MY SON, THE DICHOTOMY
The three of us, mother, my wife and myself, doted on our son. We knew he had been born into a place of privilege.
After all, he was born into a family of substantial means and education. He would be exposed to the best of people, the best of ideals and the best of schools. He was bright eyed and a quick learner.
We ensured that he could read before entering kindergarten. Mother had him identifying the classical musicians by the time he was four. We would joke that he could say Bache before he said Daddy.
It was only after he entered public school that a potential problem arose. We always knew he saw things differently. Through the constant attention from the three of us we inadvertently minimized the problem.
We knew that he could learn anything he was exposed to. He could verbally feed back what he had learned and for the most part he could apply it.
I say “for the most part” because that is where his problem was based. He could apply his math, art and English talents to any problem that was described to him. Quite the opposite was true if the problem was not described in terms of its possible solution.
Allow me to explain this rather strange problem. Examples are probably the best way to show the situation.
If he was asked to apply calculus to the solution of a difficult probability and statistics problem he could handle it without much difficulty; as long as he had seen a prior similar solution. On the other hand if he were asked how many people out of a group of 500 would have the same birthday he could not imagine how some people had the same birth date. He thought birthdays were unique to a person, e.g.; very personal and therefore had no overlap with mathematics.
His ability at rote learning was excellent. His inability to apply knowledge to real life situations was shocking.
He was able to obtain his master’s degree. His lack of ability in conceiving original and creative work kept him from his doctorate.
There I was daydreaming about my home and family while at work. I should be observing the new hire from Italy. She probably is not a candidate for blackmail but she could be prone to embezzlement. She is pretty, smart and sociable; a good combination for promotion to the top. I hoped that her ambitions were not sociopathic. I hoped to get to know her better over the next few months.
It was too bad that I have set “The Rule” up for myself. She was gorgeous in her own severe sort of way. The black hair cut sharply around her forehead and ears. Her black and white expensive business suits with that military cut.
“The Rule” of not mixing business associates with instinctive pleasure had served me well. I have seen too many good men and women throw away excellent careers because of mixing business and pleasure. It was an easy trap to fall into.