Category Archives: Jack Cameron’s Tacoma

My Family Needs Your Help

My niece, Anya. John and Char's youngest.

My niece, Anya. John and Char’s youngest.

I’ve never done this before. When it comes to, the stories I post here are rarely personal. But sometimes circumstances require a personal touch.

If you’ve been reading my Twitter site, you’ll know that I have some friends who have recently become homeless. Their names are John Hodgson and Char Edson. They have two small children. John and Char are my son’s aunt and uncle.

For the last couple weeks as the weather has turned and their situation has become more desperate many of us have asked John & Char to put up a crowd funding site so that our amazing community can help them out. They had declined. They did not want charity. They are proud and willing to work, but work has been hard to come by.

Last night some friends of mine and I were talking about putting up a site for them because we know people will help if there’s an easy way to do so. Thankfully, this morning John and Char started a GoFundMe page.

This time of year is one of the most popular times to give. It’s also one of the coldest times of the year. If you’re looking for a local cause to give to this holiday season where your money will have a direct and immediate impact, I ask that you consider giving to this cause.

Below, you’ll find more about their circumstances from John himself. I’m including his story from his GoFundMe page here so that you know exactly what’s going on. Thanks.

– Jack Cameron

Here’s John: 
My name is John Hodgson. 4 years ago I was laid off of my job of 6 years as a Supervisor of Environmental Services in a hospital. This event coincided with the birth of my son Rowan and my wife Char being diagnosed with Autoimmune Disorders and severe migraines. 2 years ago I shattered my ankle after falling down a stairwell while carrying my then infant son. I now have a metal rod replacing the bone and 7 screws holding it in place. This has made it so I cannot do my previous career. It hasn’t been all bad as my daughter Anya was born soon after. After Anya’ s birth Char’s health  declined. Her Rheumatoid Arthritis makes it very painful to even get out of bed let alone chase after or pick up two little ones. Recently we have become homeless. We are now forced to rely on our vehicles more than ever .  We are utilizing all of the resources available and I am asking to raise funds  so that we can get our two vehicles in good repair with reliable tires. Thank you.

Help John, Char, Rowan, and Anya by clicking here. 

How Tacoma Was Forever Cured Of Bieber Fever

Tuesday Justin Bieber played the Tacoma Dome. I didn’t attend. Wednesday Justin Bieber got on Twitter and told his 28 million fans that someone at the concert has stolen his and his manager’s stuff. He called the event ‘lame’ and ‘disrespectful’. However, it turns out that Bieber never filed a police report with Tacoma Police. And security footage from the Tacoma Dome shows that no theft actually took place. And now it turns out that the entire thing was a publicity stunt for his new music video.

In the past, Tacoma was known for its crime and rightly so. The early 90s had an influx of gang members from California that turned certain parts of this city into a small war zone. However, in the 20 years since then, Tacoma has improved and changed. Like any other city, we still have our share of crime, but to make an accusation that thieves stole his stuff during a concert, Justin Bieber inflames a stereotype and he did it for his own publicity.

There’s more to it than that though. By saying there was a theft in the Tacoma Dome, Bieber effectively calls into question the security of the Tacoma Dome. This can make it so other, more talented acts don’t come to Tacoma. Sure, it’s out now that it’s a lie, but I think it’s safe to say that not everyone who heard of the theft is going to hear that it wasn’t real.  The Tacoma Dome should sue Justin Bieber and they should never invite him back. In fact, the City of Tacoma should declare this city a Bieber-free zone.

Justin Bieber, take your cheap lies and your bad music and don’t ever come back. You’re not welcome  in the City of Destiny.

–          Jack Cameron

Art, Ballet, Flamenco and Dirty Rock

Flamenco Master Jesus Montoya

There is always something going on in Tacoma. It’s one of my favorite things about the place. No matter what you’re into, there’s a good chance you can find it somewhere in Tacoma.

Here are just a few options coming up in the next few days:

Thursday December 15th  6:00pm – 9:00pm


Angela Jossy, the self-described Duchess of Downtown has made the Art Bus a monthly event that is always memorable. Tickets are $10. The Art Bus boards at 5:45pm and takes a tour of local art exhibits. She puts this on every third Thursday of the month. At last count, there were 11 seats still available.

For more information, go to

Friday, December 16th  8:30pm – 11:30pm    

Flamenco singer Jesus Montoya with guitarist Pedro Cortes and dancer Savannah Fuentes

At The New Frontier Lounge 301 E. 25th Street

This is something special. Jesus Montoya has never played Tacoma before. If you’re interested in Flamenco music or have never experienced it, this is for you. And the New Frontier has a close and friendly atmosphere. There’s not a bad seat in the place.Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at this link:

For more information on The New Frontier:  

Saturday, December 17th 9:00pm – Late

Midnight Salvage Company, Ten Miles of Bad Road, & Devil on a Leash

At O’Malley’s 2403 6th Ave.

You want a loud bar with good drinks and great music? This is the time and place. Three great Tacoma bands all on the same night and there’s NO COVER CHARGE. There’s not much more you can ask for on a Saturday night.  Ten Miles of Bad Road just completed their tour where they brought their dirty Southern rock to small bars up and down the West Coast. If music was violence Ten Miles of Bad Road would be a bar fight. Midnight Salvage Company brings the sort of rock that should still be on the radio. It’s good solid rebel rock with just a bit of asshole. Then there’s Devil on a Leash with a sound that reminds me of the last bar on a long night that no one will remember too clearly.

December 17th & December 18th at 3pm

Tacoma Ballet’s The Nutcracker

There are plenty of Nutcracker performances all over. However, Tacoma City Ballet’s is set apart as the sole production in the area to follow the story, scenic design, costuming and choreography as it was originally created by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov.

Tickets range in prices from $19 – $60 and can be purchased at

And that’s just a few of the things going on in the next four days. Tacoma is about as diverse as any city in the world. And it’s all right here. People ask me why I love Tacoma, it’s because of things like these.

– Jack Cameron

Dear Advertisers…

I was recently approached by a company that offered to post ads on my site. They referred to it as having my posts ‘sponsored’. They assured me that the ads would be specific to the content of my posts and that it could be a real money maker for me. It was an easy decision. I turned them down.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been approached by an ad company. And it’s probably not the last. I realize that there are a fair amount of shady companies out there who will just send a form email without looking at my site, but I’m just as sure that there are ad companies with real people who do good work. So just to save everyone a little time, below is an open letter to any prospective advertisers.

Dear Advertisers, is a site comprised mostly of two things. There are interviews with local people. And there are articles about people who have been murdered in Tacoma. The interviews with local people often involve business owners who are working hard to promote their business and help make Tacoma the awesomely diverse place it is. So you can understand my reluctance to take an interview I’ve done with my friend who makes children’s clothes and accompany that article with, oh I don’t know, a ‘Baby Gap’ advertisement.

Similarly, when I write about someone who has actually been killed in Tacoma, I write it being fully aware that friends and family of the victim are likely going to read it. These are people going through a significant amount of grief and loss. I try to write with as much sensitivity to that as I can, regardless of the circumstances in which their loved one died. I can be as nice as I want to be, but all that goes out the window if that article is accompanied by an ad for a funeral home or a gun shop.

I appreciate that you think I have this tremendous opportunity to make money thanks to the popularity of my website. I’d love nothing more than to quit my day job and just write what I want to write forever. However, I’m not going to make money off the death of other people and I’m not going to cheapen my interviews by advertising potential competitors.

I wish you the very best of luck in your advertising future. I’ll think of you if I ever start a site I’d like to have ads on. But TacomaStories isn’t that site.

If you’re a local company that would like to advertise with, write me at Tell me your story. I guarantee your potential customers will like that more than a flashing banner.

-Jack Cameron  

Note: The ads you may see on individual posts on this site are due to WordPress and not me. I have no control over them. I could pay them $30 a year to get rid of the ads, but as I make no money from this site, I don’t want to pay money to make the site work.

Help Save Comic Book Ink!

A couple months ago, I shared my friend John Munn’s story of trying to save his comic book shop, Comic Book Ink. He was $30,000 in debt and in danger of closing. The good news is that people have helped out tremendously and he’s very close to reaching his goal. The bad news is that he’s had to endure more personal tragedies and he’s not quite at that goal yet. If you can help, please do. His shop is on 84th Street. Right next to the Regal Cinemas.  Here’s John Munn with more information:
Hello Everyone (please share this):When I first sent out my appeal two months ago, I was truly overwhelmed by the level of support that washed over Comic Book Ink, both near (and very far away).

To recap:

When we moved from East 72nd to our new home, at the Lakewood Regal Cinemas Complex, we knew we would succeed, but we were $110,000.00 in debt.

I knew the shop could do it. Through the help of Angels, I had been able to juggle bills for eight years…including the huge drop in October of 2008. I had juggled as hard as I could up to that point and I just couldn’t juggle anymore. The economy was not recovery as fast as we needed, I was trying to help my father as he battled with health issues, my wife was no longer employed …there were a number of things that were draining my finances and I could no longer put them into the shop.

We were $30,000.00 away from not being able to stay open.

When the e-mail & FB Post went out, I got back a lot of mean spirited e-mails and phone calls:

–You should shut your doors
–You should lay off your staff
–You don’t deserve to be here
–You should close and just focus on your Dad
–You should not put your faith in your customers

They hurt deeply. But the one that hurt the most was about not putting my faith in my customers.

My Customers & Angles proved them wrong…in the last two months and three weeks, you have reduced that debt from $30,000.00 to $4,500.00 which, ironically, is the cost of this week’s shipment, and back debt payment to Diamond Comics (who have also been phenomenal and helped us greatly). This week’s invoice is $4,529.74.

Yes…there has been a slow down of people picking up their comics on a weekly basis, but they are trying to come in at least every other week or, at least, once a month.

About my staff. The store succeeds, and is what it is, because of them. The core group of our “Customer Family” know Alex, Josh & Carmen…and they are the reason that this folks come to the store. We would succeed together or we would end together. We might be less one appendix in the last three months (Carmen’s), but we are still here fighting.

My father ended his battle on August 10th, 2011 at 7:12pm. I am working through the process, with my two brothers, of settling his affairs and putting the life he left behind into order. From FB: “If there is anything that you consider to be a strength of mine…if there is anything that you consider to be the goodness is me…if there is anything that you value in my love for others…If there is anything that you admire in my support of community and every project I get to work on…it can all be attributed to the one person in my life…who guided, loved, supported, inspired, nurtured, taught, drove, cared for and made me who I am from my childhood into my attempts to be an adult: JOHN MUNN, SR. He passed away quietly last night and I hope I can continue to be the same model for my boys, and family, that he proved to be every day.”

Josh asked me yesterday: “Where are we?”

Will we close if we do not have the final $4,500.00?

I can’t juggle anymore…and this week, alone, is proving to be a rough one…the first two weeks of the month always are. I want to juggle, but I can’t.

I need a final run at this…I can’t do it by myself…and it kills me more than you know to even ask you.

We do need folks in this week…to help us finish this.

Please pick up your comics, starting today, and a little extra.

Please catch up your files if you have not.

Please consider purchasing a share.

Please help if you can.

Please remember:

Cash or Check, if possible (we do not have to pay any additional fees through the credit card machine)

We will also accept Credit Card (because of the situation, we are willing to pay the additional fees in order to obtain fiscal help)

If I am not there during the day this week, it is because I am working on matter regarding Dad or at the Lakewood Playhouse, briefly, continuing to assist them and their outstanding staff.

The shop has my phone number and will willingly give it out to folks who might be able to help.

The folks who have come forward, so far, have proved it time and time again over the last three months. They have poured there love into this place that I tried to build.

THANK YOU! Please, please, please…don’t let up now!!

This has been the hardest, most public thing, I have ever done…

Thank you for understanding…and thank you for the care and love you have shown so far.
-John Munn

Comic Book Ink

2510 S 84th, Suites 15A-B
Lakewood, WA

The Tacoma Youth Initiative

Jen Kurkoski surrounded by others in the TYI (including me in the lower right hand corner.)

In 1995 I was nineteen. I got a phone call from someone.

“Mr. Cameron, we’d like to start the Tacoma Youth Initiative again. We’d like you to run it.”

“No. I’m not interested.”

“May I ask why not?”

“The youth of Tacoma do not deserve the Youth Initiative.”

My participation was from 1992-1993. I don’t remember how I got started, but I think it was a girl. At the time, I was known for joining groups simply because a girl I was interested in was a member. It’s how I ended up being a Quaker for a while. More often than not, I’d join the group and get just as interested in the group as I was in the girl. The Youth Initiative was no different in that respect.

To explain what the Tacoma Youth Initiative was and what it did, it’s important to explain the environment in which it existed. The first Gulf War had ended. Bill Clinton was in the White House with a bunch of new optimism. And Starbucks had just gone public. When it came to young people, the general fears were drugs, gangs, pregnancies, and AIDS. Each of these fears resulted in various programs to help kids who were addicted, or stuck in gangs, or pregnant. Almost all of the programs out there were reactionary programs for kids who had already screwed up.

The concept behind the Tacoma Youth Initiative was a bit revolutionary at the time. What if there was a program full of resources for young people before they got messed up with drugs, gangs, or anything else? More importantly, how about a program that helped these teens do what they want to do?

The Tacoma Youth Initiative supported and promoted groups and activities geared towards teenagers in Tacoma. An environmental group called SAVE (Students’ Actions for a Viable Environment), various Safe Streets programs, and Crossroads Coffee Shoppe were all among the programs championed by the Tacoma Youth Initiative.

I know this is hard to believe, but there was a time when there wasn’t a coffee shop on every other corner of Tacoma. And the coffee shops that did existed were not exactly teen friendly. Most of the time a bunch of us would just go to Shari’s or Denny’s. A bunch of us would arrive at the restaurant. The waitress would roll her eyes as each of us ordered just a cup of coffee. 

Soon they made rules that we had to order food or they’d say we could only stay for an hour. This was the genesis of Crossroads Coffee Shoppe. The Tacoma Youth Initiative helped fund the concept of a coffee shop where teens could drink coffee, listen to music, and hang out indefinitely.  Since it was non-profit, there wasn’t any worry of patrons ruining our bottom line.

Crossroads existed in part of a large warehouse owned by the Boy Scouts of America. Part of it was used for the Sea Scouts, but the rest of it was donated to the Youth Initiative. It was located on Dock Street just below the 11th Street Bridge, otherwise known as the Murray Morgan Bridge. It was essentially in a forgotten part of Tacoma. This was before there were gigantic empty condo buildings or the Museum of Glass. Most people who ended up on Dock Street were lost, homeless or drunk. Once, a drunk guy in a pick-up truck took out four small trees next to the warehouse while we were there.

Those of us who were part of Crossroads Coffee Shoppe met every Tuesday at 7pm. We talked about getting equipment and finding the financing for our little part of Tacoma. We also had work parties where we put up walls and made the warehouse space into a place people could actually hang out. Occasionally as a fund raising strategy, we’d open our doors to the public for a night at a time. It was always a low-key affair. No one got crazy drunk or stoned out of their minds. There was never any violence. It was a group of teenagers responsibly hanging out with like minded people. I made many friends at Crossroads that I still talk to on a regular basis.

Crossroads Coffee Shoppe

Eventually I decided to get more involved with the Youth Initiative. The Tacoma Youth Initiative’s offices were located in two small rooms on the first floor of the Tacoma Central School building. Youth Initiative director, Jen Kurkoski was always happy for any help she could get. Many days after school, I would go into the office and help stuff envelopes, fold newsletters, or do whatever else needed to be done while listening to Jen’s radio ever tuned to National Public Radio.

In a very real way, Jen Kurkoski was the Tacoma Youth Initiative and yet, it never felt like she was controlling us. She was the first adult I’d ever met who I felt was on our side. She had a quality about her that got the best out of you and made you feel optimistic. At the time I had no idea how rare it was to work with a genuine leader.

After a while, I started writing for the Tacoma Youth Initiative newsletter. One month, I saw the newsletter and noticed that a paragraph in my article had been changed. I actually left school and went down to the office to yell at Jen for changing my article. She calmed me down immediately. It was the first time I’d been edited.

I was still attending weekly meetings at Crossroads, but it was becoming increasingly clear that Crossroads was never going to be more than a glorified clubhouse for us and our friends. No matter how much we tried to promote the place, we couldn’t get the amount of people in it that we needed to make it an ongoing thing. I decided it was due to our terrible location which I believed was donated to us because no one else on Earth would want it. More than once, I half-jokingly suggested we should burn the warehouse and use the insurance money to get a real location. One time we ordered a pizza once and the guy got lost. I said, “This guy is getting paid to find us and he still can’t find us.”

Back at the Youth Initiative Offices things were getting even more desperate. We weren’t just running out of funding for Crossroads. We were running out of funding for everything. Giving money to homeless kids or drug rehab for kids or for runaways or for former gang members has always been a good way to get in the papers. But giving money to average teenagers who weren’t in any sort of trouble? Hell, didn’t they just give $20 to their kid for gas? The fact of the matter was the Tacoma Youth Initiative simply wasn’t sexy enough to garner ongoing support.

In January of 1993 Jen announced that the Youth Initiative was closing its doors. This announcement got us more publicity than anything we’d ever done. Suddenly we were being interviewed by the News Tribune. Some were happy to see them. I saw them as vultures picking on a corpse. We’d had press releases all but ignored during the majority of our existence and now suddenly we were news…because we were dying.

Jen tried to put a good face on it. She had one last gathering. A cast party for the Tacoma Youth Initiative. She invited us to her apartment on Stadium Way. It was a chance to see some of the people from the other branches of the Youth Initiative. We talked and hung out and worked on a big poster of scraps from our various endeavors.

And then it was gone. As if it had never been. I never saw Jen Kurkoski again. I remained friends with many of people from Crossroads. In the time since we had tried to start Crossroads, coffee shops had sprung up like a disease. There was Temple of the Bean over on Division and North I Street and across the street from it, there was Buzz City. Later there was Café WA and later still Shakabra Java. Crossroads was gone, but at the same time, in a way, it was everywhere.

In the years following the demise of the Tacoma Youth Initiative, I got jaded. I felt that not only did the media and local philanthropists not do enough to save the Youth Initiative, but neither did my fellow young people. More and more I saw that the majority of my peers seemed to think that the world owed them something and the last thing they wanted to do was work for it. So when I got that call in 1995, I turned it down. And as far as I know, the Youth Initiative never started up again.

Now, almost twenty years after I first heard the words ‘Tacoma Youth Initiative’, I’m not nearly so jaded. I see it was something that helped shape who I am. It’s where I started writing things that people other than my friends read. The Youth Initiative is no more. But the people from the Youth Initiative are still around. One is a principal at a high school. One works at corporate offices at Zumiez. Another works in a law office downtown. And Jen Kurkoski is in California working for Google. We’ve all gone on to different things, but I think each of us was changed by our experiences with the Tacoma Youth Initiative and I’m thankful for that.

Could the Tacoma Youth Initiative work in today’s Tacoma? I don’t know. I’d like to think so, but as always, the problem is money. The question is, what would the youth of Tacoma do if they had the resources? I bet it would be something amazing.

– Jack Cameron

Were you part of the Tacoma Youth Initiative? Do you have stories of TYI to share? Email me at It’d be great to hear from you.

Note: Don’t worry. 5 Question Friday isn’t gone. We’re just skipping a week.

What Was The Tacoma Youth Initiative?

Coming Soon...

5 Question Friday With Jack Cameron

Jack Cameron At Owen Beach

Hello. Typically, every Friday I ask someone in Tacoma five questions. It’s a holiday week. So just to be different, we’re turning the tables. Instead of me asking someone five questions, I had Pam Phree, co-author of Betrayal, Murder, and Greed, ask ME five questions for 5 Question Friday.

1. You report on homicides/crime in Tacoma, do you remember any crime or crime scenes you witnessed when you were growing up?

I grew up on South 40th and Fawcett in Tacoma. It wasn’t the worst neighborhood, but it was far from the best. I was used to the sounds of sirens and distant gunfire. (So much so that I had trouble sleeping when I wasn’t home.) I had a collection of shell casings I’d pick up walking around the neighborhood. There were a handful of street drug dealers in the area. And drive-by shootings were not uncommon. That said, I can’t say I remember any crime scenes that I came upon when I was a kid.

2. What or who inspired you to be a writer?

It’s my third grade teacher’s fault. Mrs. Hixon. Whitman Elementary School. I had written a story for class. She called me up to her desk and said, “You should write more.”  I thought she meant that it wasn’t long enough. She was the first person to give me the idea that I could write for something other than schoolwork.

3. What type/genre of books do you like to read?

I read a lot of nonfiction. The last three books I read were ‘Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead’ by Neil Strauss, ‘Stories I Only Tell My Friends’ by Rob Lowe, and ‘Typography For Lawyers’ by Matthew Butterick.  When I read fiction, it tends to be crime fiction just because that’s what I write and what I enjoy the most. I’m straying a bit from that right now and reading John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War simply because I love his website and haven’t read a sci-fi book in a while. Next up I’m back to the crime novels with ‘So Much Pretty’ by Cara Hoffman. (Also looking forward to George Pelecanos’ next novel, The Cut)

4. What are you working on now?

I’m just finishing up a crime novel. It’s called A Better Lie. It’s set in Tacoma. It has sex, violence, guns, and flowers. Lots of flowers. I’ve sent the manuscript to a few close friends who are good enough to tell me when something sucks. Once I hear back from all of them, I’ll work on a final draft and send it on to my editor. My hope is that it will be ready to sell before Christmas.

5. If you were going to give new writers advice, what would that be?

Outline. Write. Complete. Outlines will save you every time. You don’t have to religiously follow them, but trying to write a story with no outline is like going on a road trip without a map. It might be fun…until you get lost.

Even when you’re not working on any big writing project, write. No books, classes, seminars, or websites are going to help you more than just writing will. Write something every day. A journal entry. Something random. Whatever. Even the busiest person can take ten minutes and write.

Last, and just as important, complete what you work on. A lot of beginning writers get stuck trying to make whatever they’re working on absolutely perfect. The results tend to be that they never get it finished. No one is going to read 2/3rds of a novel. Get it finished. Then get it perfect.

Thanks to Pam Phree for helping me on this week’s 5 Question Friday.

As always, if you think you or anyone you know would be a good for 5 Question Friday, email me at

Gun On Top of Cop Car

The Seattle Police department says they’re ’embarassed’ after leaving an assault rifle on the trunk of a cruiser. This has become big enough news that MSNBC is covering it.  This surprised me because, it’s not as if this is the first time something like this has happened.

Years ago I worked at a place called the Law Enforcement Support Agency or L.E.S.A. I transcribed police reports. (I can’t really imagine a better job for a writer.) L.E.S.A. is  located on the second floor of the County-City Building. At lunch, I’d sometimes go next door to the downtown Tacoma McDonalds. Any local will tell you that the people who frequent that McDonalds are among the strangest in the entire city.

One particular afternoon, I walked out of the County-City Building and out on to Tacoma Ave. As I got to the sidewalk, I could tell that something was wrong. I looked around to see the car wreck or the fire or whatever the problem was. After a few moments I realized that most of the people on the street were looking in the same direction. It was then that I saw it; on top of one of the patrol cars, there was a pistol. And there were no police officers that I could see.

Given the variable quality of the people who mill around the County City Building, I made a judgment call and walked towards the cruiser. I approached the car, picked up the pistol and tucked it in my waistband. Now everyone was looking at me.

Ultimately out of all the people on a city street, I’d rather I be the armed one. I walked back to the County-City Building. When I entered, I told the security guard, who I was friends with, that I had a pistol in my waistband.

He said, “Why?”

I said, “Someone left it on top of a patrol car out there.”

He said, “Someone’s in a lot of trouble.”  He then instructed me to go to the State Patrol desk and turn in the weapon. I did as I was instructed.

What’s funny about this is that at no time did I think I should contact the media. We’ve all forgotten things when leaving a car. It just so happens that in this case and in the case in Seattle, they were weapons.

It’s unfortunate that it happened. But it’s not a scandal. It’s not some horrible thing. It had the potential for very tragic results. It was just a simple human error and really, while it’s a problem, I wouldn’t call it a big deal.

– Jack Cameron

A Letter From My Grandfather To My Father

In January of 1969 my father had joined the Air Force. My grandfather sent him a letter that my dad still has to this day. I’ve transcribed it below. Happy Father’s Day.

-Jack Cameron

20 January 69 

My Dear Son,

As you know, I’m probably one of the world’s worst correspondents, and I think the reason is that I have such a miserable time getting into the thing.  There’s something about a blank sheet of paper that apparently causes a mental blank.  However, I’ve determined to write a letter for you  that may communicate some of the things that I, as a father, should try to communicate to you, my son; and believe me, this comes from the heart.

I think the best way may be to simply write down for you some of the thoughts that, over the years, I have found helpful when I need them.  You know, none of us lives long enough to develop all his own thoughts and philosophy. About all any of us can do is to listen and read and observe, balancing one bit with another and with our own experience. This is a continuing thing throughout a man’s lifetime.

All of us are faced with tough propositions at one time or another. There is never a ready-made answer. But, if you’ve been aware and listening and thinking, often you may apply the accumulated experiences of the people you have known, or read about, or observed, and thus at least have a solid basis for developing your solution. I’m not suggesting that you adopt my philosophy (actually I haven’t the art to put an integrated philosophy together.) or, for that matter, anyone else’s philosophy. I’m only offering these thoughts for your serious consideration, to use or discard. I will try to tell you why I feel the way I do about some of these simple statements.

You Learn Best Through Embarrassment.

I first heard this from a man I truly respected, but it took a long time (and many embarrassments) before I could accept it. I believe you will find, as I have, that the lessons learned from the embarrassing mistakes will be the ones that stay with you.

Two And Two Are Four.

To me this means that, when everything appears to be going wrong, my world is falling apart, and the chaos prevails, there are after all some things that are stable; that if I keep my head there is hope.

You Can Never Take Out More Than You Put In.

I think this (in, no doubt more elegant words) is a law of physics. However, I have also found it to be a law of life, and any time I have persisted in extracting from a situation more than I have contributed I have inevitably been forced to pay elsewhere.

You Don’t Have To Like It.

A crudely worded thought I learned from a rough and crude man. I think the idea is that, when necessary, I can wholeheartedly perform a distasteful task and still retain my personal integrity.

Never Poke Bears With Sticks.

This does not mean that one should timidly bypass sticky situations. It does mean that I estimate, as best I can, the likely results of an action, then arm myself with sufficient weapons, or perhaps wait until a more appropriate time when I may have a better chance of success.

Well, if I haven’t bored you too stiff to wiggle, let me know how you make out with these, and I may have some more for you. You may take that as threat or promise.

I hope they help.