‘… Well, now that we have seen each other,’ said the Unicorn, ‘If you believe in me, I’ll believe in you.’

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. In 1967 the Irish Rovers, a Canadian group audaciously featuring good natured boys from both the Orange and the Green, had a huge international hit. It was called “The Unicorn”, and it caught just the right whimsical note for its subject… and for this article. Go to any search engine and find it now. Then allow the music to do its insidious task… and in a minute, no matter how onerous your cares today, you’ll be smiling. What’s more that smile will grow to a grin when you learn that the unicorn lives…

The Arabian oryx.

Every fable, every legend, every great enduring story, no matter how fabulous or unlikely, has its roots in something real, tangible, actual. And the story of the unicorn, one of the longest running fables on this planet, is no exception. Once upon a time someone, though we shall probably never know exactly who, saw a thing… and imagined more; the tale growing in the telling, embroidered by all, a pleasure to hear, its enhancements eagerly awaited.

In this case, the thing seen was called the Arabian oryx, whose distinctive horns are widely believed to have given rise to the unicorn legend. I have good news about these benign creatures, so much a part of our imagination: they are now classified as “vulnerable”, not “extinct”. Accordingly we should give a cheer, for these days, as one species after another faces oblivion, we must take our good news where we can find it. And this is good news, indeed… for it means the oryx has been given the gift of time…

Extinct in the wild in the 1970s.

The last oryx in the wild was shot to death in the early 1970s… and that, it was thought, was that. But humans, the main predator of the oryx (wolves being a distant second) having wiped out the breed…. then, paradoxically, started strenuous efforts to revive the breed, using stock from zoos, animal parks and private collections. Its enduring legend as the unicorn made these people anxious to help. The objective was to breed enough so they could be successfully reintroduced to their habitat on the Arabian peninsula.

The oryx, glad for the help, responded as hoped to this special effort…and in due course began to return to its harsh wild conditions. It returned to Oman first, later to the deserts of Saudi Arabia.. . Israel, the United Arab Emirates… then, most recently, Jordan. About 1000 of these creatures now exist… and are doing what they need to do to survive…. and thrive, living in reality, not just in stories, no matter how enthralling.

But the stories of the oryx ARE enthralling… because people have an enduring need for the wonder of fables. And if you squint your eyes just so… you will not see a beast, no matter how attractive… you will see a fabulous one-horned creature with the power to engage our mind and lighten our load.

Al Maha

The Arabian oryx (also called the white oryx) is known locally as Al Maha and features widely in Arabic poetry and painting. It can smell water from miles away, has wide hooves that let it easily navigate shifting sand, and lives in small herds of eight to 10 animals.

Have you ever been in a desert at midday, where the heat shimmers and the mind plays tricks? In such a place, at such a time, it is easy to see what you have never known before. No mirage… but an actuality that belongs to you alone. In such a moment the fabulous unicorn presents itself for your inspection, bows its head the better to show its horn… then recedes into the shimmer… going, going, gone… now your quest for life. So the unicorn enchants and makes believers of us all… The legend begins.

Perhaps the earliest mention of the unicorn is by the famed Greek historian Herodotus in the third century BC. He called it a “horned ass”. A century later, spurred by the travels into Persia of the Greek historian and physician Ctesias, tales of the unicorn were widespread, losing nothing in the telling.

Ctesias, who admits he never saw one, quizzed local merchants and other travelers for whatever information they had. These folks, Persians and not above hoodwinking a Greek. fed Ctesias the details he longed for. Bit by bit he got a complete impression of the “wild ass of India”. It was the size of a horse, with a white body, a red head, bluish eyes, and a straight horn on its forehead, a cubit long.

It was the horn, all agreed, that riveted their attention… and while no Persiian seemed to know all its attributes… each one added another, turning the unicorn into a beast of awe, wonder, and power.

The horn, the all important horn, was magical, possessing key ingredients for mediaeval medicaments. It offered protection against poisons (no small thing in a world where a pinch of this, a smidgeon of that, could alter a royal succession or remove a pesky husband, or wife). Worn as jewelry, it protected the wearer from evil.

Burgeoning demand, miniscule supply.

There could never be enough of such potency… and, of course, charlatans, all believability, seduced the gullible and credulous, offering everything, delivering nothing. Other charlatans, all sanctimony and solemnity, arose with the means, so they insisted, of determining whether the horn was real… or not.

Place a scorpion under a dish with a piece of horn. If the scorpion dies in a matter of hours, the horn is real.

Feed arsenic to pigeons, followed by a dose of unicorn horn. If the pigeons live, the horn is genuine.

Draw a ring on the floor with the horn. If the horn is real, a spider will not be able to cross the ring.

Place the horn in cold water. If the water bubbles but remains cold, the horn came from a true and real unicorn.

You get the idea.

Capturing unicorns.

Its potency known… ways of certifying its authenticity at hand… the unceasing problem was how to find unicorns… and how to capture them. Here a magnificent series of tapestries made in Belgium in 1500 hold clues. Bought by John D. Rockefeller, the richest man on earth, in 1922, they are now on display at the Cloisters museum in New York.

There are 7 tapestries in this series which portrays, in fine detail and consummate craftsmanship, a unicorn hunt. The men, nobles all, are chasing the unicorn as if it were standard quarry. And, of course, the unicorn easily eludes them, laughing the while.

In the fifth tapestry, however, the unicorn is captured… by the power of a young maid, who represents the Virgin Mary. She needs do nothing but sit in complete tranquility. The unicorn, perhaps knowledgeable of its fate, advances unforced, puts its head in the virgin’s lap…and so becomes, in the seventh and most celebrated tapestry, a prisoner, chained to a tree within a round wooden fence; its destiny sealed.

In the words of Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass. 1871) “… Well, now, that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.” I feel sure she did… and that the unicorn abides, at peace, his head forever in her lap. May the renewing oryx fare as well.

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is , where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/listbuilding

‘I’m gonna be like you, dad. You know I’m gonna be like you.’ U.S. Father’s Day, June, 2011.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s note. To get into the mood of this special Father’s Day article, go to any search engine and find “Cat’s in the Cradle” sung by Harry Chapin in 1974. Its refrain is haunting, and every boy-turned-father understands the bite in the words, often painfully so…

“A child arrived just the other day”, February 16, 1947.

It was my birth day but, as I couldn’t possibly have known, it was the end of their honeymoon and that special tea-for-two idyll that comes only once. My parents married February 16,1946; I teased them for years about the importance of that last digit.

Like all babies, I expected, demanded and maneuvered to be the center of their lives. It’s what babies do.

But I can imagine now what was going on in the weeks prior to that mad-dash to the hospital that transformed my beautiful young mother from a wife with a constituency of one… into a multi-tasking mother.

I was the first born child, first child, first son, first grandson on both sides; every one of these designations pushed omniscient women forward and my father back. The process, you see, in those post-War years was not made for fathers, no matter how caring. And, upon arrival, I monopolized my mother. I’ve told you, it’s what babies do… and even then I was masterful at my craft.

There must have been times, though no one to this day has ever said so, when he missed the bright, laughing eyed girl he’d married. She was the essence of the “fun on a date” ‘forties girl who had the gift of joy with lots to spare.

She gave me a clue years later, telling me she didn’t like children, didn’t mean to have any, and thought they looked like frogs. (Queen Victoria thought so, too). But, she quickly added and always emphasized that all that changed when the nurse handed me over for my first visit, textbook perfect infantile innocence.

I’d “come into the world in the usual way”. And I was determined to keep the full and undivided attention of the woman who didn’t yet know how her own instincts would conduce to my constant benefit; literally born yesterday I didn’t need Dr. Spock to tell me that.

Into this new, unstudied situation my father had to move and move delicately for now words like “shhhhhh, he’s sleeping” meant sacrifice, limitations, and even unwonted loneliness. It was a sea-change from the happy “you-for-me-and-me-for-you” days of such recent memory.

“He learned to walk while I was away.”

Like most children I don’t know what I actually remember or what I have, from pictures and family stories, been taught to remember. But there is hardly a memory either way that is not more her than him. He worked hard, long hours, lucky to have a job in the recession that promptly came with our unqualified war victory. She was the center of my universe. And, like Chapin, my first steps were probably taken when he was being a “good provider”. But there is a story that sums up the situation.

One hot, humid Illinois summer day (are there any other?) when I was about three, my mother and I screamed for ice cream. But there was not a dollar to be had… except for a dollar bill my father had circulated amongst his Navy buddies, to be autographed by each. Such a token was not to be surrendered lightly, but it was surrendered nonetheless, for the delicacy of an instant and later, poignant regrets. He must have loved us very much to do such a thing… it says volumes about the man.

“My son turned ten just the other day. He said, “Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play.”

In the suburbs of Chicago in the early Eisenhower years, you needed to be good at handling the balls of several sports… or so bright that you could afford to ignore sports because you were destined for greater things. My brother filled the first category; I filled the second. I knew my brother was easier to handle; he fit in, particularly the year he made the state Little League team, and we all trooped down to Freeport to watch him, resplendent in a uniform that said “Moose”; this was lifetime certification that he was a boy’s boy…

I was different, always with my nose in a book, the one who when asked at age 10 or so what he wanted to be when he grew up, without dropping a beat, said “Harvard graduate; millionaire; writer of many books.” II wasn’t what prairie parents were accustomed to hearing… What’s more, it all came true in due course…

Another celebrated incident took place about this time. My parents and I went to some local swimming hole for a day of the kind of innocent amusements I couldn’t wait to escape from. At the end of the day, it was, I think, my mother who said the inevitable line about their guests, “Cute couple. Great relationship.” That sort of thing. What did I think? Without missing a beat I said I thought they had problems… and seer-like, foretold splitsvillle. Of course, I was told I was wrong, but just weeks later they separated. My stock soared… and my father pressed me less to fire a gun, build superb back yard igloos, throw a ball, you get the picture. He had to wonder about this creature sui generis.. and what his role as father might mean or entail.

I was not an easy child, although I say it myself, an interesting one. He must have seen I was moving beyond his sphere into uncharted waters. I could hardly wait until it happened and my joy at crossing another day off the calendar, the sooner to commence my Great Journey, must have been palpable, even affronting. I did not want what his life epitomized and I was too green, unknowing how to say this without insult… and uncaring about the effect.

There was, in those years, more coexistence than empathy., not least because he tried hard to get me to understand and adopt verities he saw as fundamental and essential… about which I had quite different ideas. I severely embarrassed him the day I refused to answer the pastor’s call for Communion, being unable to subscribe to the tenets. (I have never taken Communion sincen.)

There was, too, his desire that I should understand the farmer’s life practised by all my cousins and should, as part, learn how to harvest oats and drive a tractor. The first scratched; the second bored. Neither oats nor tractor have played any role in my development.

“Well, he came from college just the other day…”

My launching pad to the vision I had long been shaping for my life came with a college acceptance letter. ….. and thereafter, too long, communications were as rushed and superficial as Harry Chapin sings.

“I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away…”

And so it might have stayed, both of us stubborn, obstinate, headstrong — proud men, unyielding. But, you see, the love that caused a prized war memento to be sacrificed had always been present, waiting for auspicious times. He told me the other day, cast down now and again by the tremors and afflictions of the way we age now, that he was ready to go whenever the good Lord wants him. And neither he nor I fear that… for we have, at last, found each other and gladly so.

“And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, He’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”

* * * * *
About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is, where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/listbuilding

U.S. Marine Sergeant William Woitowicz. Dead too soon at 23 in ‘the place where the winds arise’. June 7, 2011.

y Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s note. This is a sombre article on a sombre subject. I have chosen the deeply moving music “Swing low, sweet chariot” to set the mood. There are many fine versions of this well-known tune written by Wallis Willis in 1862.

I have chosen the one by Kevin Maynor. You will find it in any search engine. Listen to it without interruption of any kind. This powerful song deserves nothing less.

Mellifluous language.

The Persian language is a language of poetry and culture. It is fluid, nuanced, and often extraordinarily beautiful. So evocative are its words that once bestowed on a person, place or thing, these matters, hum-drum anywhere else, are turned as if by magic, into words of lyric beauty.

Such a fortunate place is Badghis, a province in the northwest of the nation of Afghanistan. It is a place of winds, many bruising and destructive. Other places, like Chicago, the “windy city,” have been blunt about its disposition. Badjhis prefers a softer touch that makes the point, but does so without a candor that can be abrasive.

And so this place came to be called the land “where the winds arise” and it is where U.S. Marine Sergeant William J. Woitowicz fell never to rise again, cut down by small-arms fire and so released so early from the thrall of life.

Where he fell, how he fell, just what happened when,are the pedestrian details of an incident soon to be forgotten and without any significance to anyone but William J. Woitowicz. He expired in the full bloom of youth on an ordinary day, where the quotidian was mundane, banal, commonplace to a degree, and where absolutely nothing done that day was unusual or important… except this particular sergeant. For him that day was everything…

From a place far, far away.

Ever been to Groton, Massachusetts or its near neighbor Westford? If not, make plans to visit. The fall is best, since those autumnal days of colored leaves and crisp, clear skies showcase these typical New England towns best. These are places so scenic, your finger automatically takes the pictures you will share with friends along with your decided opinion on how nice these previously unknown places really are.

No one was more of these serene bedroom communities than William Woitowicz. He knew them down to his fingertips, and they knew the brawny athlete with the killer smile and winning ways. People just plain liked him… and he, without much wondering why, liked them in return. It was a formula for many of life’s happynesses. Make a note that when your next child or grandchild is born to ask the fairies to give unstintingly of charm and an inquisitive mind. Woitowicz was gifted with both and showed just how far they could take a likely laddie.

For such a boy, the world was his oyster; everything possible, the very best that could be had in the great Republic.

That is why his decision to join the Marines directly following high school graduation in 2007 came as a shock. It was not the career path of choice parents like Kevin and Rosemary Woitowicz could understand, approve or recommend.

But their son (remember that killer smile) soon showed his “devastated” parents why his decision made sense — for him. And, of course, in this situation, as so many others, parents, even strongly disapproving parents, could in the end only concur and offer heartfelt wishes. And so they did for Billy Woitowicz. He was now en route to his strange destiny.

He now had the kind of lifestyle that exults Marines and causes lesser folk, needing their comforts, to cringe. But Woitowicz, having made his choice, was determined to turn himself not merely into a superb Marine, but the most cheerful Marine ever; it was an unusual combination… and it did not go unnoticed. Billy, in the Marines as at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, was noticed; people kept their eyes on the man, he could be counted on. That means everything to Marines, for whom the word “buddy” constitutes a religion.

They needed him and all the other meritorious Marines everywhere there was America’s business to transact. But it could only send this particular Marine to one high priority place… and the place they needed him yesterday was Afghanistan, the basket case of nations, where people like Billy were gold, not least because the locals soon understood his smile was for them, too.

And, by the way, he volunteered for Afghanistan; he knew the “basket case” needed what he had in excess, and to spare: humanity.

June 7, 2011, a day like any day.

June 7 had “routine” written all over it. And so it started… Billy was deployed as part of the Second Marine Special Operations Battalion of the Marine Special Operations Regiment, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

No one expected anything to go wrong; everyone was prepared in case it did. And then, in an instant, it went terribly, terribly wrong for Billy Woitowicz; the gym-tailored body he had been so anxious to perfect, lay face down in the dust of one of the most miserable countries on earth his hair dappled with blood and blasted expectations.

No one, despite their sense and exhaustive training, could quite take it in: Billly Woitowicz had gone before… “Swing low, sweet chariot…” and he had his orders from the highest source:

“Well if you get there before I do, Coming for to carry me home. Tell all my friends I’m a coming too, Coming for to carry me home.”

Carried home.

The people of Groton and Westford did Bilie proud. Never in their long history of service, patriotism and support had these communities poured out their pride and gratitude, their grief and pain for any citizen as they did for this citizen.

The Marine Corps, more than a career, his vocation, advanced him to the rank of sergeant and the Purple Heart. From the Corps he loved and served unto death this meant everything.

The flags at half mast, the bunting, the remnants of the heartfelt ceremonies civil and religious are all apparent, And on another day of “war as usual” Billie abides in peace in the town he knew so well, amongst the citizens who liked and loved him. Here, in tranquility he graces the ages with his all-embraciing killer smile taken too soon from us in the land where the wind arises.

* * * * *
About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/listbuilding

You are about to be indiscrete. Midsummer’s Night June 21, 2011.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. You are alive for one of nature’s most important events: the summer solstice. It is a matter of myth, fable, science and awe…. and you must, absolutely must, be prepared to enjoy this once-a-year event. To assist you, I have chosen music by one of my favorite geniuses, Stephen Sondheim (born 1930). You can find it in any search engine.

This tune, not as well known as it should be, is perfect for today. It’s called “Night Waltz” and appears in “A Little Night Music,” (1973). It was written for you for this day! Don’t fight this music… for it is insidious and will have its way with you…. and you will be glad of it.

“Today the very heavens moved… and puny man did sport as did, so equally resolved’ on raucous mayhem, the very gods themselves.”

June 20-21 is a day that reminds us we are but a part, and not perhaps the most important part as we suppose, of the Cosmos… and that while we are getting on with our little concerns, so all engrossing, the universe is, quite simply, taking us for a ride, a ride majestical and grand.

Today occurs one of earth’s two annual solstices, days when the rays of the sun directly strike one of the two tropical latitude lines. June 21 marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and simultaneously heralds the beginning of winter in the southern hemisphere.

Today television meteorologists, well schooled and anxious for this moment, share sage observations, in 10 seconds or so. Thus they transform this profound event into mere factoids giving us the illusion that we know what is happening today, far above us, to our species and our ever-moving, never stable habitat. At such a moment, mankind, born a searcher, strives to understand the inexplicable and so myths and fables are born, from every land on Earth.

This is the day when we finally emerge free from the trammels of winter and when the promise of springtime becomes the reality of summer; at this moment we give thanks by indulging ourselves,without worry about tomorrow or regret. This day is dedicated to indiscretions, past, present, and future.

“Perpetual twilight is really a most unsettling thing”.

In 1955 Ingmar Bergman, a man who lived to expose the unending foibles of humanity, released his film “Smiles of a Summer Night.” Stephen Sondheim, master of the heart’s often unwise whimsies and obsessions, later transformed the great director’s observations into waltz time, so lush, so evocative, so enchanting that you never knew the music was leading you to the maddest thing of all… love!

The waltz, more provocative than the French Revolution.

Historians, who have their idee’s fixes, about what is important and what we really should know, often miss the forest for the trees. I am about to outrage the sterner members of the Academy by suggesting this: the waltz was more important than the storming of the Bastille.

You see, the history of mankind, both of its male and female varieties, is a tale of how to get close together, very close together, oblivious to every other soul in the world without outraging the proprieties.

A wild new dance emerged from Vienna about 1830. It was the waltz, and it took the stately measures of polonaise and minuet and, by putting a man into enticingly close contact with a woman, outraged every propriety. But even queens didn’t care — if they were young enough — and bold. Queen Victoria (just 18 at her accession in 1837) lived to waltz…

… and, with nimble feet… she knew exactly what the mad measures of a waltz could give her. She like the rest of dance-maddened Europe wanted more. She knew that waltz time was the food of love… and commanded “Play on!”, while aging dowagers clucked and whispered of the debaucheries in their midst. The more honest, remembering their own indiscretions, knew better…and longed for the chance to be indiscrete again and whirl by in satin slippers and flying ribbons.

Such things do happen on Midsummer’s Night… and why we now, just hours before the event, grow impatient for its arrival. We know its possibilities… and we are keen to enjoy them, with not a moment lost.

The great event begins to take shape…

Whilst we may have difficulty taking in the unceasing movement of the planet and the unearthly music of the spheres which accompanies it, we have no difficulty at all in marking this event with a party.

Midsummer’s night provides the perfect party time, for the world, at least its northern hemisphere, is seen softly, an evocation. It’s the abundant twilight, unceasing in northern climes. This light, soft, caressing, immensely flattering to even the oldest, is crucial to what comes…. even the oldest look young in such light… and are reborn in it.

Then music!

What could such a party, held but once a year, be without music? It fell to the lot of young Felix Mendelssohn to ensure we never found out. Just 17 in 1826 when he finished the Overture to Opus 21, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, homage to his Master, Shakespeare. In it he challenged Mozart for the crown of creating the “greatest marvel of early maturity that the world has ever seen in music.” (George Grove). It contains the celebrated wedding march that accompanies so many down the aisle…. the unceasing, inevitable result so surprising to men everywhere, who now truly know the power of music. (You can easily find Mendelssohn’s youthful masterpiece in any search engine.) It’s pulsating with youth! It’s grandiloquent! It’s exuberant! It’s the way a wedding should be, a thing of radiant optimism, unafraid of whatever may come, joyful in each other.

And then the guests…

Somewhere between 1590 and 1596, Shakespeare created in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” the guest list for a memorable evening and even stipulated the games to make us roar.

There was the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta; four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors (one a perfect part for you). There was a forest of fairies, Oberon their king and Titania, his playful queen. For generations, they, their tricks and shenanigans have made us laugh and they will make us laugh again tonight.

Then, the world still in twilight, the special people, the lovers for whom this night was cast, will find solace in each other. American poet Louise Gluck (born 1943) remembers how:

“On nights like this we used to swim in the quarry, the boys making up games requiring them to tear off the girls’ clothes and the girls cooperating, because they had new bodies since last summer and they wanted to exhibit them, the brave ones leaping off the high rocks — bodies crowding the water….

Then the heat broke, the night was clear, And you thought of the boy or girl you’d be meeting later, And you thought of walking into the words and lying down, practicing all those things you were learning in the water…”

It’s all just hours away…. the indiscretion you’ll savor for life and grateful.

* * * * *
About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/listbuilding

‘Little buddy, gonna shut you down…’ A blue streak on the open road, a boy, his dream…. and The Wife.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note: There was never any doubt about which music I’d recommend for this article… it was “The Little GTO”. It was first recorded by Ronny and the Daytonas in 1964; later it went cosmic with the rendition by the Beach Boys. Right from the first line — “Little GTO, you’re really lookin’ fine…” this tune moves. You’ll find it in any search engine. Watch out… when you play it you’re 18 all over again…

This is a story that every boy who was not cool in high school can relate to. It’s a story about that day you were down at the beach (if you were in Beach Boys territory it had to be Zuma). You had gone with your best bud Herbie, but he was the president of the Chess Club. You couldn’t say a word to him; all he knew was Harvey Mudd. He’d never understand… there was no point in telling him…

Then, there it was… first for just the shortest instant as it made the turn towards the beach… … you knew exactly where it was.

Then, the sun in your eyes, a burst of color — it was ice-cold metallic blue… something cool against the heat of the day…

Then the first glance, that mobile palace of an insouciant prince of the road… his eyes dead ahead. You knew he wasn’t looking at you… but he knew you…. and every other person on that oiled body packed beach — were looking at him…

… and at the girl lucky enough to have the privilege in being his prop du jour. She had been carefully chosen by the driver… right down to the way her lightly frosted hair blew in the wind (no detail too small)… but only the clueless missed the point: the focus was not the girl… but the girl in the car…

“… let ’em know… that I’m the coolest thing around”.

And so it was….. as you ate your heart out… knowing you ached… for the car, the girl… and the profound satisfaction of being a prince in command of a certified muscle car. No wonder you barked at Herbie and told him to shut up already about Harvey Mudd, when everybody knew he couldn’t do any better than Santa Monica Junior College. He looked hurt… maybe you’d make it up to him later…

Blu Sera 385 Spiders.

Every American boy cherished his own particular image of triumph and in every story there was a car… the car… the vehicle he not only wanted, but dreamed about, obsessive, in the places in the night only he could know.

For the subject of this article, let’s call him “Alt”, that object of acute, obsessive desire was the Ferrari 348 “Blu Sera” (Metallic Evening Blue) Spider, made only in 1994 and 1995. Alt discovered through assiduous research that the other Spider colors, red, yellow, black, and white were common, hence instantly dismissed as inferior and infra dig.

Alt also discovered that the rarest interiors were grey (always spelled the English way, never “gray”). Like I said, NO detail was too small. We’re talking about The Dream and no one dreams of acquiring anything but perfection.

In due course Alt graduated from high school and put childish things behind him; only the “Blu Sera” wasn’t a childish thing… it was a part of him, something that tugged at his heart and wouldn’t go away. Godlike though it was, it might have been sent by the Devil, so insistent was the thought reiterated over and over in his brain. He wanted it. He had to have it. He couldn’t live without it. It was just as simply complicated as that.

Oscar Wilde, who understood the nuances and depths of desire, would have told him, “The only way to overcome temptation is to yield to it.”

Enter The Wife…

As every boy learns as he grows into a man with a boy’s desires… girls, even the wife who adores you… don’t get the “car thing”. A car, for them, is nothing more than a gas-guzzling necessity designed for moving screaming kids from Point A to Point B. If there’s an attractive gray interior (the English spelling means nothing to them), that’s terrific, but what matter? They know the kids will be autographing it with their spills and sticky hands. No, few women (maybe none) understand that a man makes eternal vows to only one thing: his dream car… adored in “sickness and in health”, committed till “death do you part.”

Alt had a dream. Alt had a wife. Alt had a problem.

There was no problem, of course, until his Dream became reality. And because of the rarity of this car, every arcane detail enhancing its desirability and decreasing its likelihood, there was no problem… except the problem of a man thwarted by what he could not possess. And this he could live with, just.

Then came the day, on Ebay, when the dream became reality, not something of paint and metal but a partner of power and sensuality. It was intoxicating… it was within your grasp… it was a lot of money. But there was no problem — yet. First, he had to be sure that this car, seemingly so perfect, right down to its grey interior, was The Car, His Car. He dogged the Ebay site, sick at the thought his baby would get away, but like all lovers he wanted what he wanted on his terms and his terms only. He watched, biding his time… and waiting. The car, his car, remained unsold, available, closer to his grasp.

First visit to his beloved.

Alt arranged to visit what looked to be, what quite possibly might be, the car of his dreams. He didn’t tell his wife he was going; why upset her until he knew this one was The One. He rationalized that this was better so, for her own good.

And so he went, dressing up as if for a first date to someone he had long desired.

A wealthy collector owned the car, by great good fortune so close to Alt, he could easily drive there without arousing comment. He went (perhaps too quick for strategy)… and the car, deftly arrayed to best advantage, met him. It was there… in ice-cold blue… waiting for him, just as he’d always imagined.

The owner, who had no doubt his own experience with temptations and obsessions, wisely stayed out of sight… until he saw Alt run a caressing hand over the metal morphed by a master into enticing flesh. The collector knew… Alt knew… it was a done deal… but there were the niceties to go through and the thrill of acquisition to mask. The value of the object demanded complete compliance to the code. And so it went…

Now Alt remembered The Wife and made this bow in her direction. “I have to clear it with the old ball and chain,” he said, feeling stupid, belittled, diminished at saying so. But the man who held the keys to Alt’s desire casually said “you should have brought her; we could have settled it now.”

But Alt couldn’t explain (though the collector knew) that bringing her was impossible, like bringing her to the boudoir of a more favored lover. Impossible.

But the acid in the response, the condescension, aroused Alt… and so they went toe to toe, the discarding lover, the acquiring lover, to arrange the terms of transfer, soon acceptable to both. It had been done by gentlemen, now friends.

There was now only one obstacle left, the biggest, the wife. He mulled over his options… arranging with the seller to make delivery in three days. Alt needed some time…

And on the third day, Alt arranged with the cooperative seller to meet him a block away from his house, there to take possession; the seller to exit in a car driven by his son.

Now, not as suitor testing a vehicle, but as owner of what he always wanted, Alt got behind the wheel and drove to his home…. there to surprise the old ball and chain.

He didn’t need to be told her Irish was up. He knew. She was about to say Something Disagreeable… but Alt knew his business.

He ushered her into the front seat (no prop du jour) and told her,as if in a Confessional, about his dream, that he could put the girl of his dreams in the car of his dreams. It was schmaltz… overdone… but there was something in his eyes that made the girl melt.

And there was something in his hand, serious bling in a magnificent box, to seal the deal.

“C’mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out, GTO.”

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant  where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/listbuilding

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‘Run, Barefoot Bandit, Run.’ The story of Colton-Harris Moore, exasperatingly cute…. and as fast as the wind!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note: I had no trouble at all coming up with the theme music for this article..It’s “East Bound and Down” from the smash 1977 hit film “Smokey and the Bandit.” It’s got toe-tappin’ energy. Go to any search engine, you’ll find it. Make sure you keep the link because, sure as shootin’, there’ll be some morning or other when you’ll wake up ornery and irritable, the world too much with you. This tune will cheer you up in a flash… and make you smile. Just as this article’s going to do….

“a’we gonna do what they say can’t be done!”

You’ll never understand this story until you see the culprit. Born March 22, 1991, “Colt” Harris-Moore was a teen-ager until just the other day. He still looks like a teen-ager, and 16 or 17 at that. And he has the look of a fresh-scrubbed Disney character, all firm flesh and smiles and “yessir” and “thank you, ma’am”.

He’s a big boy; a really big boy, 6 foot 5 inches tall, 205 pounds. He’s a boy’s boy and you know, with that wicked grin, he’d be mischievous… but you’d bet your bottom dollar he’s a good boy, not a mean bone in his body. But there’s a dark side to this story, and it’s a good idea to get that out right away, so you can make up your own mind about this important matter.

“Colt” Harris-Moore grew up in his mother’s house in Camano Island, Washington. It was a zoo there; chaotic, disruptive, a mess. Neighbors said they made several calls to Child Protective Services, believing he was neglected or abused. His father, Gordon Moore, used drugs and was in prison while Colton was a toddler. When he was just twelve years old, his abusive father walked out during an argument at a family barbecue after attempting to choke him.

According to his mother, Pamela Kohler, his stepfather died when he was about seven years old, and from the time Colton was in first grade, she knew there was “something off about him”, “sort of a disconnection.” He wouldn’t listen to his teachers, starting altercations at school and would sometimes deliberately break things at home.

According to a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, Harris-Moore said that his mother drank and became mean, breaking his possessions. Any way you slice it mother and son lived in a snake pit of anxieties, fears, and dark depressions… a place to avoid and escape from.

At about the age of 7, Colt started living in the wild; it was better than what he got at home.

It was then he learned his craft as an agile, nimble thief, motivated by what he could get, of course, but increasingly, as he sharpened his skills, pushing the envelope, showing himself how far he could go, how good he could get. He was determined to excel…

He started with robbing the vacation homes of people from far away places; rich, they’d never miss the stuff so easy to purloin, all indications of the stable, ample life he could only know second hand and would never have. They had so much; he so little. Why shouldn’t he just help himself? There’s hardly a kid, even those from the “best” homes who didn’t steal something, sometime. But if they were lucky, they got caught and learned a thing or two.

But Colt didn’t get caught — yet. And so he got better and better. And the game more exciting. He wanted to know, he had to know just how far he could go….

And so it began.

The authorities all knew about Colt… although even in his early days he had no trouble outsmarting them. Still, he got his first conviction for stolen property when he was 12; by the time he was 13, he had three more. Now diagnosed with depression, attention deficit disorder and intermittent explosive disorder, he reckoned he had nothing to lose. Each conviction bought him just 10-days in a detention center, or in community service.

In 2003 things changed and the stakes went up. He stole a neighbor’s camcorder; the police found it in his room. This time he got a sentence with bite: three years. He looked in the mirror, liked what he saw, combed his hair… and walked out of a halfway house. It was April, 2008…. and the Barefoot Bandit was about to show America how folk heroes are born….

“We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.”

Now this master thief, gifted by God with a cherub’s face and a dazzling smile, got serious.

With adolescent energy and grit and determination which any entrepreneur could envy, he found his vocation… and ran with it, bare footed. He stole just for the joy of stealing. It didn’t seem to matter what he stole… although he favored toys that could move him on… for Colt was a moving target… the fastest of all.

He pinched bicycles automobiles, light aircraft, speedboats.

He was a boy who liked speed… liked turning it on, turning it up… the wind always blowing through his hair… getting away from mother, from teachers, from court-ordered psychiatrists… and from every other trammel and inhibition.

“I’m east bound just watch ol’ Bandit run.”

He zoomed east with manic energy and no purpose whatsoever except to keep on moving. The crazinesses added up: he stole flight manuals and flight simulators… so he could steal planes…

He would often slip into homes along the way to soak in a hot bath… or steal ice cream. He stole a credit card to order bear mace; remember, he generally slept in the woods. He stole another card to order a pair of night vision goggles for $6,500.

On May 30 or 31, 2011 police found a handwritten note and $100 at a veterinary clinic in Raymond, Washington. The note said, “Drove by, had some extra cash. Please use this money for the care of animals.” He signed it “Colton Harris-Moore AKA ‘The Barefoot Bandit.’ Camano, Washington.” It was just the kind of thing a real folk hero would do.

And so America began to root for this boy who robbed with his shoes off, in the freedom of bare feet. He moved, always fast, through states he saw only as a blur… authorities everywhere eager to nab him…

“… he’s hot on your trail and he ain’t gonna rest ‘tiill you’re in jail”

And so it went…. running… robbing.. running some more through Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois… over 100 thefts and counting.

“So you gotta dodge him… you gotta duck him”

And so he did… and while we paid bills, bought groceries, went to work, the image of that boy whirring through time and space grabbed us and grew. We knew he’d get caught…. we just hoped it wouldn’t be for a while yet. We knew he’d go to jail for a long time…. but he had freedom, real freedom… albeit purchased at a staggering price.

It all came to an end in Harbour Island, Bahamas, July 6, 2010. He was about to steal a boat, bless him, and local police shot out the engine and grabbed him. Colt had a gun to his head when apprehended. It’s a nice point about whether he’d have been better off using it.

Instead they apprehended him and, in due course extradited him back to Washington State and law and order in the shape of U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan. She knows nothing of folk heroes and her rage about the boy and his celebrity is palpable. She made sure Colt would never benefit from films, books, or anything else. It won’t matter… we know Durkan is right, doing her job… but she is not the stuff of Americana. Colt is… and she knows it. So do we…. movie, or not.

“Keep your foot hard on the peddle… son, never mind them brakes.”

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/listbuilding

It’s time to celebrate International ‘Get It Off Your Chest Day.’ You’ll feel better if you do.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. For this article Maria Mendez’ recording of “What a difference a day makes” (released 1934) is a must. You’ll find it in any search. engine. And, by the way, Maria is right: the difference is you!

Have you noticed there’s a “day” for everything… for artichoke growers… pizza makers… midgets… apples… moms and dads… you get picture.

However, after exhaustive research ( at least an hour or two) I have discovered an absolutely crucial activity which has not, so far, been granted its own special day.

Thus, I am herewith proposing “International Get If Off Your Chest” Day.

This day was inspired by my nephew Kyle who graduated from college in May 2011. As is customary (at least the graduate so told me) I donated some bucks to the young buck… then sat back (like millions of generous parents, relations and friends) for the effusive letter of acknowledgement, thanks, and gratitude.

I have waited for weeks now (along with those millions cited above) and have received nada, zip, absolutely nothing. It occurred to me that all of us long-suffering folks need an outlet for our chagrin, irritation, and soon-to-be righteous wrath and rage.

But, let’s face it, a special day for the good people who sent money (so far unacknowledged) for commencement would, I think you’d agree be (perhaps) a tad over specific…. even if we extended its focus to be any slothful, lay about graduate of any institution.

So, I put my thinking cap on and brainstormed… to see how the parameters of this holiday could be suitably extended so that more sins of omission and commission could be added.

Then I thought of a no-longer-quite-so-dear friend…let’s call him Thomas Frederick Byrd III… because that is his name. Tommy (for he is not always so formal) borrowed 10 CDs from me, what, an eon ago, making the usual sincere, look-deeply-in-his-eyes promises that “they’ll be returned, Scout’s honor, in a week, ten days tops.” As I said, and as I must reiterate here, that ample deadline has long been exceeded…. hints to Tommy (even quite a lurid one) have gone unanswered… and now the bugger won’t answer my calls. The holiday must be extended to include these miscreants and scoffers.

Tommy’s non-return of my very best CDs is venal compared to William Wilder’s misdemeanors. He put the touch on me for 200 Yankee dollars; I don’t know what I could have been thinking of. I should have listened to Polonius (ok, he’s a trifle windy) about borrowers and lenders. Bill Wilder used to be one of my best friends; now I can hardly think of him without apoplexy… for, of course, he is now in the witness protection program… and my beloved dollars with him.

Near crying at these acid remembrances of people who have let me down, in so remembering I have one “aha!” moment after another, each of which builds the case and need for this deeply sensible day.

There’s Tommy (seemingly a frequent miscreant sobriquet) at the convenience store who has promised me at least half a dozen times to charge back those mildewed strawberries. So far, no action.

There’s my cousin Clarabelle (and no she has no children named Howdy Doody) who has yet to return that lovely pic-nic basket with the (admittedly plate) silver handles.

This list, growing by the moment, represents in miniature just why we absolutely must have a day, perhaps even two, when we can let it all hang out. Such a day would of course feature politicians and the myriad of ways they irritate and abuse us every single day.

“Great idea,” everybody says so.

While writing this article, I have been tending a very busy phone. I emailed a few of my nearest and dearest to clue them in to my Big Idea. I told them their opinion was urgent and expected; my phone’s been ringing off the hook ever since with calls from people who have quite clearly mastered the superlative tense; without exception these bright folks want what I am proposing: a chance to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about matters great and small with which less polite and perceptive folks have afflicted them. I am getting used to the constant huzzahs and raucous congratulations.

These, admittedly thrilling, have induced further cogitation on the issue. As I amble and ponder, new facets of this idea emerge and take center stage in my fervid brain; I am like a man possessed.

In addition to the specially designated “Off Your Chest” day… we need a National Registry where aggrieved citizens can post their complaints and miseries; given our digitized age it should be easy to cross-reference these, to create profiles and warning systems for people (even if our nearest and dearest) who have affronted not one, but many, and often.

And, remember, this registry, this most necessary warning system would not be a thing for just a single nation, no matter how grand, but for all the nations, even insignificant little San Marino.

Of course, there might be mistakes… or at least folks claiming they have been victimized.

I am a believer in fairness, a believer in fairness am I. As a result, there must be some means of checking the accuracy of all information and allowing folks to respond. Yes, that is only fair. Of course this will necessitate a very substantial staff; their workload, as is already plain, would be staggering. After all, nearly every person on this planet (except a few Trappist monks) have things they wish, indeed need to get off their chests… and I may be doing a disservice to Trappists who agree. If so, I abjectly apologize.

This is turning into a helluva lot of work!

You know, people like me with good ideas should be designated Super Citizen. After all, WE keep this country, this world, and, may I say, this whole solar system working.

I’m really ticked off now. My original simple idea has now morphed into a multi- dimensional nightmare. I’m over my head, for sure. All I wanted was to chide a few friends and get some bucks back and my very best CDs. Now people are starting to criticize me, yes ME, as some kind of dictator, FBI, CIA, looking-for-skeletons- -in-all-the-closets. Every time they do, I put them on my list for future SEVERE action. It’s what those friggin’ morons deserve.

I give up.

I’m ditching this idea and am heading in a brand-new direction. I’ve written Kyle’s thank-you note and sent him a copy so he knows what he said. I sent a gift card to Tommy giving him CDs he won’t give up anyway. And as for the 200 smackers, I’ll tell the IRS they are a charitable donation to people with incurable insensitivity.

As for me, I’ve sent this letter to the president reminding him the buck stops there.

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is  Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://www.homeprofitcoach.com/listbuilding 

Of Sundays. What we have lost along the way.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

It is Sunday in Cambridge in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The forecast is for inclement weather, buckets of rain, wide puddles to jump across, or, if you are of the distracted variety (I’m afraid I often qualify) to splash through unawares. Even with the intermittent rain, Cambridge will be on this day what Cambridge always is: a place of intellectual power, internecine academic battles often on topics of the least significance (hence their abrasiveness); a place, too, where everyone and his brother has either just written a book, is in the middle of writing a book, or is contemplating writing a book that will transform the world as we know it.

It is beautiful… it is exciting… it is lofty and drenched with youth… but there will be absolutely nothing of the traditional American Sunday here… or most anywhere else in America for that matter. That stalwart of our society is dead…. and today I lament its passing and what we have lost thereby. The great American Sunday, sacred to God, family and jackets and ties at an abundant repast, was one of them.

American values, Midwestern setting.

I grew up in Illinois, the most American of states, ultimate home of Abraham Lincoln, the epitome of American values. All states in the Glorious Republic are American, of course; Illinois is the great beating heart of this body politic.

I didn’t know, what child does, that I was, in the ‘forties and ‘fifties living through an inter-related series of cultural transformations which would, after being boiled and scorched in the cauldron of the ‘sixties, strip my family and all the other solidly middle class prairie families of too many of the verities they loved and cherished, believing them to be essential for a life of republican simplicities, moral certainties, and the resounding democratic principles on which the nation was formed. Our Sundays reflected these essential elements and sustained them.

I’d now like to share with you the contours of that Sunday, for it was good, decent, hallowed by tradition yet as fresh as the quips that flew around the highly polished dining table smelling of beeswax and elbow grease, the ample midday fare always abundant, never ostentatious.

Sunday began, for my mother at least, Saturday afternoon. It was then she did the work she hoped and was indeed confident would pass the critical scrutiny she knew her maternal peers would exact on her, her degree of proficiency in the crucial business of mothering, what manner of house keeper, wife, and mother she was, whatever observations made to circulate around the town as fast as, if not faster, than a Western Union telegram.

Fathers could afford to opt out of the crucial Saturday evening tasks for the morrow; children knew they would be called, and often more than once, to “try this on… you can’t wear that… polish those shoes at once and put them in a bag in the car ” to keep them pristine for the absolutely certain community review and commentary. My mother’s standing amidst other mothers and in the town generally depended on what she did and how she did it. And no one, but no one, was more adept at making every fine distinction and conclusion than the matrons of the town. Sure of themselves… their opinions were resounding, incontrovertible, and could never be challenged, waived, or overruled.

My mother, born and bred in Illinois, the stock of immigrants and pioneers, knew all this, none better. That’s why she was busily at work, including doing things even the most lynx-eyed matron could not see… examining linings… ensuring the car was clean inside (outside being my father’s province)…. examining, re-examining, now dubious, now, Mamie Eisenhower-like, concluding with a white glove review and then to her arrangements and personal presentation. No detail, not a single one, was ever overlooked; each according to the standards of her peers, just so.

“God shed his grace on thee.”

I am a WASP, a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, my lineage boasting Scots, Germans, and waves of Englishmen. These days it is rather fashionable amidst the ill-informed and worse advised cognoscenti to pooh-pooh and even deride these nation-founding people as limited, prejudiced, arrogant, self-aggrandizing, and worse. If such things were said, even softly, about America’s other ethnic varieties, there would be mass outrage against such bigotry and discrimination. But such things are said of us with impunity, on the same principle as a “cat may look at a king.” My ethnic fellow-travelers sail on disregarding such remarks and distortions. I wish it to be understood that they are as unacceptable as any words of prejudice and bigotry.

The churches of my prairie town were of the usual variety; each had its own constituency and place in the social hierarchy. The Roman Catholics built schools and basilicas on extravagant Roman models. They were, so my grandmother would whisper, full of immigrants from Eastern Europe (the lesser half) and deluded by the incense and fripperies of Pius XII, a Protestant bug-a-bear. Just saying his name could produce a noticeable frisson.

The Protestant churches were headed, such was the residual pull of the nation we had freed ourselves from, by the Episcopal Church. Then a tie between what was still called the Congregational Church and the Methodist Church. Lesser, suspect denominations like Baptists were never discussed at all; a disapproving silence was sufficient. As for religions which sent zealots door-to-door, that was all they ever saw – the door.

My grandparents sternly approved of religion and its virtues, but rarely went to church themselves. In fact, off hand, I cannot remember seeing my grandfather at any other religious ceremony but the marriages of his 4 children and blessed relations. My parents, however, were different; for both, religion was important and as a result theological discussions, publications, arguments, visiting missionaries were commonplace. It was thought only seemly that I should, year after year, win a prize for memorizing the most Bible verses; something which has stood me in good stead to this day, when a Biblical quotation is apt.

My parents were sometimes parishioners in the Methodist Church, sometimes in the Congregational. My first memory of the latter is a stack of folding chairs suitable for the frequent church socials, all stamped “Congo.” I supposed, being geographically inclined, that meant Belgian Congo, an exotic destination of my imagination. In due course I came to be disappointed, learning it was merely an abbreviation for the church itself. Still, since many of my thousand best friends went to the “Congo,” I liked going there the best. It was simply another school, filled with familiar faces.

Arrival at church, “Congo” most of all, was an event. My parents and I pretty much knew everyone because we were related, friends, school mates, neighborhood buddies. This was the importance of Sunday, for here God, family, country all came together, scenic, vital, reassuring, important. It was the heart of the heart of America. We needed more of this in our challenged land. Instead, we have far less.

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant . Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/listbuilding 

‘More!’ The exclusive story of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. When having everything is not enough.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Today Tiger Woods, golf legend, gazillionaire, the man of the million watt smile, from whose talents an entire industry grew and flourished, sits alone, wondering, pondering, reviewing every incident and detail.

The emperor of golf has not won a title since November 2008. In his palatial mansion, filled with the tokens of esteem and triumph which, once, seemed his to command and augment at will, a DVD player runs endless renditions of the glory days of his life… The tapes run…. but he hardly glances at them. Instead just one question runs in his brain, over and over: why?

Now thanks to this exclusive article featuring Oberon and Titania, taking time out from their long-running “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” world tour, we finally know the answer.

Frolics and hijinks of the forest elves, fairies, wizards, gnomes, et al.

The forest folk, whose antics were captured so well by Shakespeare in his play of 1590, have a problem that we humans do not share. Having eternal time at their disposal allows these immortals to do whatever they wish; problem is, there is always too much time, never enough to do…. and so, to fill the endless vistas of their limitless days, they turn to the mischievous, which they have crafted into an art form and sport.

Tiger Woods is one of their most successful creations, showing just what they can do, for good and ill, when they put their minds to it.

Titania found her 1975 Christmas presents from Oberon insufficiently magnificent and entirely unsatisfactory. Being the Queen she let him know in ways petty, irksome, and irritating that she was unhappy. The smallest traces of the herb tauri were sufficient for embarrassing oral purgings, always at the least convenient moments. He got the message and offered her whatever she wanted… She told him she wanted a human child to shape, coddle, adore. And she had just the one in mind she wanted. Burping, Oberon agreed…

Titania thereupon scheduled a great party, to take place December 30, 1975, the birth day of Eldrick Tont Woods.

Every forest dweller ever presented to Their Majesties was invited to appear, wearing full regalia, all orders, ribands, decorations and, should you be fortunate to have them, the red heeled shoes that arrested every eye and made those without writhe. Titania wished this to be her finest festival yet… and so it was; not least because each guest had been commanded to bring a gift, an attribute or skill they would bestow on the newborn child.

Much consideration went into these gifts; each wanted his to be unique, memorable, something that might catch the eye of Titania and result, it could happen, in the instant bestowal of red heels and the universal envy they occasioned.

Titania, resplendent in gossamer spun by bees at the exact moment of sunrise, a crown of iris flowers set with diamonds in her hair, greeted her guests at the top of a staircase lined with dragonflies in full iridescence, Oberon at her side… the Court Chamberlain, a Monarch Butterfly full of years and honors, announced each guest’s arrival — and gift. The cricket orchestra unveiled a new grand march….

“You will win the U.S. Amateur title 3 times.”

“You will win 4 green jackets and the excitement of the world.”

“You will drive 350 yards at will to the mortification and envy of all your colleagues.”

And so it went as afternoon merged into evening, the line of guests never slackening… each one presenting Titania with their special gift for her ward and favorite, then handing it to a powdered flunkey who artfully arranged it amongst the mound of prior presentations.

“Your balls will always avoid water and sand.”

“Every putt will appear straight as an arrow.”

“You will win more PGA events than legendary Sam Snead.”

But there was more, much more… each following their Queen’s commands to the very letter:

“You will win more majors than Jack Nicklaus.”

“You will be the only golfer to win all 4 majors in a row.”

“You will win each major (Masters, PGA, U.S. Open, British Open) at least 3 times.”

Then these…

“You will become the richest sports figure in history.”

“You will marry one of the world’s most beautiful women.”

“You will be called Tiger and the world will cheer and honor you , glad for your success, never envious.”

Now the long receiving line had dwindled; the guests rather attending to the dainty foods and cups of potent nectar. And the orchestra, weren’t they splendid tonight?

Then, as a black presence emerged, all went silent. It was Nemesis…. slow moving, her wrinkled face but little seen, swathed in black, the essence of discontent, mayhem her specialty. Titania was called, her iris headband askew, she was no friend to Nemesis, and partly feared her. “My invitation must have gone astray,” she said “I have a gift for your Tiger, too,” her voice deceptively calm, caressing. There could be no reason for refusing though Titania wished to refuse, but why spoil such a divine party? Thus Nemesis, with care, placed her gift in the cradle. It said simply: “More… Having everything will never be enough.” She then waved a wand.. and every guest fell to sleep, to awake (as partied creatures so often do) with recollection of nothing.

Year after year, the attributes so bestowed came true, the man beloved of the world, nothing too good for him, nothing begrudged. He was star-kissed, Fortuna in his pocket.

Until one day in November 2009, it all unravelled, in the testimonies of a stream of women delighted to dally with a legend, he more than they careless of his celebrity and position. The revelations were steamy, sordid, specific… the man who had everything now had universal execration and criticism too… and a whopping $750 million dollar divorce settlement to boot.

As his gilded world imploded, he asked himself as the world asked him: why had he imperiled so much for so little? It was beyond reason, beyond rational reckoning. And as he thought, the stories grew more frequent, more lurid, more damaging.

Then flashed the message of Nemesis: “More,” she reminded, the caress still in the voice, “everything will never be enough.” And now in darkened room, focused solely on this, he wondered at the trick of fate that had given everything, so ordered and ordained that it could never be adequate, satisfactory or fulfilling.

At that moment, he hears again on the television, a name he has been hearing a lot lately, Rory McIlroy, the commentator extolling his many skills, many outdoing his own. At this moment Rory is advising Tiger to stay out of competitive play, focusing on recovering his health. The sentiments are, perhaps, well intended, but their calm condescension rankles. It was then that he sees something on the floor; it’s a aide memoire from Nemesis with this message: “Not invited to Titania’s party for Rory. Crash party with usual message. It worked so well with Tiger.”

And so it does. The man with everything still has more than most anyone… but he hankers after the most important thing, whose loss will hurt forever: he no longer inspires hope, admiration, even reverence. Even were he to get everything again, these — as Nemesis conspired — are truly gone forever.

* * * * *
About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://homeprofitcoach.com/listbulding

I chose life… and so should you. 347,000,000 adults now diagnosed with diabetes. How one man’s story can help you at once!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

The number of adults with diabetes worldwide has more than doubled in three decades, to an estimated 347 million a new study says. The study, led by Goodarz Danaei of the Harvard School of Public Health and Majid Ezzati of Imperial College, London, analyzed diabetes data from 1980 to 2008. Their analysis found that 153 million people had diabetes in 1980; this number had swelled to 347 million in 2008.

Much of that increase is due to aging populations — since diabetes typically hits in middle age — and population growth, but part of it has also been fueled by rising obesity rates.

With numbers climbing almost everywhere, experts said the disease is no longer limited to rich countries and is now a global problem. Countries in which the numbers rose fastest include Cape Verde, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.

More alarming news.

These figures do not reflect the generations of overweight children and young adults who have yet to reach middle age. This will create a massive burden on already severely challenged health systems.

The most alarming news of all… Each of these people could take charge of their disease, but too often don’t, thereby triggering even graver health problems.

“A disease of the mouth.”

I like to say, tongue firmly in cheek, that diabetes is a disease of the mouth: open mouth, insert enough of the wrong things, get disease and all its myriad of complications. I should know; I’m one of the world’s aging diabetics. Now 64, I was diagnosed about 50.

The day my blunt, most direct physician delivered the news he asked me one question: “Do you want to live longer or shorter?” I chose longer; he then laid on me exactly what I needed to do to achieve the objective of more time and that of the highest quality. While hardly an ideal patient, I was more than willing to make the necessary changes in diet and lifestyle. Not only willing but committed and determined to do so. Once over 205 chunky pounds, my 5′ 10 1/2″ frame is now a lean 157 pounds… with all other numbers appropriate; something to write home about, especially since I can wear the same trousers I wore in graduate school 40 years ago! Can you?

What I have learned along the way.

I want to say, right from the get-go, that I am NOT playing physician here; you need to consult yours at regular intervals as I do. Still, diabetes seems to me a disease tailor-made for personal management. There are things, lots of things, you can do to improve your situation. Here’s what works for me:

1) Take ownership of your disease and decide whether you want to gamble with your life by doing little or nothing.

The great thing about diabetes is that its improvement or deterioration is very much in your hands. If you take charge in a positive, pro-active manner you are going to improve. if you persist in fighting your diagnosis and what you can do, right at home, too, you won’t. In other words, you can be adult about it… or select adolescent petulance.

2) Don’t try to change everything overnight; do start making changes at once. Remember, diabetes and what you do to manage it is a marathon, not a sprint. This is a disease without (just yet) a cure; it’s a disease that’s with you sleeping and waking. You cannot, therefore, do something today and then ignore it. With diabetes you’re fighting a war, not a battle. Treat it accordingly.

3) Clean out your cupboards… clean out your refrigerator.

If you don’t have readily at hand the destructive things… the high sugar drinks, the cakes and bakery goods… all the things that work against your success and create long-term problems, so much the better.

If you don’t have readily at hand the bad things and have to make a special effort to go out and get them, you will, perforce, ingest less.

4) Don’t think in terms of diets and deprivations. Think in terms of the additional life and time you’re getting.

We live in a culture that screams “I want this and I want this NOW!” We are all influenced by the “I’m worth it and I’m going to have it” mentality. Thus you need practical ways to overcome these insidious influences.

To start with, never call what you’re doing a “diet”. Diets are about depriving yourself; think instead of buying your life back from the pawn shop. When you eat bad things you’re cutting time off your life; when you make the necessary changes, you buy yourself back.

5) Count to 10.

Before you drink that sugary concoction or take another bite of your favorite confection, count to 10. This gives your brain time to remind you that you probably can live without the indiscretion you are about to make. The sequence goes like this: want. stop. count to 10.

Now, if you do this and still eat the offending morsel, even two, don’t collapse with guilt and recrimination. Just resolve to do better next time… because you can be sure there WILL be a next time, and many such.

6) Eat all day.

Still eating big, set meals that leave you breathless and bloated? These constitute an assault on the body. Stop it now!

Instead eat frequently throughout the day, small portions that satisfy and which your previously overworked body can handle.

Start eating fresh fruit… nuts… small snacks of maximum protein and nutrition, minimum sugars, calories, carbohydrates. Make the portions small but make their ingestion frequent. Your body knows its work. Don’t overfeed… graze instead. All day long.

7) Make breakfast your most important meal.

You’ve got a lot to accomplish today. You’re going to need a lot of energy and stamina. Thus, you must make breakfast your most important meal. Don’t even dream of stinting here. Breakfast constitutes the launching pad for a successful day. Treat it accordingly. By comparison never, ever eat your biggest meal at the end of the day or evening. Your body can’t handle it and shouldn’t have to try.

Before bed, give yourself a snack, fruit (raisons are always a treat), popcorn. You get the idea. Go to bed satisfied, sleep satisfied, wake up in productive good humor.

You’ll start seeing — and feeling — results at once.

The great thing about managing your diabetes is that if you follow these sensible suggestions, you’ll start seeing results at once. For one thing (and very gratifying it is) your weight will start to drop… reverting to your body’s natural weight. And as you see and feel that occurring, you’ll be spurred to keep on truckin’, towards the Promised Land.

As you go, as you achieve results, reward yourself. You deserve it, not least because you are doing what every one of the 347 million afflicted should be doing… but aren’t. Now that you are on your way to success, print this article and share it with a friend. It’s one of the privileges of your improved situation and state of mind. Use it… and help someone you know and love. Someday they’ll throw their arms around you and tell you you saved their life. And it’ll be true…

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at worldprofit.com and JeffreyLantArticles.com