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Re: Attending A Recently Awkward Dinner

Reminds me of a teacher's response to the "What do you make?" question:

On Sun, October 20, 2013 2:27 am, Christian Darkin wrote:
> Hi
> Where's the money?  Ask Steven Spielberg or the guys who sold sue.
> The truth is there's no money in business for most people who work in it.
> Most people who run their own business would be better off getting a
> normal job.
> It's just that palaeontologists don't pretend that's why they're doing it.
> Christian darkin
> Twitter: @Christiandarkin
> Www.anachronistic.co.uk
> Sent from my iPod
> On 19 Oct 2013, at 19:10, dale mcinnes <wdm1949@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Well .. this is going to be a strange one DMLers but .. I thought
>> perhaps I'd pass this along for those of you finding yourselves in
>> the somewhat awkward moment that I found myself in just recently.
>> My family is large. All are quite wealthy. They're all sharks when
>> it comes to business. Being family .. we all went out to dinner
>> together with other business associates of their's. It was nice to
>> see my family together like that [we're all scattered everywhere].
>> I was somewhat quiet .. didn't fit in entirely. It was a nice atmosphere
>> nevertheless .. when one of these guys .. noticing I was somewhat out of
>> the conversation ..turned to me and asked .. "so your brother tells me
>> you're into dinosaurs ..palaeontology .."
>> The proverbial laughter, chuckles all around [been there too many
>> times].
>> Another buiness associate piped up .. "what kind of a field is that ?!?
>> Where's the money in that ?!?" More chuckles around the table of about
>> a dozen or so.
>> One wife of one associate piped in quietly .. "You're embarrassing him"
>> Well .. admittedly .. it was awkward .. and I was about to make it more
>> so.
>> This time I decided .. in a nice [or not so] way to spike the ball back
>> into their court. I reasoned they could "throw" but never learned to
>> "catch".
>> Can't remember his name or educational background but I did ask him what
>> business college .. if any .. did he participate in. He told me. I told
>> him that obviously they probably don't teach palaeontology as part of
>> your business education [that's the lead in line .. and he took the
>> bait] ..
>> He intoned .. "why would they ?!?"
>> And this is the mantra that I recited back to this guy :
>> - Palaeontology is an historical science
>> - It's the study of one of the most successful products ever encountered
>>  by man. It is called DNA or Life]
>> - It is a product that has survived unscathed for over 3 billion years
>> - It is a product that has never become obsolete
>> - It's a product that can fit into and still be useful in any new or any
>>  concievable environment
>> - It never becomes obsolete
>> - It takes advantage of any and all adversity
>> - It is absolutely resilient to the vagaries of change
>> - It adapts quickly without being instructed to do so
>> - It's the most complex product ever developed on this planet
>> - It was the 1st product ever to successfully use :
>>  Mass production
>>  Mass distribution
>>  Mass differentiation
>>  Mass diversification
>> - A product able to reverse entropy at will
>> - No known product comes even close to this product's performance
>> "So let me understand this .. in business school .. they never taught
>> you
>> palaeontology .. and why is this ?!?"
>> He looked around as if asking for someone to get him out of this awkward
>> position that he had placed himself in. No one asked me anything after
>> that.
>> The dinner tasted better than I had hoped for.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661

Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA