Thursday, April 26, 2007

Further adventures of Dick Cory, retired teacher


Dick Cory tries to offer solutions to the problems ailing modern society.

Take cell phone addiction.

"Constraint induced movement therapy shows promise," he writes. "Tie down the arm that holds the phone, take out the batteries, or duct tape over the receiver. & Producing phones that limit conversations to less than three minutes before going silent for 15 or that give electrical shocks would provide limits. & I can think of more, but you will have to excuse me, someone is calling on the other line."

Cory wrote about growing up in Nebraska in "Six Boys and a Bag of Dirt" and now he reflects on the adult world in "After the Dust Has Settled." Both books are self-published paperbacks and sell for $20 each. Copies can be obtained by writing the author at ubangarang or at Cory's book signing from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at ABC Bookstore, 868 East Ave. in Chico.

In its 70 not-always-politically-correct chapters, "Dust" provides a rich mix of humorous recollections, social commentary and glimpses into the author's sometimes painful personal life. In 1980, his wife of nearly two decades asked for a divorce. "She had found another man," he writes, "and wanted a new life. & Today, I admire her courage to break the pattern. At the time, I felt abandoned, jealous of the intruder, angry, hurt and worried about my new responsibilities."

Time passed, and both Cory and his former wife "found others with whom to share our love. I now understand her frustrations. I'm very proud of our sons and their families. I am also proud of their mother & and the faith she kept for nine years in the battle with cancer, which she lost March 22, 2005."

Cory was single for some five years after his divorce. He writes that "at one time I was trying to 'play the field' with three women concurrently," which left him exhausted. "Good for the ego, but not the healthiest for someone in his mid-40s!" Something had to change. Celebrating after a city league baseball game (20 years ago now) he was pulled over by an officer for "reckless wet." "I survived the night in the tank, bruised pride and all, took the ribbing from my teammates, and the loss of our first game. Somehow everyone forgave me, and Jan and I are still together." Cory, a Democrat, and Jan, a Republican, have been married for 20 years.

Cory writes about politics, his "progressive puzzle" invention, skinning a skunk (on five beers), and kerf (the "lost measure of wood or other material due to the thickness of the cutting blade").

"Dust" begins in somber tones with reflections on 9/11. "Chaos seems to reign supreme in the universe, so maybe we should expect it to be common on Earth."

The last chapter is more personal, as Cory writes about meeting some of his former students (after 36 years of teaching science and math there are a lot). "I appreciate them recognizing me in retirement. It is a validation of life that each of us needs. In fact, I think it is the greatest perk of an educator."

In between, Jan contributes a short essay on winning the KGO Radio cookie contest one year. Thinking about her lucky day, she writes that she then bought a $5 lottery ticket and got back $53. In a world of chaos, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. To submit review copies of published books, please send e-mail to Copyright 2007 Chico Enterprise-Record. Used by permission.
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