Home PageJump to Jonal EntryHumorInspirationUse this address for help with your membership.
an occasional newsletter of the Nanty Glo Home Page
February 12, 2001

What's your favorite song?

Writing a weekly column from 1957 to 1962 for the Nanty Glo Journal and which also appeared in the two other county weeklies its publisher owned, radically changed my life from the beginning. Always denigrated by peers and adults who worked with youth (coaches, troop leaders) because of my lack of athletic graces and aptitudes, I went from a nobody to someone who, at least in the eyes of some adults now, was able to contribute something of value to the community and the area's teenagers. I even got a fan letter a few weeks after launching the column, from a nun/schoolteacher in Nebraska (a Nanty Glo native who received the Journal there)!

Beyond that, however, launching the Teen Ten department, a weekly tally of the most popular songs in the valley, in a manner of speaking doubled my exposure and opened doors to friendships I hadn't dare wish for before. A principle of human nature was at work in this. Having launched the column as a test of the principles in Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, I should have realized this at the time, but was too green to see it. The principle: Make other people feel important, and they'll regard you as important. After I screwed up my courage enough to ask guys I would have shunned before, "What's your favorite song?" most of them began to regard me as less of a dork than they'd thought (if they'd ever thought anything about me at all). When they saw that their opinions were actually counting, that songs that I didn't like but they did were appearing in the list because they'd rallied behind them, some even began liking me, at least enough to want to impress me! I was being asked by Nanty Glo "gangsters" (regarded as the county's toughest toughs) if I would mention them in the column! The weekly survey forced me to speak individually to approximately 100 teenagers every Saturday night, and that was exhilarating.

But more important than the way I was regarded by others was the way I saw myself. I became outgoing, something no one else in my family had been able to achieve! (I'm kidding...actually, my brother Bob has always been very outgoing and makes friends easily, something I always envied.) Being more outgoing led me to aim my sights higher and expect more in life. Yes, I could get a college degree despite my poverty; yes, I could become editor of the Journal at age 20 and become manager-editor of a 100,000-circulation international weekly at age 25.

The subject line for today suggests a number of additional subtopics: What were your favorite songs when you were in high school; have your tastes changed, and why, if so, do you think they have? What makes a song a favorite? What songs drove you crazy (in any sense)?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction

I am a medical student currently doing a rotation in toxicology at the poison control center. Today, this woman called in very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants. I quickly reassured her that the ants are not harmful and there would be no need to bring her daughter into the hospital. She calmed down, and at the end of the conversation happened to mention that she gave her daughter some ant poison to eat in order to kill the ants. I told her that she'd better bring her daughter in to the emergency room right away.

Sent by Mike Harrison

A word for all seasons

Once a spiritual brother of mine and I visited Elder Zosimas, a Russian hermit. We found him seated on the ground chopping firewood. We asked for his blessing, then asked him to tell us something comforting. Only then did he lift us his joyful face and utter one word in Russian. It was a word that contains the entire immense spiritual life of man: "Smirenia, smerenia," he said, which means humility. Nothing else.

He put his head down again and patiently continued to chop the few bits of firewood he had for the winter.

Adapted from a monk of Mt. Athos

Sent by Christopher Haas
The Nanty Glo Home Page and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.

To QUIT the Jonal email list, click here. | To JOIN or REJOIN the list, click here.

When subscribing or unsubscribing to the list, use the email address to which you receive mail.
No message text or subject are needed on the email.

Nanty Glo Home | Blacklick Township Page | Vintondale Page