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Monday, August 6, 2012

Uneasy thoughts on technology, teaching and yonder

The last time I saw him, a much-liked journalism teacher, was in late 1988 or early 1989. My wife and I were taking a bus to the doctor to check on the progress of the coming first baby, when--there he was, standing at the exit and about to get off.
   A double-take of eye-contact! And then, nothing. Awkwardness. It had been 15 years since college and a letter of reference from him, and we had not stayed in touch, nor had I any subsequent writing career worth mentioning, beyond a short stint at a student newspaper, years ago. What should I do or say? I only had a minute or so before he stepped off, and if memory serves, I managed nothing more than a confused expression and a trace of a hand-wave. Two or three more glances and he was gone.
   But he still pops into my brain occasionally, quoting Stephen Leacock's My Discovery of England (New Canadian Library N28), or stating "the future belongs not to those who are ready for it, but to those who actively plan it," or remarking that it was Henry George's analysis of land, not his Single Tax that made his reputation as an economist.
   It scarcely occurred to me in college that he was something of a renaissance dude, equally adept at quoting Major Barbara, authoring a report on electronic technologies in teaching, or characterizing our new Premier Lougheeed as "a Mannix man" (he wasn't referring to the TV show). But with the benefit of hindsight, and after years of dosing my naivete with wisdom from other sources, his intellectual stature becomes a bit clearer, along with inevitably, regrets at not having tapped him further for insights during my college years, nor staying in touch afterward...