Daily Newspaper for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend, Far West Texas

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Aug. 2, 1996


By Jerry Hulsey

English teacher learns

he shoulda taught math

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As an ex-school techer, I'm always critical of the educational system
and admit that I left the career because the administration insisted
that all the students pass the course to avoid the backlog of students
and to "keep them with their age group."

My philosophy as an English teacher was that "You may be 65 and grey
headed, but you don't pass my class until you at least can make a
complete sentence."

I could not with good conscience accept a $3,000 per month check for
babysitting 30 students for five hours per day.

A fellow teacher, laid off in the oil field in the 70s, who came into
our system as a math teacher (with a degree in agriculture), tried to
console me one day. "Don't take your job so seriously," he said. "Roll
with the flow. They're not paying you for what you teach the kids but
for all the B.S. you have to put up with."

And the system continues its decline. I'm convinced I'd have changed
the world had I taught math instead of languages. Recently I stopped at
a truck stop for a pop and peanuts. The cashier was a young lady, 18 or
19, so pregnant she could hardly reach the register to ring up the
69-cent Pepsi. But whoa - the peanuts were two for 99 cents and I had
only one bag. Bewildered, she stared at the new high-tech register and
then at me. "You got just one?" she asked meekly.

"Yes, ma'm," I replied.

Her eyes fell, then she looks pleadingly at me. "How much would half of
99 cents be?"

Since I'm a scrooge, I stared at her and replied, "I think it would be
40 cents; isn't that right?"

That brought a sigh of relief from her and she smiled at me and thanked
me so kindly that I almost - almost - felt guilty of cheating her out of
that 10 cents. But in the back of my mind was the young man at the same
counter who sold me the same thing a week before. He rang the Pepsi up
at 60 cents and the peanuts at 75 cents. Whan I called his hand on the
75-cent peanuts, he hatefully replied; "Two for 99 or one for 75."

That day I ate two bags of peanuts.

About four years ago, I went into the grocery store where I trade and
the young assistant manager was at the register. I asked for the usual
carton of tobacco that I buy every week, and he had only eight packages.
He explained that since I was such a loyal customer, he would sell me
what he had at carton price and that would get me by until the truck
ran. Deal made. Carton price - 10 to carton - $18 a carton. Customer
with $20 bill. He pulls out a pocket calculator, punches on it for at
least two minutes, then disgustfully returns it to his apron pocket. Now
he turns to the register. After another three minutes and two yards of
tape, he turns to me and says, "How about seven dollars, tax and all? He
gave me my tobacco and $13 change and I left a confused cashier with six
or seven customers. He must have done better with those. The owner went
broke and the young assistant manager now owns the store - but I never
catch him running the register.

Another grocery store in the same country town, but this time a mature
lady at the checkout counter (one of my generation who learned math -
arithmetic we called it - in school). In my household we're two old
bachelors, and we drink a lot - a lot - of Kool Aid. And since we don't
buy groceries every week, we buy in quantity. On this particular
occasion, I grabbed a dozen of each flavor, which amounted to well over
100 pckages. I didn't dare turn them loose in the grocery buggy, so I
found a sack in the Brach's bulk candy display and dropped the envelopes
into it, safe and secure.

I knew the lady cashier and spoke to her by name. She had been at the
same post for at least 20 years. She mumbled some greeting and started
grabbing articles from the buggy, scanning them and sliding them to the
sack bay. Without looking, she grabbed the Brach sack and put it on the

"Wait, Gracie, " I said, "that's not candy," as she keyed in $1.49 per
pound on the register. Without even looking up form her work, she
quipped, "Don't tell me how to do my job."

Thank you, Gracie. Kool Aid at $1.49 per pound costs only about 3
center per envelope. My lesson - honesty doesn't always pay.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jerry Hulsey is a retired school teacher who writes for


Sickness threatens

fabric of society

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Terrorism is a sickness that has infected our nation.
The innocence of America has been shattered by bombs and copycat
bombers. It hurt when a bomb hit the heartland last year in Oklahoma
City and now some sick person or persons has tried to disrupt the
Olympics with a bomb. That came on the heels of the bombing of the TWA
flight out of New York en route to Paris.
Following that, calls have led to a number of flights making emergency
landings because of called in bomb threats and buildings have been
evacuated due to even more threats. And there has been numerous other
actual bombings that didn't get as much publicity as the one in Altanta.
There's a real problem in this country and somehow, some way, we need
to figure out what it is. This problem - whatever it is - threatens our
society and the world as we know it.
It would appear that as a nation, we've become spoiled and have too
much time on our hands. How else would people have the time and
inclination to make bombs? Do they ever think about the innocent lives
that are being destroyed due to their act for whatever reason?
For many years, we've read about terrorism in other countries. Little
did we know that such a sickness would invade our shores. History has
shown us that great societies have fallen from within, not because of
foreign influences.
Could this be happening to us?


Bush should stop

influence peddling

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Up to this point, Gov. George Bush has avoided many of the pitfalls and
mishaps that naysayers had predicted when the son of the former
president first announced intentions to run for the state's top post.

Despite having never held elected office, Bush seems comfortable in the
public eye, and by most accounts, he's done a good job of stepping in
and addressing some of the major problems facing the state.

Still, he seems to have misjudged the reaction around the state to the
budding influence-peddling scandal that is dogging his administration.

Three of Bush's top aides have left the administration to take
lucrative lobbying posts. In addition, Diane Allbaugh, the wife of
Bush's right-hand man, executive assistant Joe Allbaugh, landed a
high-paying lobbyist job to represent Texas utilities.

If Bush wants to put an end to this imbroglio, he should follow the
lead of Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, who has barred his aides from lobbying for
a year after leaving his staff.

That sort of hard-line stance would make it clear to influence-seeking
industries and ambitious aides alike that the revolving door at the
governor's mansion has been locked - or at least temporarily closed.

- The Baytown Sun

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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