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Old Beat-Up Violin and Two Masters

In high school, learning to play a musical instrument was an elective requirement. The basic goal was to provide young students with a modicum of exposure to various acoustic arts by actively involving them with an opportunity to convert random noise into progressively more rule-governed audible sounds with musical tools of their choosing. I selected the violin and quickly discovered how extremely challenging it was to induce it to conform to my bidding. To my surprise and delight, the instructor, an elderly Jewish violinist, reminded me often how I seemed to have “an ear” uniquely attuned to the intricacies of this...
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Judo Lesson

No student was permitted to study judo by my martial arts grandmaster until they had earned a black belt in tai kwon do. The belief was that tai kwon do made you strong from the outside-in, whereas, judo made you strong from the inside-out. I can honestly say that my judo training was the most strenuous physical activity I ever experienced. One day, when I was a yellow belt (the color following white), we had a visiting red belt (the color preceding black) student from a sister-school, with whom I was partnered, as we learned a complex new leg and hip...
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“It’s Only 8 Hours, Sonny Boy!”

It was just a part-time job during the summer between my third and fourth year of high school. Not quite 16 and I was the designated quality-control inspector at a major tool manufacturing company in Chicago. Much to my genuine surprise, I was given with the sole discretionary authority to shut down the production line if there were any problems identified or even suspected by my youthful eagle-eye. Although I took great pride in my work and sought to always do my very best, I must confess how much I thoroughly loathed my job! Worse still, I could not for the...
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