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Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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Where Were You?

By on February 12, 2014 in See It Here, The Way I See It, Writing

Unless you’ve been on Pluto–and now that I think about it–this is probably being talked about there too–we are approaching the anniversary of the day John F. Kennedy died. There is always a bit of “where were you” talk, but this year we have a “0” at the end of the year marking the anniversary, so it’s a big deal.

First, anniversaries. I did an interview for a book I ghosted with Larry King with the late Harvard scientist Stephen Jay Gould about the coming millennium and what we need to know in this ever-fast-and-going-faster world. He told me we have always gotten excited when our car odometer turns to 10,000 miles (although in my case I dreaded when it turned 60,000 miles) than when it turned 9,347 miles. Same thing with birthdays. I dreaded that moment too now that I look back but the point is, one enters a new league when their age contains a “0” or a “5.” So that’s why every network-cable channel-magazine-radio station is airing long form programming about what happened in Dallas 50 years ago.

I will admit it’s been a good history lesson and I’ve read-heard-seen reflections from many people who were there or who have had half a century to review what happened to us as much as what happened in front of the Book Depository building.

When I was an editor at the Mutual Broadcasting System, we did an interview with the late Senator Ted Kennedy about his push for health care and xince the program would air on the weekend of when his brother was killed, we asked The Question. “I am going to spend that time,” he said, “thinking about the day my brother was born than thinking about the day he died.”

That answer has stayed with me for years and I’ve used it when friends have called to say someone we grew up with was dead. I wonder in all of this “where-were-you” atmosphere if anyone can answer the late senator’s question?

It’s May 29th. Spend some time thinking about that.

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