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Tuesday, April 4, 2023

#70: The Mt. Rushmore Series

I suspect I'm not alone in being able to recall pivotal moments from my life when something happened that fundamentally altered my way of looking at the world. Today, please share with me and others your Mt. Rushmore of epiphanies. I've listed mine chronologically; order yours however you choose and avoid getting bogged down if fewer than four quickly come to mind. Instead, rewind through your life and describe up to four experiences you now know for certain made you into a different person. 

1.) Sometime in 1962: The first time I heard the drum break in He's So Fine.  Before hearing that break in the Chiffons big hit, music had played a peripheral role in my young life. It's now clear to me how that single moment was the genesis of my most sustained and enduring passion. Over sixty years have elapsed and imagining my life without music as its central force is impossible. 

2.) Fall of 1967: Listening to my freshman English professor speak of his devotion to literature. When Mr. Larsen described how he liked to stroll through the aisles in the college library caressing the covers of books, I recall two things: 1.) The look of disbelief in the faces of some of my fellow students. 2.) The voice in my own head saying "I must be missing out on something special here." As both a young boy and adolescent I'd enjoyed reading, but Mr. Larsen's rapture in that moment kicked my interest into hyper-drive, where it remains to this day. A life-changing moment, without a doubt.  

3.) Late 1971, early 1972: My sister guiding me toward feminism. Although I'm not sure exactly when my sister pointed me in the right direction, I do know for sure it was her that did so, single handedly. I also recall how she did it: She lovingly but firmly corrected my chauvinistic, outdated language and then gave me an early edition of Ms. magazine to read. I've been a different person and better man ever since. 

4.) Summer of 1993: A work colleague helping me see my narrowness about gay relationships. This epiphany is the freshest because of when it occurred. During a three-way conversation, myself and a woman colleague were commenting how gay sex mystified us as two straight people. Our colleague, the third party in the conversation and another straight man, reminded us that sex is just one component in relationships, including all of ours. He then asked both of us if it wasn't true that an emotional connection between two people is more central to any important relationship than is sex. There is no reasonable explanation why these simple thoughts had not occurred to me before my colleague gently pointed them out. But I'm glad he did. And that moment altered me.   


  1. Looks like you do have internet! Here goes:
    1) Getting pregnant (unmarried) in 1967. Learning to navigate pregnancy, marriage, and the desire to finish college (on time and with honors) all at the same time. This taught me skills I didn't know I possessed and have served me well over these decades.
    2) Sometime in 1967 or 68 young biology professor told us it isn't the length of what we write in our exam blue books (remember those?) but the content that matters. This taught me to be succinct at a (relatively) early age.
    3) Sometime in 1976 or 77, I was introduced to belly dance. Having been raised and steeped in education, book learning, science, etc. and totally disconnected from my body, this was a revelation to me. I had a body and I could feel good in it!
    4) Lastly, I too can relate to the change in perception about gay people. I can't pin down when this happened for me. It was gradual. I know I was prejudiced in the 70's but this changed in the 80's and 90's and beyond. Today I am happy to have many gay friends who are people I like and care about. I don't give their sexual preferences a second thought.

    1. Ines; Thanks for the comprehensive comment and giving me more insight about you via your stories. And yes, I do remember those blue exam books. Something else we share. (p.s. Glad I have Internet now while in Zion. Not sure what will happen when we're in the other 4 parks; stay tuned)