With his life in the Jesuit order fully described the man asked me to wait for a minute. He said that he would be return immediately.
I watched him as he stood up and walked down the small stream for a distance of a hundred feet or so. When he reached the place where a tiny spring fed into the stream he turned and walked along a short path. He lifted the large flat stone that covered the spring and removed something.
Returning in a minute, just as promised, he held two cold bottles of beer. He offered me one and I accepted it with gratitude.
I took a few sips from the green long-neck bottle and waited for the sad man to continue. He did not disappoint me. This time he appeared much more exuberant about his search for the lost thought.
“I was running out of options; however, this did not make me give up the quest for my lost original thought. I knew where most original thoughts occurred. It was in research; the laboratories of the scientific world. I applied for several premier jobs. I landed my first choice at a government-owned laboratory on Long Island.”
“It was a very nice facility. The research scientists were more of a community than a laboratory. They even issued a periodical that included the stories and faces of some scientists. The people featured had important events or breakthroughs in their area of research.”
“The periodical even had a classified section where the scientists could advertise cars, property or anything they wished. Everyone got along so well that it was hard to believe that they were competing with each other for grants.”
“I worked there for over two years. The PhD that I worked for was very gifted. He was the director of our large project. His assistants were ambitious and quite intelligent. The assistants had PhD and Master Degrees so it surprised me when I found out that they were working for very low wages.”
“It was said that the director had a very comfortable salary plus he was encouraged to take outside consulting jobs. He also supplemented his income by being a hired gun for law suits in his field.”
“I became friends with the secretary of the department and found out that the money that supported the department’s work was totally from grants. I had believed that the Ford Foundation may be funding this work. However, I was surprised to find that the majority of it came from grants funded by the US Government and the New York State Research Foundation.”
“The director’s application for grants had to identify the number of research support specialists, the quantity of administrative hours and the equipment needed to conduct the research. It was all very open and transparent to anyone who wished to see the grant application.”
The sad man seemed to scratch his head as he finished his last sentence.