The Advisor

I’m eighty-five years old, and I don’t claim I’ve seen it all. I still have an advisor, through religion, but I know better than to say all religions are the same. The advisor comes to me through the Hebrew tradition, ending in Christianity. That religion has influenced the civilization I live in more than all the religions of the world.

The need for an advisor is illustrated by this story from my son, Paul. He and his friends had taken to cutting open some firecrackers and emptying the contents into an unused lipstick cover. Now Paul liked to go big. So one day I met him coming up from the basement with a short piece of plumbing in his hand. “What’s that for?” I asked.

“Oh, we’re using it for firecrackers.”

“Is that right?” I was used to dealing with boys. It turned out he had emptied the contents of about fifty firecrackers into that piece of pipe and sealed both ends, with a piece of string for a fuse. “That’s a pipe bomb,” I told him, taking it safely into my own hands. “I’m going to advise you to do nothing with that but scatter the parts separately in the garbage can.” I will say this for Paul: he did as I advised. He became more helpfully creative later when he found a job as a librarian at NY Tech, and earned a Master’s Degree.

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