“Lincoln, Right?”

At dinner last night, my 19-year-old son and I talked about whether some of his upcoming  training could earn him  college credit.

I didn’t have an answer to his question, but of course I recalled a public service ad from my early childhood.

In the spot, Abraham Lincoln enters a modern-day employment office and describes his education which consists primarily of self-study. He is told by the employment counselor that his knowledge and experience didn’t matter without a diploma:

Of course, thinking about the PSA video caused my mind to leap to another period in my life.

Nearly 30 years after I’d last seen, or thought about, the “Lincoln” ad, I worked in a Chicago ad agency.

One afternoon, a creative director (who was roughly the same age as me) peeked in my office when I was on the phone. I motioned for him to come in and sit down.

He sat at a guest chair, holding box that spanned about 1/2 his lap. The box rose to a height just below his rib cage. He fiddled with the sides of the box while he waited for me to finish my call.

I wrapped up my call and first thing he said was “I’ve done a lot of reading and studying. Sort of on my own.”

I could not stop laughing. 

After a few rounds, things went “meta” and I began laughing ABOUT my laughing. There was a moment I wasn’t sure if  I would catch my breath.

When I did eventually regain  control of my respiratory function, I thought about my brush with asphyxiation and  envisioned a  coroner’s report:  “Cause of Death: Mirth.”

It would have been a helluva way to go.

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