thing to have for anyone. I have no patience with those who are easily shocked and baffled by things that human beings do. I rarely get enraged but often laugh at the pomposity and self importance of upper middle and upper class people who wouldn't know how to handle an obscure night of the soul even if they had the sensitivity to know they were stumbling through one.

I tried to go to college by working at two jobs (ok, one and a half jobs) but I soon left. It was a good school, but the ivy covered mentality was not for me. Not having a college degree kept me back from teaching Russian people to speak English. But it never kept me back from being an actor, a radio announcer, a lecturer, a teacher of public speaking and an associate of the drama department at another ivy covered college.

I read Shakespeare, the Bible and a lot of other things. I never learned about throwing the dice but I did make a profit playing the horses, which, by the way, is easier and faster than playing the stock market. I don't invest in horse races any more because of the cruelty that is sometimes involved.

So here I am an uneducated, ex street kid, with no clarinet and no switch blade, a retired actor with a true liberal education. You can have your privileges. I'll take survival.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up


Geo. said...

You've dealt well with mixed feelings from having left school for a superior course of study. I'm technically still on 1971 spring break. Things to do, you know.

Big Mark 243 said...

... hmm... if it came to a choice of which I'd rather have... I would trade my 'ghetto pass' for a little of that 'ignorant affluence' any day..!

Ignorance of that sort tends to afford you better food and shorter lines at the auditorium..!

Lori said...

Great quote from Tallulah Bankhead -- always did admire her!

Dannelle said...

I used to carry a buck knife-it was practical for many things but alas, no longer due to privacy invasions everywhere. I still have a set of real brass knuckles from my Dad!

Arlene (AJ) said...

You may not have gone the college route DB, but you have certainly learned so many things, more than most, in life that has been very beneficial to you and others.

pacifica62 said...

The best education to have is one that has been taught by living life itself.You place far too much importance on a university education. A few letters behind your name would not make you the person that you have become. Don't regret the education you did not have as it would have prevented you from becoming the person that you are.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I would love to spend time learning either guitar or saxophone, having a desire is a good thing.