September 7, 2020:

Why am I in the Model U.N.?

Pulled in by a student who influenced me. A fellow from the wargamer crowd, one of my nonoverlapping circles. He sold it as a form of role-play, a simulation, with people instead of pieces on a board.

I'm disappointed. Firstly it's a school activity and as any other school activity it's far less than its potential. Far less. I think of it as an opportunity to explore alternative solutions. What happens if Israel surrenders the occupied territories? Chaos at the Model U.N., is what. I want to call time out, to give a meta speech about the rules of the simulation. If you're required to stick exactly to published policies, why not submit a book report and go home? There's no need then for the play-acting. But there's no upside to that. It's an early exposure to the rigidity of rules, and the ubiquity of conditioned opinions. The "Syrians" are in the hallway talking of opening artillery fire on Qiryat Shemona. Seriously dudes? No upside at all.

There is, though. The faculty advisor stands out for his kindness and his interest in the students. His name is Gladden Boaz and he's the first teacher since La Mesa to ask me about myself in a more than cursory way. Naturally I'm not interested in sharing truths with teachers but I remember him getting me to open up about Dostoevsky, and I think by then the legend of my knocking the quarterback on his ass has made the rounds. He stands out for making the effort. From nearly fifty years on I thank him sincerely for that.