So, now the Washington Post, which I love like a distant cousin, is drumming away at President Trump’s hiding of his high school, college and grad school grades. Is this a fruitful pursuit, knowing the roll grades play in life?
Waste of time and not relevant. At the very most, the pursuit will lead to a conclusion that Trump “Lied!” about his grades from high school, college and grad school. Of course he did. He lies about everything, so why not that.
Also, are we suggesting here that there is some connection between performance in high school and performance in life? That’s a hard connection to define, if it can exist at all.
Let me review my life to show you.
I went to Catholic elementary school in Altoona, Pa. Then I went to St. Columban’s Minor Seminary in Silver Creek, N.Y. because I thought God wanted me to be a missionary. Then I quit and went back to Altoona. There were no untoward priests in my life in the seminary, so don’t worry about that. They were actually great, brave men determined to help Catholics in the far east. But it was not for me. The priests back in high school, for the most part, were un-indicted co-conspirators in a sex game I wasn’t playing.
Finished up at Catholic High School in Altoona, where I discovered women (actually, girls) and worked on my guitar playing. The seminary priests had been diligent so I didn’t crack a book for two years. My parents decided I would be college material so I took my SAT tests, scored solidly in the middle of the range and got admitted to Penn State with a scholarship that would pay my $800 or so a year tuition. I’m afraid you are reading that number correctly.
At Penn State, I flunked everything that had any math attached to it at all, and some science that didn’t, and got great grades on every other liberal arts class I took. I still remember Mr. Hatch, who taught history, and Mr. Dullinger, who taught sociology. Dullinger gave me a bottle of bourbon, which my wife and I drained at a party in New Oxford on New Years Eve. Being much better at being shit-faced than my sweet wife, I carried her to a bedroom in her sister’s house. We arose next day and had sauerkraut and pork, which almost killed her and left me happy and farting like an appeals court judge after lunch.
We swore off Manhattans.
As I was preparing to transfer from the Altoona Campus of Penn State to the big school at Happy Valley in State College, it was noticed that I had failed some math and econ classes and had, get this, NO CHEMISTRY! Hence, I would not be a student in the school of journalism. So I quit. Got a newspaper job. Got another newspaper job. Got another newspaper job. Went to Moscow for UPI and did well. Went to the Chicago Tribune and did very well. Became a college professor and did very well and now, here I sit in my writing room. Doing very well, thank you. I’m working on a book about coal mines in Western Pennsylvania between 1900 and 1943. This is my third book under my own name. I wrote four others for interesting executives who had stories to tell. They paid a good deal of money. All the men in the Madigan side of the family worked underground until my generation came along.
So I have THAT to reflect on.
Did any of it have anything to do with high school? Nope. The girls I dated abandoned me for the most part. I was never any good at sports. I learned the value of reading good books. I could never dance. I was a good enough singer and guitar player to make the girls swoon on certain songs.
What use is that?
So, I don’t give a fig for what you did in high school or college. My big regret is not making better friends who could have lasted a lifetime. But we all have regrets like that. I knew the minute I saw my wife on campus at Penn State that I wanted to marry her, if only she would accept my offer. I chased her for years, then it happened. Thank God.
My belief, these days, is that somehow, President Trump should just be in prison for as long as it takes to wash him out of our memories.
I don’t know if that can happen, but of course, I can pray!