The Chemistry Teacher's Son

being merely notes for a future Autobiography.
So expect random changes randomly.

This page is all about me me me, sorry about that. I don't know who would be interested in this person, but maybe someone might be, and I better give the story if they are to find out how all this came about.

To begin then, again.

Thomas Clark was born in 1961, exactly 22 years after the invasion of Poland, to an engineer and a science teacher who met at Stanford getting their master's degrees.

Fred Milton and Catherine Anne were staunchly in the American middle class, very progressive, brave and adventurous. The best of America, you might say. They checked each other's boxes, and met each other's families, and it was a definite yes. They got married in General George Patton's church near Pasadena. They were so hardworking they had no honeymoon, but started their jobs the next day. On the other hand, they saved for a year and then took a year (1957) to travel Europe. From Tacoma, it was the Train to the Boat to the Bus to the Bicycle Factory in England, then it was Raleigh Three Speeds around England and across France to the Volkswagen Factory in Germany; finally a VW Microbus "Kombi-Kamping" all around Europe for a year, counting every penny, when a replacement spark plug cost more than the labor to install it. Back in the US after Mary and I came along, they went to hear Martin Luther King Jr. talk in his visit to Portland; I remember them saying they were the only white faces in the crowd. Progressive. Then after a visit to the World's Fair in Seattle, they moved with an 8-month baby and 3 year old daughter to Bangkok in 1962. Adventurous! They were golden.

After ten years of Bangkok and Okinawa, two more kids, alcoholism, misbehavior, divorce, well it wasn't exactly golden any more but Mom was going to make it work out somehow, and independently, too.

Allow me to just talk about me and my Mom. She was a big influence on me. We talked over dinner, evenings, after school, after practice, throughout my high school years, or rather, she talked and I listened. She was a chemistry teacher, therefore logical and exact in all her thoughts, but also an idealist, most sincerely trying to fulfill her responsibilities and make the world a better place. I became her disciple, I knew everything she knew, and I knew why. I had her views, her idealism, her clarity and toughness of mind, her diplomatic and political sensibilities, her advantages and her weaknesses.

Mom: my sisters think she had a case of Asperger's. But she was off the scale smart, and very thoughtful about many things, she was the pinnacle of the Greatest Generation. So it depended how you took her. As a daughter seeking emotional intelligence and empathetic support and guidance, she was really terrible, grade F, a zero. When I had to put down my dog at the vet's office, Mom asked Liz, Why is Tom still crying? Not a lot of native emotional intuition. Sisters declared after, in bitterness, that she was a great father. But in being what she actually was, she was amazing.

One thing she had was a lot of discipline around her central thesis, which was Piagetian Constructivism: knowledge is self-invented and therefore: practice non-direction. Let everyone do what they want; never exert undue influence. Encourage but do not direct. Late in dementia she said she followed the theory of box parenting. Establish a box around the child, and the child can play and do anything they want, inside those boundaries. For me, as she said, she gave me an extremely large box. Explains a lot.

Even so, she gave me a life mission. To find and do "the most important and best thing". You know, that's not very specific.

In 2023 I noticed that Aristotle's very name asserts the same thing: "aristo": "best", "tele": "purpose,goal". The purpose of my own life is, has always been, exactly that (unknown) best purpose. Trying one's best over a lifetime, to more deeply understand, and then to share understanding with others, is that best purpose, it seems. Aristotle and me, I know it's pretentious as heck but I'm sharing my inspiration here. We both found the best education available in our time; we both somehow have permission to not specialize, but to think and write about an unlimited variety of topics; we both gave most of our lives to it. Our overlapping interest list is surprisingly long. Coming after, I still aim for novelty and truth on fundamental questions. So in 2023, how satisfying, true, and beautiful this is, for me.

But in 1979, I was blocked. I went off to college with that mission, and milked western civilization for what it could say, which was nearly nothing (Nietzsche: revalue values), and went off to study with a high exponent of Eastern civilization, Swami Muktananda in Ganeshpuri India, who told me rather similarly, "Study what interests you". So I've just been on this track for my entire life.

I went back (this point in the story is my gap year between sophomore and junior years in college), and chose to major in "Linguistics and Cognitive Science", ostensibly because it was at least practical, considering that languages are practical, and computers are practical, and you can study as much as you want of either of them and call it linguistics, so that would be practical indeed. Of course it was the least practical thing in the world. With a PhD in that you are equally qualified as any high school graduate to join the plumber's union. But more about that later.

Muktananda's instruction, the same as Mom's box theory of parenting, gave me room to study and study and study, though generally keeping an eye on "the most important and best thing", which, in this world, for a person, has to do with people. The science of people might be a good place to start. That's rather vague, though. Whereas, the uniquely human subject of language, considered as including natural human language and also artificial computer language or generally computer science, was reasonably appropriate.

Being regularly distracted by puzzles at hand, humor being such a puzzle, I found myself an ur-example, then accumulating compatible observations and curiosities, and then a proto-theory, finally written and shared and with a crucial word of feedback, click, a super tight, minimalist, logic-based theory of humor from which everything derives sweetly. That would have been good enough to die and go to heaven, with gratitude.

But life goes on and, linguistics being practically impractical, I had a few careers, in business in tech, then real estate, going from building to owning, so as to eventually gain some free time to write and share again the gifts I might be given to share. Which brings us here.

The most important and significant of those gifts, at this point, is an extension of N+V Humor Theory to a mathematical theory of emotion, including the special, optional, operation I(p)(s) that (1) asserts an identification of oneself with situation-derived attributes and that (2) binds the emotional consequences of those attributes to constrain one's emotional system. From this, and its optionality, one easily derives the high virtues, the psychology of high performance, the central, psychologically significant and liberating doctrines of all the religions, and the egoless states of flow, bliss, serenity, and transcendence. Please read Inner Surrender and Bliss Theory, and let's reconcile the battling religions of the world and give all a strait path to transcendence and unrestricted delight.

Well, that's how I see myself, at least. Others may feel otherwise.

This file is a placeholder and accumulation point for an autobiography or family memoir.

If you're not interested in the family history part, skip on down.

Before: Veatch, Rice, Cox, Crockett. Start with Cromwell and monarchy.

Mother formation: Mom was a suffering and isolated-because-intellectual girl in 1940's Pasadena. A place once she left she never would ever ever go back to live. Evidently high school was not friendly to this girl, daughter of immigrants, a very serious church girl, an idealist, the scion of her family. She didn't miss church between age 2 and college. Great Grampa Arthur had been recruited to run a choir on the Titanic or the Lusitania, goes a family story, but fortunately didn't close the deal. Later he was successfully recruited by the Methodist church, however, to run their choir, and on that Sunday his big family, a family of Episcopals, a.k.a. Anglicans, a.k.a. members of the Church of England, overnight all became Methodists. Except Mom who was teaching Sunday school for kids as a high school student, who went to Anglican church first, then taught Sunday school, then took the bus across town to the Methodist church, second service. Invariably.

So Biblical knowledge was a basic, assumable resource for Mom and in the family, even though it was never actually taught to us explicitly. It was a trove of pith, stories, aphorisms, analogies, and proverbs. It was atmospheric.

As first of the first, Mom was the light of her family, not just her parents' only child, but three of the six siblings had no kids, and the ones who had some were later, so she was the golden child at the center. Uncle Alf (#2 after Grampa Bill), was a navy commander in the Pacific war, and wrote a letter from the Enterprise Group in September 1943 -- after Midway, around the time of the Battles of the Solomon Islands and of Guadalcanal. Uncle Alf's letter asked Catherine Anne out of everyone in the family, he asked Mom to please pray for him, he needed someone more than just himself to put in a word upstairs, and brothers, please don't sign up for this, you don't want to be part of it. Alf wasn't sleeping easy in the middle of the war, but the pillar of his family was his niece. Mom.

This English family came together around the piano to sing all the time, Fridays for sure, Sundays certainly, perhaps more than that. The piano was on the wall opposite the couch and comfy chairs, and the dense blue carpet in the middle, where a child could perform for the family. When I returned from Thailand at age 4, I found myself front and center on that carpet. Decades later, Cousin Anne reported, they asked, then, Tom, say something in Thai for us. At a loss I said, "In Thailand I speak Thai. In America, I speak American." And pushed out my chest, turned on my heel and marched out of the room. Evidently I was the golden boy like my Mom had been. That family had a culture of celebrating its members. Aren't you beautiful, brilliant, fabulous! Oh we adore you so much!

Bill courted Margaret, an introverted family-oriented Englishman, and was tolerable to Margaret Crockett's small-town, Virginia-emigrant, cloth merchant father, Claude Crockett. Cousin Kate said, "Claude was a dandy". He was a dapper, well-dressed fellow, naturally, since his job was selling cloth to make dresses and suits. He had a flowering bush in his yard, I can't remember the name, maybe it was a pink dwarf polyanthus, or a perennial bush of tiny roses, but Kate remembered he always had a fresh flower in his lapel. Crockett was his name, possibly we are cousins of that famous other Virginian, Davy Crockett, if not, according to the above debunking of that story of my sister's, descendants of Martha Washington. Claude was an old school Virginia racist, according to Mom, who reported that a poor person during the Depression might come to the door to ask for food, and he would give them food, black or white, but if they were black, he made them go around to the back door. A story my mother told with embarrassment, years later, not just her own embarrassment but also that of the Coxes who were English, progressive, and didn't have that Old South in them.


Today is Sunday, July 3, 2022. All are dead but a few younger cousins, hardly met, never known. The adrenalin blocker, Prazosin, plus large melatonin, plus an extra aspirin, has built up enough in my system after a new, larger prescription started Friday night. I awoke, nostalgic, curious. In a long dream, searching for my grandfather, I had found the eternal poker game where old men knew him. A lawyer, a youngster, a man in a pinstriped suit. He swallowed a great lump of lanthanum, they said, laudanum, I understood (neither made sense; it was a dream), when McCarthy lost (which made no sense; the family hated McCarthy). He was there, he was known, he was part of. I felt it, with them, and leaned back unworried when the waitress brought some silvery slimy thing, opened my mouth, didn't look at it too hard, and chewed and chewed it, wondering, dripping eyeball?, fatty gristle of frog? more texture and temperature -- cool -- than taste. (Failing to freak out about a disgusting food item is so far from my character I don't recognize myself later.) Awakening, I realized this dream of nostalgia and curiosity was not an anxious dream. The first non anxious dream that I can remember. I'm 60, so what does that tell you?: a lifetime of unremitting nightmares and anxiety. Always on the edge. Always. But now, I feel part of, safe even to eat the dripping unknown: calm, fearless. Prazosin works.


Mom said they were Eisenhower Republicans, but that she became a Democrat later in life. Those naughty Republicans, she said, in 2017. I couldn't see Grampa as a McCarthyite anticommunist reactionary, waiting for election news at the lodge, but America was different in those days; Stalin was real, and the nuke plans were indeed leaked. So Grampa was shocked, it meant he was human.

Lately I've been telling the "I am X" part of myself to shut up. Inside I've been telling myself to just shut up. Shhhhh. What a relief.

The inner emotional flow is so easeful, so calm, occasionally self-delighted. I don't deserve this. Shush Tom, shush. Shhhhh.

Perhaps I can remember more clearly.

Going back, those were simpler days, for sure. Great grandfather, patriarch Arthur Cox, was perfectly set up as a home builder with every skill and plenty of the right people to build and build, the postwar residential building boom was underway, but they had been through the depression, and wouldn't borrow. The family would have been billionaires, if they had been willing to borrow, but no, Coxes don't go into debt. Simple days. Uncle Billy wrote, from the Enterprise Battle Group in the south seas: Brothers, don't sign up for this, I'm not sure I'm coming home! and, Pray for me, Catherine Anne, someone must! Uncle Alf named Billy for his brother, my Grampa Bill, William Henry Cox. Close-knit facts, sparse knowledge. Eisenhower simplicity, really a parochial group, even when off to grad school. Grad school! a woman in 1954, to grad school!??! Well I never! But Mom said later, her regret was not to get a PhD. Grampa Bill had encouraged her. Why not, she their only child. And also so curious and strong-minded. But not too far; Gramma Margaret said if you go to Yale or Columbia you'll find a man there, and we'll never see you. So Stanford, just a little farther up the coast after UC Santa Barbara. Gramma had gone to UCLA for her teaching degree, Mom a little farther, to Santa Barbara, for biology and a minor in public speaking. "I love it when you hold them in the palm of your hand," she said later. So Stanford was only a little farther.

Her man was Washingtonian, with a foot in Alaska, as far as a West Coaster could be from Gramma Margaret. But she was right, at least we could drive there in a day or two. As opposed to never. Fred laughed at her jokes, was why she fell in love, she said. She was careful, her sorority sisters made a big deal about family, the good family, meet the family, before you decide. He proposed, she said No, she had to meet the family. It couldn't have been during Christmas vacation, because then Dad took his dorm-mate, our Turkish uncle Önol Bilkur, to have an American Christmas, and they were only one year getting their masters degrees. So it must have been spring break, that he proposed again on a roadside outlook up north of Shasta. She said No, but it was inevitable: The Veatch family, thousand yard, sniper stare was exactly the match of Mother's serpentine clarity. Rectitude, unto death if necessary. They matched, checked all the boxes. Do the right thing.

And they all did. Supported each other, all the way. Dad became a pariah with his sexual revolution and his alcoholism, but still was part of the family. They liked Mom better; possibly because she kept his name: Mrs. Veatch, the chemistry teacher, the Peace Corps traveller, the walker across America. Role model for their daughters. Mom visiting us in later life was always welcome with Aunt Helen and Uncle John. Every visit had to schedule a lunch. "Put it on my tab," Helen asked the waiter, "Number 63." At the Medina Golf and Country Club, she felt good about being a Very Early member. I have no idea what they talked about, but it didn't require much. Mom was family, despite the divorce. They took her side, of course. He was unfaithful, alcoholic; they were upstanding, upright; of course.

Oh my god it was so far worse than I knew. His letters had a series with someone's then-wife, who Dad was seducing, at least emotionally. Really Dad? Everyone blames him, I do too.

Mom's Uncle Art said, Fred was that guy who would give you the shirt off his back. You couldn't find a person like that. There was nothing to even think to worry about there. But that was 1957, not 1964.

It was Thailand and the sex trade (may I call it the sexual military-industrial complex?) that turned him, I think.

Beware the boundarylands, where morals are uncertain, and lost.

Önol reported a visit through Bangkok, perhaps 1964, when he was circumnavigating, Europe to Asia to America, from a German steel plant to Boeing for his new job. Mary and Tom would take Önol's hands and walk to the market, where they would translate for him, little golden haired native Thai speakers, unique in the world. The locals would crowd around to touch the boy's whiter whites, despite the taboo of Thai society, never to touch another person's head. So amazed they were, and rightly so. Who would ever bring children, toddlers, to a poor and foreign land to become socialized as natives there, but unusually idealistic, cosmopolitan, you might say boundary-less parents. Citizens of the world. It backfired, I suppose. My first words came; they were in Thai. Mom had been learning Thai and talking Thai in the house with Som Rue and Su Ni and Boom and freaked out. "My son is going to be retarded!" And immediately started speaking English at home. Simpler times.

Kid's bedtime was seven thirty, so Mom went to bed at eight, but Dad went out into the nightlife. Pick one, he suggested to his visitor, at his favorite whorehouse. Önol was gay, I suspect, or he denied having his pleasure there. He wasn't out, being of that time, so it must have been a little awkward.

Dad justified himself, as alcoholics will, as an innocent. His Mom had screamed in overreaction finding nudie pictures under his teenage mattress. The boy down the street had screamed in gleeful childish contempt after in an attic moment persuading pre-teen curious Fred to put penis in mouth, the boy peed, and ruined his childish reputation. Horrors for a sensitive introvert. It was time for society to open up about sexuality, was his adult view. Fair enough. Instead of such repression and humiliation, we can do better. So far so true.

So the simpler days grew more complex.

Mom was on board, but it was Dad's idea: let's do something for this poor third world country. Not a small thing like a donation here or there, but a big thing. Let's adopt. Not a boy, because he would be small in America, and Dad didn't like being too small himself to play Football, where he had had to be the manager for the team, and take Wrestling as his sport. Let's adopt a girl. Many orphanages later, there was Chiang Mai, a flight north of Bangkok. Obviously, Dad had noticed, Miss Universe that year was from Chiang Mai. We'll get ourselves a beauty! Did he rub his hands together?

One day he flew up for a government project, and found out that the orphans were in the local hospital. Walking across the central courtyard, a doctor directed him to the orphan wing. Walking back, disappointed, at the same crossing of the walkways in the center, by fateful coincidence, he happened to meet again the same doctor. "Did you find one?" he said. "No," he said, "I mean, I found the perfect baby, the shining one, but it was a boy, and we're looking for a girl." The doctor said, "Well let's go back and check for sure, sometimes there's an error in the label." (I suspect, wise, false advertising could place a girl if hearts locked before the diapers were changed. Sure enough, off with the diapers, "It's a Girl, Mister Veatch!"

Hence, Laura Malee became my sister, me two or three years old, her perhaps a year younger. Mom had to fly up to see, Dad saying this is the one, this bundle of love, shining it out, after 150 babies, this is the one, just look at her, and then it was, Here she is, you can take her now. They had to generate some paperwork for the passport office, later, but I don't think anyone knew who or where the mother was, poor thing. But Laura is nice and legal, not a baby stolen, but a baby given, and a baby found, bundled up, taken, and kept. Did we give her a good, a better home? Good question, not an easy answer. Mom did her best, as we would say, but an insensitive not very good was certainly part of the picture. Simpler days, becoming more complex.

Mom had Aspergers, says Andrea. It was a hard time, too. Men weren't allowed to cry. Tough guys who fought the wars held up that culture, war after war, I, II, Korea, Viet Nam, these were survivors in a dangerous, judgmental world, where only rectitude to the bitter end was respectable. Right. Or Wrong. That was the culture. Her culture, too; she could only transcend and grow a certain distance.

Mom's view was, she had worked hard to establish her adult view, her philosophy, and her view was a moral one. Do the right thing. Observing her, I noticed that if she didn't have anything to say about right or wrong, she had nothing to say. Love and art and feelings and curiosity without the significance of a moral judgement were somehow impossible to speak about for her. Only moral judgement existed, in Mom's world. Andrea says, Mom had Aspergers. Yes, perhaps, but a feelings-dismissive, tough guy world was also the culture then, and she was also part of her culture, parochial, as well as idealistic, and as the chemistry teacher's son, I took her as she was, receiving the benefits that she, as she was, could give me, and not looking for what she was unable to give. Cousin Kate, the sensitive one, loved Mom to death for her support during a time of family rejection, because Mom did the right thing and supported her, had her move in, was her friend during hard times. But Kate felt a great pain that Mom wasn't able to empathize, to be present emotionally, somehow there was a vacuum where the heart could have been, if it were someone else.

These are character qualities which impact the children, you might imagine. The girls, needing a mother's emotional support, found their mother instead to be quite a competent father, and quite lacking the emotional support factor expected, yearned for, missed.

1962-66, those were the parochial idealistic early days of the Viet Nam war. Dad was a civil engineer, there to supervise infrastructure construction, the airports and hangars, the navy piers; we were a Cold War family. At the bars he met CIA spies, with their secret stories behind the lines, Dad had been an Army first lieutenant from Korean War days, out in Thailand to prep the country to bomb the hell out of Cambodia; we're all on the same team, guys. Think of the parochialism, the entitlement. There he met the son of a famous missionary into Burma, who said they had whole dried hot peppers in a cup on the table to eat with, just flaming peppers. Later he had a engraved, brass desk sign: "Give us your hearts and your minds, or we'll burn down your hooch". So he too felt the complexity of his idealistic Cold-Warrior calling, at some point, at least through humor. But he was not a particularly engaged or emotionally intelligent parent. Neither of them were.

Dad at least had some cynicism about the wars, and a bit of idealism, VW Kombi-Kamping, world travel for provincials, and the generic political consensus of a kind of Cold Warrior type idealism against Stalinist Communism. But really Dad's idealism was the Sexual Revolution. Yes, it got complex, and then dark.

Our Mom's philosophy was, bring the first one up the way you like, and the others will follow in the same path. A sort of industrial efficiency expert model of parenting. But in a healthy family, at least one parent ought to have some emotional intelligence, or it'll be a hard place for the kids.

Mom was a great fieldmarshal of a mother. Matching people with places, tasks, or roles. What would be a good experience for you? was her perennial question, for children. Always putting us into enrichment activities, I can remember so many: judo, ballet, swim, backpacking, snorkeling at the beach, crawdads at the Alexander Lindsay Junior Museum, every sport, reading every sign at so many museums, sisters champing at the bit to go, Mom giving me more time. Mom was a Girl Scout troop leader who left the Girl Scouts a quarter million dollars in her will, fifty years later. At six and eight, I was packed along, became a Girl Scout, too, carving stamps from cut potatoes in a quonset hut, playing with construction paper and acrylics, camping in military tents on an Okinawa hillside where I met the unattainable Diane, the love of my 8 year old life. Good experiences, yes.

Mom's question, for adults, was, "How are your goals evolving?"

Mom was a Piagetian constructivist, as I reconstruct her. Piaget was out by then, he was from the 1950's when Mom was forming herself. Piaget's theory of learning, constructivism, said that self-driven inquiry, experiment, invention, is the path of learning, so give the children wide boundaries for safety, and let them go free.

(My Liz today is a more modern Piagetian constructivist, who with the members of her baby group started a school in which Piagetian constructivism was the working and actual philosophy of education. Where but at the Attic Learning Community are children seriously allowed to have and follow their own interests within the structure of a school to real success? Contrary to the military education model of American public schools, constructivism is the way to train leaders, people with their own ideas.)

Nowadays we say Mom lacked boundaries, perhaps society has learned what modern reasonable boundaries should be, and they are tighter, but Mom would argue back, fewer boundaries is best, if you have the choice. Leading by example, doing what she wanted to do, might have been hard for us to see during our childhood, during years when she had to hold the sky up by working as a single mother to support her four kids on a chemistry teacher's salary, there wasn't a lot of flexibility in her life; the decision behind that had been made years and decades before, so where was the freedom in her exploration? But eventually the kids grew up and launched, eventually Mom retired, walked across the country, bought a condo on the beach, joined the Peace Corps, taught English in Shanghai, studied a Course in Miracles, and was a thoughtful and supportive friend to many. The world was Mom's oyster, and she explored every corner fearlessly, from Europe to Asia to Antarctica. Remember the flower seller in Bangalore? The restaurant in Beijing? Who else is like that?

Mom's character was a coin with two sides. Greatness of spirit, courage, respect for others to the Nth degree. She was true to her ideals. But if Mary wanted to reject school because her brother was suddenly such an academic star, Mom supported her. Or if Laura wanted to become a little terror, Mom wouldn't stand in her way. Even Andrea, how should I say it, got no encouragement, for her medical career. You kids do what you want.

In retrospect, I'd say, a parent could be just slightly more directive. Don't let one reject school as a whole because her brother is too smart to compete with there. Don't let another become a thief, a drug dealer, a fifteen year old mother, in short, an Army wife (for that was her early ambition, and the same-age husband she married at sixteen eventually passed the test and got in), because you are open to self-directed learning. You might call those failures of parental leadership, for someone who after all was a teacher at the best school in half the country. But Mom didn't know how to set boundaries very well, as apparently I know well since I don't either. Or how to establish a family culture of achievement or interest. She could only be herself, share her own example. Teenaged girls, being not impressed with anything, were not impressed with her. That's the job of the teenage girl, to create their own society of in-group and out-group, to sneer and to reject, if you follow the crowd that's the pattern. But that wasn't my job; I took everything Mom had to give, and didn't ask her for what she didn't have.

A couple years before she died, as dementia began to claim her, Mom took me aside and said, Tom, I have considered it my duty in life to check in with my son every couple of weeks or so to find out what he is up to, and that he is on his path, that his path makes sense to him, that he is happy about what he is doing. I can no longer fulfill that duty, so I am now passing it on to you.

I miss my Mom. I really miss her. Thanks, Mom, thanks for everything you gave me, the character and the capability, the commitment to making things actually better in this world, which is why I'm here. I love you, Mom.

Noun phrases, mere notes to elaborate on, later.

Parents: an idealistic 2nd-generation-immigrant family, piagetian constructivist without modern reasonable boundaries, hammered by the Sexual Revolution.

Sisters: thumb down on the giant autistic brother

The emotional desert. The lizard look (get Mom in her office looking up at Andrea) of a 1000-yard sniper, the certainty of betrayal yet inability to escape, typical of the Veatches and about the same of Asperger Mom, an unbelieveably rare woman with a post-graduate science degree (genetics) at Stanford in 1956, extremely well-brought-up. Neither family was able to complain. References of her vision: Cheaper By the Dozen, the efficiency expert's family was her model. Also The Good Earth, a 1931 book by Pearl Buck about hardworking but starving Chinese peasants, Kate said, was the key to understanding Mom. Virtue. Doing one's duty to the end. Weirdly, her mother (or grandmother) wiped her bottom till age 12. Perhaps as a reaction, Mom Hated anyone telling anyone what to do, was very disciplined to never ever do so. But as a parent herself, later, she failed to instill a family culture against the surrounding culture of teen thuggery and druggery, much to the detriment of her kids.

The school politics. College Prep School. Never to borrow. Never to return to Pasadena (HS social suffering no doubt.) Mom always wanted to be a camp counselor: structured activity, extroverted prosocial good times.

Watchman, the pictured, loving father I never had, who loved to talk to me and I loved to listen to him.

Som Rue, the loving mother substitute, who was there more than my own mother was.

Academic setup.

Social/Emotional setup.

Teaching Chemistry. Units analysis. PV=nRT. Multiplying by one, translating units, makes everything a matter of definition. Too much noise from Mike Slates and Me, separated. No coaching at home at all. Winning the Chemistry award; Tom Browne.

Counterattack. Intellect as solution to pain. Outperform. The necessity of topping every dominance hierarchy. Virtue.

What's the Chemistry Teacher's son like? Ubergeek, duh.

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Copyright © 2020-2022, Thomas C. Veatch. All rights reserved.
Modified: May 17, 2020; July 2, 2022.