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October 13, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-10-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Eir Sir4igan &4 i4
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

Putting 2 and 2 together:
A test of calculated error

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily exp ress the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be rioted in all reprints.



A surrl of Subversion
and his nutty obsession
GUESS IT all started with my window. The
window in my room. The window I looked out
of every morning and saw the squirrel.
The squirrel liked my window because it was,
subverted, or submerged or something: it was a
little below the ground in one of those window
wells where squirrels pile their acorns.
Well, this squirrel was nuts. He liked to look in
my window because; he knew I was asleep and
wouldn't see him. I thought at first he was related
to my landlord.
On the particular morning we're referring to
here, the nutty squirrel looked in my window as he
had looked many other mornings. That's why I
suppose it all started with my window,
It wasn't the first time this squirrel we're con-
cerned with had looked into my window. I suppose.
you could say it wasn't- going to be the last.
As a matter of fact, this squirrel seemed to have
a thing about looking 'in my window. I mean he
really seemed to enjoy doing it.
And who am I to tell another what he can and
can't do. I mean, after all, you can only swing out
so far before you violate the other guy's nose.
And this squirrel we're worried about seemed to
know what he was about. I mean, after all, if he had
lacked self-confidence or something, I would have,
tried to help him out.
But anyone who peers into your window whpn
you're asleep has to have some sort of hang-up. I
kept telling myself this, but it was sorta hard to
believe, consiedring this squirrel kept doing it and
Anyway, there didn't seem to be any way out of
it. And the way everything has sorta worked out, I
guess you could say that there wasn't.

On the seventh day,
they won

IM NORTHRUP'S triple flew far past
our halls of academia rolling into an
unknowing wall and scattering students
across campus.
Many professors refused to call off
classes Thursday afternoon, unable to
understand "how all those people could
get so excited about a silly game."
Many played another, more arrogant
game later, placing the exuberant re-
sponse of the masses into the "proper
perspective" - emotions taut from the
social tensions of the times unravelling
into absurdity.
But for those of us who have likened
everything in the life process to a game,
it may have been inevitable that our at-
tention should revert back to the defini-
tive games of competition.°
sports, whether professional or quasi-
professional, are not as obvious as the
strange symbiosis between university
and athletic departments would suggest.
Academics and sports are both games.
Both are played by experts, experts in
fields almost conceivably narrow. Both
have at best tangential connections with
the pragmatic processes of production.
Both are considered irrelevant by vari-
ous segments of the population and
adulated to the point of embarrassment
by others. Both invest in tleir players in-
ordinate amounts of personal license and

heady doses' of publicity. Both encourage
and delight in prima donnas, oddballs and
other assorted flamboyant types.
These judgments may seem slurred,
harsh, unfair.
Yet for those scholars and those ath-
letes who are unafraid of introspection,
they will strike an honest note.
IN THE LAST analysis the only differ-
ence between the professor laboring
over some arcane project in his dimly-lit
carrel and the runner stealing second
base is the number of people who appre-
ciate the aesthetic beauty of each.
And if students desert classes and
homework to watch the Series, or the
football game, there are compensations
for the professors . . . like the jubilant
hauteur of casting down supercilious eyes
at sportive students.
And if we find sports and academics
as entertaining as our fanlcy suits us,
what the hell?

IT WAS COMIN G closer to the time when the
final test would be put to us and the old man
sitting -across the table from me knew it. He had been
getting edgier as the morning had progressed.
He was a heavy-set wrinkled old man, with very
black skin and small traces of gray in his curly hair.
I suppose he wasn't really old chronologically, but
he seemed old. He was 38 while the rest of us were
18 or 20, so I thought of him as old.
WE WERE both sitting in the personnel office of
a Chevrolet Plant in Warren, Michigan. He was
waiting for the job that would help him support
his family. I was waiting for a chance to pull in
some fabulous summer dough. I was cocky; he was
The old man looked around carefully at the per-
sonnel qfficers, watching them stamp forms in one
corner of the room. Then he pulled a pencil out of
his coat pocket, smoothed'out a crumpled up piece
of paper he found on the floor next to his chair, and
began to write.
I WATCHED the old man as he wrote:
He stopped after writing this and looked up at
the ceiling for the longest time. Then he turned back
to his paper and scrawled in one corner of it:
Now I knew what he was doing. He was multi-
plying 297 by 8. But he didn't know what 7x8 was,
so he put down 8x8 and subtracted 8.
I thought about that for a while. How couldany-
one who knew enough to subtract 8 from 64 to get
7x8 not know what 7x8 was offhand? 1
I LOOKED BACI at the man. He had put down
the 6 in the proper place:


Now he was working on 8x9, That was harder.
Didn't he know that he could just go the other
way? Just add 64 8? I wanted to scream it at him,
72 old man, 73!
But then, what the hell for? What was so crucial
about him knowing the product of 297x8?
So the old man sat, pondering 8x9. Then one of
the personnel directors came over to the table where
we were seated and started distributing pencils and
"YOU'RE ALL GOING to have to take this test
now," he said. "We require you to pass it with suf-
ficient score to show you can read and understand
numbers well enough to work safely on our machines
in the plant." He told us we had five minutes. Go!
I was done in about two minutes. I laughed out
loud at the simplicity of the test.
In the plant, we have rules and regulations you
must abide by. These rules and regulations are nt
set up to restrict the individual rights of anyone
They only exist to protect everyone's rights and
provide for the welfare and safety of all.
QUESTION: In order to insure the safety and
welfare of all, we have: (choose one)
a) Chevrolet-Warren
b) individual rights
c) rules and regulations
It was really so simple, that only the extremely
uneducated (or extremely educated) could have
failed to pass it.
THE OLD MAN didn't pass the test. He was told
so, and he walked' out of the room back into the
world, a failure. I thought about the third question
of the test.
QUESTION: If you are working for the wage of
$2.97 per hour, how much will you make in one
eight hour day?
I wondered how many times the old man had
taken the test. How many times had he tried to get
a decent job, where he could make a living wage, and
been turned down? How could he have. lived for 98
years and notbe enable to pass the test?
WHY DIDN'T somebody grab hin right now, and
tell him there were special education programs to
teach him to read and write well enough to get a
job? Didn't anyone care?
I still wanted to scream at him. 72, old man, 72!


Sunday morning

Police don't eat the daisies

THE MID-AUGUST sun is never so hot as when you've been standing
in it for two hours waiting forea ride, and it was never hotter the
whole six thousand miles or so as in that small town in Northern Idaho
whose name I can't remember.
We were hitchhiking, somewhere, vaguely to San Francisco, but
mostly anywhere, anywhere to get away from those 72-hour weeks in
the factory in Grand Rapids, which is sort of how we endedup in
The cop' cme as we were cutting the cheese and spreading it on
crackers with the jackknife. He looked like a cop anywhere, paunchy,
with thick legs and a fleshy face.
"WHERE YOU heading?"
"Not many people goin' through here to Seattle How long you
been waiting?"
"Not too long"
"YOU CARRYING any weapons with you?"
"Just this jackknife. We use it to cut our cheese."
He walked away and we crossed the street to see if the rides were
any better. on the other side of the traffic light... They weren't,
FIFTEEN MINUTES later the cop was back and a car moving
slowly behind him as if on an imaginary leash. The driver was a
nervous looking middle-aged man who was probably a. salesman but
maybe a teacher or a school administrator going to a conference be-
cause he didn't look aggressive enough to be a salesman.
"This gentleman has agreed to take you to Spokane. I've told him
you're good boys apd you don't carry weapons. I hope you won't let;
me down."
REBELS WITHOUT a cause, no more. Nazi's had their Jews, Wal-
lace has his Negras, we have our Pigs.
Tie Movement has found a focus. Just like Christianity--the main
idea isn't the apple and the serpent, Sunday chool, wafers and wine.
But they help. You know, 'the people can relate better that way. Well,
the left has finally discovered religion. It has its symbols, now, and, just
like any good religion these will become its body and soul.
The Puritans had their devil, Salem had its witches4
WE KNOW they're all the same. Shiftless, no good. Maybe a little
natural rhythm with the baton, but they all have that, it's part of their
nature. People don't even admit that one of their best friends' cousins
knew one once.
They're just not as intelligent as we are. And you know about their
morals. All the same, all the same.
Next thing you know they'll marry your daughter, and how would
you like little blue grandchildren?



"During its continuance, the utmost liberty prevailed: all was mir th and festivity; friends made presents to each other; schools were
closed; the Senate did not sit; no war was proclaimed, no criminal exe cuted; slaves were permitted to jest with their masters, and were even

waited on at table by them. This last circumstance was founded on the original equality between master and slave
Saturnalia was emblematic of the freedom enjoyed in the golden age, when Saturn ruled over Italy."

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The Daily Crew
being Aviva Kempner, Howard
Kohn, PViand- Romnanchuk, Marcia
Abraisonand Heywood, who is
AT 6:30 P.M. Thursday we
headed for what should have
been the right airport to wel-
come home our world champion
All alone I-94, cars were
abandoned; a few miles from
the airport cars were even park-
ed on the expressway-the num-
ber of lanes kept decreasing.
People were dancing down the
highway, cutting through fields,
breaking fences, yelling, stop-
ping to' shake hands with every-
one along the way.
And at the airport, the 30-
40-50,000 fans (take your pick)
wandered aimlessly, trying to be
in the right place at the right
time, but not knowing when or
where that was.
Thousands mobbed the only
United plane to land that night.

the plane contained no Tigers.
And the threats only served to
fester the belief that the plane
must be very Important to rate
such protection.
In search of truth, we wand-
ered inside.
The airport'public address sys-
tem went on and off: "Your son
is at the main desk." People
roamed the airport, hoping to
find their champions hidden in
some far-off. terminal or hang-
ar. But no one bothered to tell
them that the Tigers wouldn't
land because the runways were
too littered.

A lot of people were drunk,
but no one cared: one cop stop-
ped a' drunk, politely asked him
not to blow his horn inside the
terminal, and smiled as the man
staggered out, yelling anyway,
But thereweren't very many
cops around. And no photo-
graphers either. We kept looking
for TV cameras, because that's
where the action' would be.
back into the mob that was still
following the beleaguered plane.
Were they the Tigers? We
couldn't tell.

"There are women on the
plane." , . "Their wives?"
"There aren't enough people
on the plane" e. , "It's a big
"There's Al Kaline, third win-
dow back" . . "How do you
know what he looks like?"
"But planes never land on
time . . . and this one landed
We drew back from the crowd,
still unsure - and then came
the one definitive observation -
"There are no blacks on that
plane." And a plane without
Gates Brown and Willie Horton

... According to some, the
was not the one we were look-
ing for.
We laughed for a moment
even though we were beginning
to realize there was something
they weren't telling us.
Ironically,sour oracle turned
out to be a slick old man ped-
dling newspapers from a truck
with a New York license. "Get
your priceless souveneir paper.
Get your historical document,
right up here."
He was very well-dressed. He
didn't look like' he always sold
newspapers. We should have left
when he told us to go home
because they had already land-
ed at Willow Run.
WE WANDERED back out on
the field, wondering where the
ropes and lights and police were
that we had run into in other
circumstances. If the same
crowd had been protesting -
anything - we knew just what
controls would have been en-

On being 18, sandaled, boeHweary
and in line at Canterbury House


ON THE CURB, watching students in line to see
Spider John Koerner at Canterbury House:
surveying the undergrads waiting to be entertained.
The straighties-hounds-tooth-checked tent dress,
clompy, stylish heels, gum-chewing through her
smile, nodding "oh yeah, yeah," to her date. He
probably just told her about the time he met Dave,
Guard, or The Limelighters; or the real folk of
Ravinia Festival, quoting lines, maybe, from Tom
Paxton or Pete Seeger, or "Alice's Restaurant."
The pseudos (sudoes),-lace pants suit, white over
tan, or buffalo sandals ands mustache.
The realies-blue-jeaned, rumpled, booted. Boots
that don't lace.
AND THE CAGE of surrounding concrete/brick!

which NASA says will take only time and taxes and
liquid oxygen.
INSIDE, WATCHING the sad frosh sitting here:
he doesn't want to talk, smoke, or drink the free
cider. From Millford-"I know how to get there, but
not where it is."
Not liking it-oh, the courses are all right, but not
liking it here right now Closing his small, active
eyes, trying to make the noise and 'the headache
of it and the .dull, creeping loneliness of away from
home (Millford, for pete's sake) go away.
Not feeling up tight; not knowing it's there, just
trying to stop the empty, eating raw, bone-weary,
line -standing-ness of frosh.
But the noise grows, instead of dissolving, and an
indistinguishable record starts to play, and a scarf-
necked photographer with girl behind him squeeze

Motor City, madness

-FETROIT was laughing and running through

path. In my generation large groups of people
have been more easily swayed to anger or

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