Tuesday, January 28, 2014


       I am a maker and a taker.  In high school I benefited from reading aloud the classics to my teacher, Morris Cohen, who was going blind.  He did this as a voluntary act because he liked my habit of reading widely. I was a maker in high school because I volunteered to help teachers, painting posters, mimeographing, and helping keep tally of the number of students in classes as they registered for their elective courses.  I became a taker when I was an undergraduate because I accepted a full tuition scholarship to NYU.  I became a tax paying maker by being an elevator operator in the summers and delivered people to their floors in Manhattan’s office buildings.  I also served (unpaid) as managing Editor of the NYU Literary magazine.
      At Indiana University I was a taker again as a Teaching Assistant which gave me free tuition. I was a maker by helping undergraduates in their laboratory courses in comparative anatomy and introductory zoology. I was a taker in accepting fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.  I was a maker by working on several of Muller’s experiments and publishing smaller articles as I prepared my PhD dissertation.
      At Queen’s University I was a maker earning my first full time salary and paying taxes (to Canada) and became a taker when Christina was born and Canada gave a monthly subsidy for each child born because it was promoting population growth.  I was also a maker (for Canada’s economy) by securing grants from the National Research Council of Canada and from the US National Science Foundation and employed my first full time laboratory helper.  AT UCLA I was a maker as I eventually supervised six students who received PhDs in my laboratory and published my first book. I also had a full time laboratory helper paid from my grants.  I was a taker as I received generous grants from the National Science Foundation to support my research. I was also a maker because I paid for my mother’s stay at an assisted living facility for the psychotic and I was a maker because I paid for both my parents’ funerals neither of whom had any insurance.  I was a taker, by forcing my father to apply for his Social Security.  He did not want to receive any money he did not make by his own labor. I convinced him he paid for that Social Security since Roosevelt started it in the mid 1930s.  He had no health insurance so I paid his medical expenses.
     At Stony Brook University I became a maker as a professor doing research, teaching, writing books and articles, and serving as the founding Master of the Honor’s College.  I was a taker as I applied for sabbatical leaves and learned new fields and wrote new books. I was a taker as I asked for a leave of absence to spend a semester teaching on the SS Universe for Semester at Sea.  But I was a maker in teaching three courses and providing shipboard entertainment by writing a play my students put on.
I am now retired since 2001.  I am a maker in writing five books since retirement and serving as the historian for the local Unitarian-Universalist Church of Bloomington.  I am a taker as my Social Security supplements my retirement fund from TIAA-CREF. 

     Anyone who says he or she is a maker and not a taker, is a liar. You cannot survive as a human without being both. You were once a baby, weren't you? Tell me that is not a taker. 

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