Web Exclusives:

Inky Dinky Do

a PAW web exclusive column by Hugh O'Bleary

October 11, 2000:

Be all that I can be!
I'm trying, I'm trying, but in Princeton, it's pretty hard

Dear Diary,

Sometimes, while riding the train, I begin to think that I'm not making the most of my time (it usually happens just after I finish the Jumbo Word Search). I can't help feeling, as I ride back and forth day after day, that I'm not "being all I can be." Maybe it's time for a dose of self-improvement. I read somewhere, I forget where (or maybe it was on TV), that we only use 30% of our brains. Well, I resolve to use a lot more, starting now, and also to be more creative.

Hey, re-reading what I just wrote, I had an idea for a funny greeting card: a picture of a bumble bee looking in the mirror under the words "Bee all you can bee!" Ha ha! (That's creative.)

By the way, on the platform at the Junction I saw Freeman Dyson, the retired professor from the Institute for Advanced Study. He was just standing there looking really spacey. I wonder if he ever thinks up greeting cards?


21 July 2000

Dear Diary,

The life of the mind is sure invigorating! To bolster my intellectual capacity, I have put aside my beloved word searches in favor of something more rigorous...mathematics! I have been making "math mazes" for my daughter, who's in the fourth grade. I make up tough addition and subtraction problems that she has to solve to find her way through a jungle maze. Sometimes it takes me a whole train trip to New York to get all the equations to work out just right.


24 July 2000

Dear Diary,

We were at the pool yesterday and I realized that the pale, blond-haired man playing in the shallow end with his little girl was Andrew Wiles - the Princeton mathematician who solved that Fermat's Last Theorem thingie a few years ago. I jumped in and tried to talk to him about math mazes, but he looked pretty confused. He called the lifeguard.


30 August 2000

Dear Diary,

How long it has been since I have written to you! Alas, the muse has been holding me prisoner. I realized that I could never be satisfied by the sterile lock-step of mathematics. I was born to write! I have already penned the first 356 pages of my first novel. It is the first volume in a trilogy...


11 September 2000

Dear Diary,

Guess who was ahead of me at the gas station yesterday? Toni Morrison. That's right (or should I say "write?" Ha ha!), Toni Morrison, the Nobel prize-winning novelist who teaches at Princeton. While she was waiting for her car to be filled, I got out my manuscript to share with her. I tried to give it to her while asking a question about character development, but she just asked me to check the oil. (It was down a quart.) Then she drove off real fast for such a lyrical stylist.


24 September 2000

Dear Diary,

What a fool I have been. Improving oneself for vain reasons is not what's important in this world. What matters is caring for others and reasoning out the complex and often troubling questions of moral responsibility and individual freedom in an ever-changing world. I have been thinking a lot about this and jotting down some thoughts. I mean, is it right that cats can run free, but that dogs must be on leash? And what about Survivor? Should Richard really have prospered at the others' expense?


30 September 2000

Dear Diary,

Philosophy is very complicated. On the way to the Dinky I saw Peter Singer, the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, walking across campus. I engaged him in a discussion of some of the matters I have been pondering. He punched me.

Gee, I don't know, Diary, living around Princeton is tough; maybe I should just stick with word searches after all...


Hugh O'Bleary commutes to New York City from Princeton. He revels in his daily sojourn across campus to catch the Dinky. You can reach Hugh O'Bleary by writing him c/o paw@princeton.edu