The first two years of High School for me were a series of humiliations and failures. No matter how much work, tutoring or begging was done, my rankings stayed in the lower 40% of the class.
It seemed that my father's connections as a "Penn" man were going to be the only way that acceptance to a great American University was going to be possible.
Then one day in the Spring of my sophomore year, my roommate's cousin came to visit. He was right out of central casting for what a Yale Football Star should look like. Huge, VERY clean cut, perfectly dressed, supremely confident and yet smoothly attentive.
After spending an hour with us and knowing full well that he had us transfixed, he left us with this parting bit of 'wisdom.' Amazing but the two sentences that follow had more effect on me than anything else for the first 20 years of my life.
Pointing to a massive gold ring on his ham of a hand and then reverently wiggling his ring finger he said, "See this Yale ring. When a woman sees this, there is no way that she can say 'no.'"
Now up until now the ONLY awards, victories or honors in my life were received during the late evening bus rides back to school after mixers at Shipley and Baldwin, two girl's schools in the vicinity. On virtually every trip home winning the vote for being with the ugliest girl was a sure thing. Even then dark, exotic women had a strong appeal and in a bus filled with WASPS, that was the opposite of the "ideal" woman. The pain and shock of being uproariously laughed at all the way back to school was great especially after thinking that my date had been the most beautiful in the room.
Being 5 feet, 3 inches tall, skinny, weak, having a face pocked with acne and a failure at everything in the eyes of my peers suddenly meant nothing after learning about the effects of wearing a gold Yale ring. My days of self pity were OVER.
Finally a magic potion was revealed for the key to success - getting into Yale became the one and only goal of my life. And it was a burning goal.
The best part of having goals is that most of them come true. The worst part is that there are so many tempting things to strive for that picking the RIGHT goal for a young person is almost always regretted in later life. The greatest cheat for a young person is when they solely think that making money is an acceptable goal. What a tragedy that this is held up as something ideal. At this stage of my life it is quite clear to me that the best use of money is to give it away well. With the world changing so quickly only a fool would hoard it.
For me finding a way to get into Yale became the only thing on my mind. Believing that a Yale ring would turn all women instantly into agreeable partners was the massive eclectic shock that changed my life on that balmy spring afternoon in 1966.
Signing up for the Summer Camp that taught the courses for my following Junior Year became instantly obvious . My scholastic record up until then was so poor that no one at my school felt that this gaming of the 'system' would make any difference to a failure.
They were wrong. My grades my following Junior year were at the top 5% of the class and it would appear to the over burdened Yale Admission Officers that they were considering someone who had made a huge improvement when in fact they were looking at someone just as dumb as he had always been.
The next step was to divert everyone's attention away from the real reason for my so called success to something that was different and alluring and involved subtle bribery.
Tomorrow the next step for my campaign for a life filled with compliant women enslaved at the sight of a Yale ring will be revealed.