Saturday, September 18, 2010

Genius Transportation Service

So I've got this new idea for a business. Basically, I'll be like a cabbie or limo driver, but I'll exclusively drive the leading public thinkers of our day for distances of at least 200 miles round-trip. I know, I know it sounds crazy, but this is legit. You see, I got the idea when I was driving Prof. Stephen L. Carter to and from DFW airport yesterday. How was the experience, you ask? Simply put, INSANELY AWESOME.

Unlike some other brilliant people I have met, Prof. Carter is approachable, engaging, and a true educator. Everything Prof. Osler said and more. He and I talked about a host of subjects, everything from the dwindling Texas water supply to football to fiction writing to the future of the Episcopal Church. Prof. Carter had many insightful things to say about these issues, the pressing and the mundane, but he was also genuinely interested in my thoughts. I've always thought that one of the marks of a true thinker is that they derive more joy from conversation than they do from pontificating. For all that his knowledge and understanding surpassed mine on any number of subjects, Prof. Carter invited me propose theories, state my views, and challenge a few of his. Many of his sentences began with, "So do you think..." At Judge Starr's inauguration yesterday, Prof. Carter spoke of the need for civility and mutual respect in American public discourse. After spending time with him, I can tell that this is not some idea he dreamed up to bash talking heads and sell books. To me he seems to have a heartfelt conviction that we all need to do some deep thinking, and--even more importantly--deep listening.

Gushing aside, I'm honored to have met the man, and proud to be among his academic descendants (through the Osler line). Please excuse me now, I need to go buy every book he's ever published.