Posts Tagged ‘A Pecan ParkEagle Editorial’

About The Pecan Park Eagle

February 13, 2015
There's a reason that nuts ever survived for long in Pecan Park. :-)

There’s a reason that nuts never survived for long in Pecan Park. 🙂


Human Rockets and Comets – And What These Models Have To Do With The Pecan Park Eagle

Fifty years ago, when I was a young pup working as a member of the clinical faculty at Tulane Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, and on my way to a half century (still mildly perking) trip down the road of happy destiny as a psychotherapist in private practice, I was fortunate to have had a mentor who told all us newbie clinicians back then something that made the ride for me a lot more enjoyable. – Thank you, Dr. Don Gallant, wherever you now may be, if at all.

Dr. Gallant shared this little gem with us: “If you want to be happy and enjoy your work with serious problems of human behavior, the sooner you learn how to beat ‘Rule of Thirds’, the better . If you do not see it coming, believe me, the ‘rule of thirds’ will either eat you alive or drive you out of the starting lineup very quickly.”

The Rule of Thirds, as it applies to the general population of all people seeking some kind of psychological help, according to Dr. Gallant, may be expressed this simply: It’s a bell curve pattern. One-third get better; one-third appear to stay the same; and one-third get worse.

But here’s the tricky part. – Real life quickly interferes with all bell curve results. Some people have a lot of advantages that help them get better. Some people remain committed to a middle ground that resists all change in any direction. And other people are playing life with a stacked deck against them that makes getting worse almost an autopilot move.

Other factors effecting the directional flow toward getting better or worse for people in counseling are many and varied. Genetics, intelligence, family patterns, biochemical issues, general health, cultural factors, economic issues, and education all enter into the directional outcome of any kind of therapy.

Dr. Gallant put it to us Tulane mental health novices of 1964 very simply: “Most of you will be leaving here to go into private practice. If you learn nothing else along the way about the “Rule of Thirds,” learn this much: If you want to enjoy working in your chosen profession, build your practice around a core of people who already are on their way to getting better when they meet you – and not upon a landslide of people who are trying like crazy to reach the cemetery and take you with them!”

My mentor’s words became my mantra for it’s capacity to describe who I wanted to include in my life in general. I wanted to be around people who wanted to soar – not people who were hellbent on going down and taking everyone else they met with them. I came to think of these two groups as Rockets and Comets long before we had two basketball clubs in Houston by those same names.

In my practice, the Rockets were all those people from all walks of life and circumstance who were already bursting to soar when we met. They just needed help finding or giving themselves permission to push their own starter buttons. – Comets were those patients and clients who came hurdling at me in fast and furious descent, yelling “catch me” all the way. Like in the old cartoons, anytime I tried, I got to become part of the hole in the ground made by their descent to Mother Earth.

The really fun part of my work for me has come from reaching some of those people apparently stuck in neutral and being a factor in helping them to choose joining the Rockets before it was too late. – Whenever that happens, that behavioral choice comes from their growing ability to see that doing nothing over time to change the things they could change was not really neutral. It was really a slow to slippery slope slide into the eventual fate of all Comets. They saw it. – Things would get worse, if they did not take charge of what they could do.

Now, here’s the fastball that follows the long wind-up:

Over the years, this simple idea of rockets and comets has grown like the favorite flower of my life garden. It is central in my marriage and family life, my spiritual pursuits, my research and writing, my membership in SABR, my close friendships, and my love for baseball, literature, music, history, Houston, humor, and this little fun activity I started and will keep doing for as long as I am able called – The Pecan Park Eagle.


About The Pecan Park Eagle

The Pecan Park Eagle moved here to Word Press in 2009 from Chron.Com in 2009. In those six years, we have produced 1,827 columns, mostly by yours truly, but also some by that wonderful baseball analyst Bill Gilbert of SABR and a few other one-timers. Although I am really no bean-counter, it’s fairly easy to surmise that most of these columns have been baseball related, with quite a few “history light” articles about Houston of the past, football, human relations, satire, and parody thrown into boot.

In case you are wondering, our definition of “history light” is anything that is committed to publication without citation to a credible source. In that regard, feel free to take everything I’ve written in the first section of this article as “psychology light” in the sense that, I am only speaking from a half century of personal professional experience and not taking the time to cite what some of the great minds in my field think about what I’ve just written.

But that’s the point too. We don’t take ourselves that seriously here. We do not get everything right the first time – but we are totally committed to getting our subject “right” in time -or else, admitting – we just don’t know.

We encourage our readers to participate by comment each day and, so far, 5,967 comments have been posted on our columns in the past six years through 2/12/15. The result has been the development of a great atmosphere for discussion based on mutual respect for each other’s rights to think differently. And that’s the way we plan to keep things.

Yesterday I noticed that a couple of readers posting on the “Mystery Pitcher” column got into a little “tit-for-tat” that concerned me because it stopped short of name-calling, but the discussion did not seem to be on the road to mutual resolution or respect. – And that’s OK, too, if that is what either of you are into or about – but just don’t do it here. We neither need it nor want it at The Pecan Park Eagle. You both are equally entitled to think what you want – and to speculate all you want about any apparent clues to the Mystery Pitcher’s true identity. Neither of you has to get the other’s permission to say what you think, nor ours, for that matter. Just don’t do it here if it’s more about mud-wrestling with words and innuendo than serving any useful purpose. The Internet is filled with whole universes of Comet poster sites where those who  enjoy being right about everything may go to try and disturb tbe minds of others with their diatribes.

Please try to keep it friendly and fun. Neither of those conditions are lightweight in our pursuit of greater truths. They are essentials.

As editor, I have no interest in hearing about the details of yesterday’s reader exchange beyond what may be gathered from what I’ve already expressed here. I’m not about helping people decide who is right and who is wrong – and, at age 77 – and after a half century of refusing to play that game with people in my office, I really have no interest in suddenly doing it here. – Life is about taking responsibility for our own behavior. – Rockets understand that fact.

Be a Rocket – not a Comet. And try to keep your sense of humor and perspective in there with you about what we are doing at this site. If it isn’t fun, it’s not worth the run.

If you want to be around people who make history sound as interesting as watching house paint dry, there are plenty of self-important people and sites out there that will be glad to help you – but this isn’t one of them.

Thank you. – All of you! And Love, Appreciate, and Share Your Life with Others in Good Spirit! – One Day at a Time!


Bill McCurdy, Publisher and Editor

The Pecan Park Eagle