There are things in my past I haven’t talked or written about publicly. Some too painful, some too scary, some would hurt other people. However, some need to be shared if I’m truly going to let you in on How I Know What I Know.
Since I was a little kid, people have confided in me. In grade school I wondered why a classmate would tell me his father was cheating on his mother, or his older brother played strip poker in their basement, or his mother was shop lifting. It seemed strange that a girl I barely knew would admit to me that she’d caused the food poisoning that took her rival out of a contest.
I didn’t like knowing all this. What was I supposed to do with what I knew? I tried to figure out how to help – and how it all could be happening. I clued school counselors in when I thought someone was serious about suicide and when I became aware of what I thought were sexual predators. By 6th grade, my rule was that when others could be harmed, I had to do something.
I can assure all those whose confidences I have kept over the years that I am not about to disclose their secrets now – or ever.
Some of the stories I will tell you (unless I chicken out) include:
- How my “crusading for truth” led the CIA to think I was a double agent (which is peculiar becuz I was debating across the table from Tom Hayden) — & built a large file on my role as a political activist in the ‘60s.
- What I discovered when a dear friend was assassinated in a celebrated case — and some officials ignored what I knew.
- How it felt to fear for my life when people tried to personally harm me in order to get their hands on my intellectual properties.
- What I learned by seeing some of my colleagues on the Governor’s team in Illinois go to jail (and that was one of the few unindicted governors of the era).
- How sorry I was, as a sports and music lover, to discover talent is often not the greatest determinant for success in those fields — just as in business and politics.
- How I learned about the significant levels of corruption in public education – and fought it for a decade without making much of a dent.
- What business gurus did that helped me discover their common weaknesses (affective, of course).
- How the mafia stopped me from selling popcorn at a local public school event – and why that led me to learn more than I wanted to know – again.
Oh, there’s so much more. Life is not simple – even for a resistant Fact Finder. I’m thankful I have my MO. It’s one that doesn’t dwell on the past (and, Note to Others: doesn’t keep grudges because it doesn’t retain all the details).
My purpose here is not to be a tattletale or an historian. It’s to try to clarify what circumstances led me to separate the conative drives that make people act the way they act, from their cultures, values and preferences.
I’ve known many brilliant people, and they’ve been no less likely to get themselves into plenty of trouble. IQ, I’ve found, doesn’t account for nearly as much as our culture ascribes to it. It’s one of the major causes of arrogance, which I now realize is the worse leaning diability of all.
My MO has clearly been relevant to how I got myself into these situations. It took being me to get where I’ve gone.
With my theorist nature, I’ve taken many risks (my mother used to warn me to watch out for bombs under my bed). Despite being shy, I’ve gotten myself into amazing situations . Some because I’m a true risk taker, and some because I’m a crusader. Perhaps most of all, because I’ve always been on a search for what makes people tick.
(Note to Self: Need more play dates w/ grandkids).