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Hear Monkey, See Monkey, Read Monkey, Now Do!

11 Feb

CaptureAnybody who had a stoic father knows the first thing he did when teaching you how to do something is make you do it. He probably placed the wrench in your hand and told you to give it a try. Actually mine just pointed in an inconclusive direction and blurted off some words that didn’t make any sense and expected me to get it. Then he would lose his temper. As if just being there would teach me how to change out an engine part.

But, at least he didn’t teach me how to swim by throwing me in the lake and saying ‘Swim, boy, swim!’ This happened to a friend of mine in early childhood.

Needless to say, I like doing things hands doing it all the wrong ways till the pieces fit together right. But unlike my father, I will admit when I do not know how to do something. But not after circling the same street 50 times claiming I know where I am going.

I never read the instructions. Have you ever tried to put together Ikea type of furniture. I guarantee you if you follow the directions there will be 20 leftover screws and the top shelf will slant at an angle. It is probably because the manual is written first from Chinese to French and then French to English.

My brother likes to learn by someone verbally explaining stuff, but I have always been a reader. But there is no doubt seeing something done takes away all of the confusion. It doesn’t matter what the parts are called, if you do exactly what you  see it should work. Emphasis on ‘should’. As my  junior high football coach, Coach Wallace, used to say, there is always that one person who misses the toilet when they pee.  Ha!

Long hours in the a hot Rubbermaid factory made things hard. The guy training me would show me how to place block 1 here and block 2 there. Then he would ask me, What did I just say? For the life of me, I could not tell him. He showed me again. I still couldn’t remember. When you  are on hour 11 of a 12 our shift in a factory with no air, 105 degree heat and a constant stream of pieces you have to box at rocket speed it warps your mind. I can only imagine what soldiers marching across the 150 degree Iraqi desert have to handle.

When I was a teenager, my stepfather was a police sniper and trained shooting instructor. I learned to shoot in preparation for deer hunting by receiving precise verbal, written, and visual instruction. All three put  together mixed with some natural ability created my ability to shoot a 2 foot black target 250 yards away with iron sights, no scope. When my brother went through army basic training/ infantry training his drill instructor stopped yelling at him long enough to bet him if he could hit the bulls-eye 10 times in a row, he would get down and do 50 push ups for my brother. Not long after my brother was standing over him counting to 50. The D.I. made the same bet again only to fall to the ground in shame one more time. So you can see how taking the time to teach someone in every way pays off years later.

While I learn well by written word, visual and verbal aspects are very helpful.


Copyright  ©  Dustin Poteet


1,2, Change, Change, Change

10 Feb

zebra123I do not know if It is in the Bible but I have heard it said all of the books in the world could not hold the stories of the miracles JESUS performed. I don’t know if there is enough bandwidth, hard drives, and fiber optic cable to manage all of the stories of things I have done wrong. Would I change them? I haven’t seen the outcome so I can’t truly say yes or no.

I did not finish high school. The restlessness of sitting in a seat for 8 hours a day created what I though was a brilliant idea of taking my general education diploma (GED) exam and ditching the hell-like box of a place.  Does it help me in life? No, It definitely made things harder. But, If I would have stayed my soul would have been sucked straight out of me. Sounds harsh, but any establishment that is run by old, bitter people who want to wield their authority and treat you like you are a toddler is never likeable. Keep in mind I am talking from teenage memories. Teachers are great, but you can not fully appreciate it in the moment.

I was too shy. I had what was arguably the 2 most attractive girls in my class giving me the eye. The one that says I am not just being polite, but I really like you.  But I never took advantage and asked at least one of them out; I am a one girl man. I am probably better off,  but I don’t believe myself when I say It.

What else could have been different? I could have spent a lot more time in the gym and added muscle to my 6 foot 5 inch frame. I still would have been to caring to use physical attractiveness to my advantage especially when I was not married.

This is only a small piece of things that could have gone differently. If I ever have kids I will probably tell the to have more fun because life is a marathon not a sprint-race. On the same note A’s will be mandatory and no quitting school till they get their 5th Doctorate degree or make  5-star General in the Army. Does it sound like those two sentences are a conflict in terms. Well, life is one big conflict in terms.

The picture above is the zebra, which was my high school mascot. I definitely would have picked a better figure like wolves, or lions, or even hawks, but not zebras. The zebra usually gets eaten by the lion and we usually did in football. I found the February 2012 lunch menu online. It is the same menu. Ha! I would not be surprised if it was the same food kept frozen since the year 2000.





Copyright  © Dustin Poteet

Zebra photo courtesy of

Menu courtesy of Fossil Research (It’s a joke)