Wednesday, October 26, 2005

And We Pause Now For A Word From The Colonel...

"Before a young man leaves home, there are certain things he should know and certain skills at which he should be adept. We used to kick this around on watch and we covered a lot of ground. What should a young male of 21 know and what should he be able to do? There are no conclusive answers to those questions, but they are certainly worth asking. We agreed upon "civics" or what was called American government. A young man should know how this country is run and how it got that way. He should know the Federalist Papers and de Tocqueville, and he should know recent world history. If he does not know what has been tried in the past, he cannot very well avoid those pitfalls as they come up in the future.Superficialities, of course, are rife.

A young man should be computer literate, and moreover should know Hemingway from James Joyce. He should know how to drive a car well - such as is not covered in "Driver Ed." He should know how to fly a light airplane. He should know how to shoot well. He should know elementary geography, both worldwide and local. He should have a cursory knowledge of both zoology and botany. He should know the fundamentals of agriculture and corporate economy. He should be well qualified in armed combat, boxing, wrestling, judo, or the equivalent. He should know how to manage a motorcycle. He should be comfortable in at least one foreign language, and more if appropriate to his background. He should be familiar with remedial medicine.

These things should be available before a son leaves his father's household. They do not constitute "a college education," which may or may not be a trade school."

Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Sad to say, I have flown in, but have never piloted a small plane. And while I do not value Lt. Col. Coopers words as being gospel like some do, he remains a man of uncommon common sense. But this still does not provide the necessary impetuous for me to launch into the air merely for the sake of then having the right to say I did.

As an aside, I DO thrill to the remembrance of Colonel Cooper's adventures through life, but would be remiss not to acknowledge the fact that he was a fortunate fellow, often at the right place at the right time, and his reminiscing oft times comes across as somewhat elitist. Not everyone is as blessed with the right father, the right schooling, the right neighborhood, or the right moment in time to earn a lucrative living talking about the past.


Champurrado said...

I would add: be able to prepare and serve an above standard meal for 25 people.

Fits said...

Most assuredly. I was pressed for time and one of the things to add to the list was being able to, at the very LEAST, feed oneself, and not step up to the table as the Colonels generation and demand to be fed. Keep in mind that Jeff was, and remains an officer who has never cooked for himeself or others, changed a flat tire, fussed with a cranky carburetor BUILT his own airplance, and a host of other things that can be quite vaulable.

Thanks for the comment, it was spot-on.