I was wondering what was the most meaningful thing that you did with your life?
Well, I think the family and children is the most meaningful thing most people do with their life.
And I’ve been reasonably fortunate... I don’t think I’ve been a perfect husband. I’m lucky to have had as much felicity as I got. And I always needed a certain amount of toleration from the fair sex. I started wrong and I never completely fixed myself.
I should tell this group about... you come here as a cult to talk to a cult-leader? I want to take you back in history, you’ll see what an inferior person you’re now trusting.
When I was a freshman in Omaha Central High, there was a friend of the family, a girl my age. She had gone off to summer camp the year before and she met a blonde goddess. A voluptuous 13 year old. And I was a skinny under-developed whatever and so forth. ‘You gotta take my blonde goddess to this dance’.
And so I wanted to impress this ‘blonde goddess’ and so I pretended to smoke which I didn’t. (Laughter) And she was wearing a net dress and I set her on fire! (Laughter) But I was quick witted and I throw Coca-Cola all over her and in due time the fire was out.
And that’s the last I saw of the blonde goddess. (Laughter)
And then I said, ‘well I’ve gotta make more time with the girls’. And I wanted to get a letter at Omaha Central High. Of course I was no good at any sport. So I went down to the rifle range and learned they gave letters in rifle shooting.
And I was so skinny that I could shoot a 100 in the sitting position by sitting cross-legged and putting one elbow on each foot. Try it, you’ll break your neck. But I could shoot a hundred every time. So I was a good rifle shooter and they gave me a letter. But I was so skinny and short and underdeveloped that it went from one arm pit to the other.
And I walked down the hallway trying to impress the girls and they wouldn’t turn their head. What they said was, ‘how did a skinny little unattractive runt like that get a letter?’ (Laughter)
And then I had another experience. There was a girl who had a name I still remember, Zibby Bruington. She was a senior and a very popular senior. And I was a nerd sophomore. And somehow she agreed with me to go to a party in one of the out-buildings at the Omaha Country Club. Perhaps because she liked one of my friends who was a big strapping fellow.
So I took Zibby to this party in my 1934 Ford, and it sleeted and got rainy, and so forth. And I managed to stick the Ford in the mud and I couldn’t get out of it. And Zibby and I had to walk for several miles through sleet. (Laughter) That was the last I ever saw of Zibby Bruington. (Laughter)
And then my car stayed in the mud and I neglected to put in anti-freeze and the temperature went way down suddenly and the block broke! And of course it was too expensive to fix. In fact, I lost my car and my father wouldn’t buy a new one because he said, ‘why should I buy a new car for a guy whose dumb enough not to put anti-freeze in it?' (Laughter)
This is the person you’re coming from miles to see! (Laughter) And so I didn't get a new car. My life is just one long litany of mistakes and failure. And it went on and on and on.
And politics! I ran to be the president of the DSIC in grade school, The Dundee School Improvement Association. I had the most popular boy in school as my campaign manager. I came in second by miles. I was a total failure in politics.
There’s hardly anything I succeeded at. Now, I tell you all this because I know a nerd when I see one. And there are a lot of nerds here – (Laughter) – who can tell stories like mine. And I want you to feel it’s not hopeless. (Laughter) Just keep trying.
The most meaningful things in life is living and enjoy every moment of success and failure because that's what life is all about. Never give up, just keep trying.