'Average' on Paper, but Successful in Life

I appreciated the Opinion page column "It's What You Do With What You Know" (March 13). For many years I have been explaining my career to well-educated friends: It seems as though I wasn't supposed to succeed because I never earned a big degree at a big university. I graduated from high school an average student, took college entrance exams and scored ... you guessed it, average.

Yet I have managed to succeed because I have built a career based on choosing employment opportunities well and "keeping my nose clean." I've gained much of my industry knowledge by listening to educated colleagues who are more than willing to share their ideas.

My parents exposed me to travel, arts, manners, and many other experiences not listed in college schedules. I feel my life was enriched by their teaching me that there are many opportunities and occupations that offer satisfaction in more ways than monetary compensation.

Today I work in a highly technical field shoulder-to-shoulder with people from many different educational institutions around the world. I believe my work experience offers them a contrast to their book learning and lab results. Together we are successful.

Louise Leck

Fremont, Calif.

Founding Fathers knew best

The Opinion-page article "Anachrosaurus Rex: Minority-Rule Senate" (March 16) suggests that far too often our government is held hostage to the whims of a minority of US senators. It is true that the Founding Fathers had little respect for the abilities of the common man (literally, there was no female vote) to decide his own fate. They were not entirely wrong in that assessment, no matter how undemocratic such a concept might seem.

As a body with too much power, sometimes too removed from the realities of the society it is required to serve, the Senate is certainly in need of reform. But it is foolish to suggest the Senate has outlived its usefulness as currently constituted. The ultimate goal of the Founding Fathers was to create a system of checks and balances that would ensure that no part of the government would be stronger than any other. The people themselves are a part of our government, and sometimes they are wrong. The Senate exists in one sense as a check on the Achilles heel of a democracy - an occasionally ignorant electorate.

A far more useful thing for reformers to act on is changing the behavior of those who sit in the Senate. The current crop of US senators, along with their fellow representatives, seem to have lost the age-old democratic ability of compromise. All that is required to solve the problem is a participatory American electorate voting out incumbents with regularity. Well, maybe a constitutional amendment would be easier after all.

Peter H. Gantz

Alpharetta, Ga.

Bees do more than make honey

"In Colorado, Beekeepers Are Stung by Nation's Honeybee Losses" (March 10) was quite informative, but I wish to clarify some of the important functions of honeybees in raising vegetable crops.

Bee pollination is required to produce many of the vegetables and fruits that we consume - e.g., cucumbers, cantaloupes, squash, and watermelons. However, pollination by bees or other insects is not required to produce carrots or onions, as mentioned in the article. Carrot and onion seeds contain the genetic instructions to produce these crops without intervention by bees. Bees do, however, play a crucial role in the seed production of many vegetables, pollinating the seed crops of plants such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and radish.

Ed Merrell

Gilroy, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to "Readers Write," and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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