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A record holder

MOST everyone would like to be remembered for something. Not very many can hope to set a new high-jump record, run a record mile, or land on the moon. This means that a lot of people must strive for less important achievements. To fulfill this need there was one undistinguished chap I knew in school who ate 32 pancakes at one sitting. As it turned out, this was no world's record, but it made him famous within the school's boundaries. Unfortunately there was a side effect to this. He never looked at another pancake in his whole life.

From time to time in the news, some unfulfilled chef cooks up a mile-long sausage to get on TV. Sausages do not gain any more flavor when cooked by the mile, and it certainly doesn't make them any easier to eat. Does one still buy them by the pound or by the tenth of a mile?

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People try to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by endlessly jumping rope, or being part of a team that squeezes into a phone booth. An acquaintance of mine even got the idea he could beat the world's record of holding one's breath under water and had to be revived after six unsuccessful attempts.

The most recent effort for fame coming to my attention was a news item about Michael Tora balancing 106 cigar boxes on his chin. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this was an event entered in worldwide competition. Evidently it is because Mr. Tora broke the previous world record of 90 cigar boxes, held by someone in Michigan.

I remember a high school art teacher who, I am sure, hoped for some wide acclaim for her art. She never achieved recognition. I will never forget her, because she inspired and encouraged me to draw; even to cartoon. She never despaired of my erratic, emerging talent.

Helen Wood is a prime record holder in my heart, and I think she achieved more in her long years of giving of herself to young people trying to find their way than does one balancing 106 cigar boxes on his chin or cooking a mile-long sausage. She didn't get in the Book of Records. It is too bad that achievement is not always obvious.

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