My brothers and I were trying to remember all the things New York City police officers have called us over the years: Yo, Buster, Bud, George, Freak Flag, Butthead, Meathead – that was my brother Kevin, “Hey Meathead!” This reminds me of a story. My brother Tommy once jumped over the balcony in a bar in New York and landed on a table. The idiot who was sitting at the table had said to a girl “Hopefully you and I…” and my brother Tommy jumps over and lands on his table and says, “Never f**ing begin a sentence with an adverb!” which sent us into hysterics.
-Why do you love telling stories?
Stories are food. Stories are everything. Stories are prayer. Stories are holy. Without substantive stories, people will sell you lies. Religions are stories, politics are stories, nations are stories, towns are stories, families are stories. That’s why Alzheimer’s is so cruel, because it sucks out all your stories. If you don’t have real stories, whether they’re silly or funny or brave or stories of unbelievable courage or defiant grace, then you’ll be sold nothing but murder and lies. So I’m a story catcher. That’s my job. And more and more as I get older, stories are where it’s at. Everything that we are is composed of stories.
I’ve worked with probably 30 or 40 thousand students over the years. They keep me in touch with what’s going on in the world. They tell me all about the new stuff, and I tell them about what a great place UP is. People are friendly and it has great academic programs and it’s a marvelous place to be… if it’s right for them. If it’s right for them – that’s the main issue.