Hello, again

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - OPINION - DEVIN HOUS­TON — Devin Hous­ton is the pres­i­dent/CEO of Hous­ton En­zymes and the son of for­mer Her­ald-Leader colum­nist Louis Hous­ton, who died in April 2017. Send com­ments or ques­tions to devin.hous­ton@ gmail.com. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the auth

At the urg­ing of many in our fair town (OK, two per­sons, but still…) I’ve de­cided to take a crack at writ­ing again. Some of you may miss my fa­ther’s col­umn. I can tell you right now that my writ­ing will most likely cause you to miss his even more. But that’s all right. I am my fa­ther’s son, but I am not my fa­ther and can­not fill the space he left in life or in this jour­nal.

And that is how it should be. Writ­ing should be unique to and rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the writer. My ex­pe­ri­ences and per­spec­tive are dif­fer­ent from those of my fa­ther so the sto­ries will be dif­fer­ent. But I can give you clues as to what to ex­pect when read­ing my drivel.

I am a sci­en­tist by ed­u­ca­tion and trade. I am ter­mi­nally ed­u­cated mean­ing that I have a doc­toral de­gree in bio­chem­istry, not a fa­tal dis­ease. This may place me in the cat­e­gory of an “in­tel­lec­tual elite,” but those who know me well can vouch that I am nei­ther an in­tel­lec­tual nor elite. I knew at a very early age that I would be in­volved in the sciences in some man­ner. I love dis­cov­ery. Un­tan­gling the mean­ing in books, won­der­ing how a clock works, or what hap­pens when you com­bine grape­fruit juice with your brother’s glass of milk were some of the driv­ers in my child­hood. I also learned con­se­quences from dis­cov­ery, such as hav­ing to drink said grape­fruit con­coc­tion as pun­ish­ment. But those con­tribut­ing to the stores of knowl­edge of­ten en­dure per­se­cu­tion, hence I suf­fered gladly.

Sci­en­tists are ac­tu­ally quite funny peo­ple and many amus­ing in­ci­dents oc­cur in the lab­o­ra­tory. The com­bi­na­tion of cu­rios­ity, avail­abil­ity of lab rats, var­i­ous toxic chem­i­cals and high quan­ti­ties of caf­feine of­ten re­sults in high jinks and hi­lar­ity plus oc­ca­sional dis­ci­plinary mea­sures from de­part­ment heads.

I en­joy ar­gu­ing for the sake of ar­gu­ment. I will at times take a po­si­tion that I don’t per­son­ally hold in an at­tempt to see the other side of the ar­gu­ment. Do not put me in a box. Pre­dictabil­ity is bor­ing. So if I write some­thing that ap­pears ex­treme or not part of this com­mu­nity’s stan­dards it is only be­cause I be­lieve in stretch­ing one’s self in an at­tempt to un­der­stand an­other’s view­point. Keep that in mind be­fore send­ing the scathing email or fire­bomb­ing my house. I write to cause think­ing. If you want only that in­for­ma­tion with which you agree then look else­where and be as­sured, you have my sym­pa­thies for your one di­men­sional life.

As I am not yet re­tired, writ­ing may take a back seat to mak­ing a liv­ing. I will strive to pro­vide ma­te­rial but the well may run dry at times. Do not de­spair or cel­e­brate if my col­umn is ab­sent, it will even­tu­ally re­turn. I refuse to write just to take up space on a page. “Qual­ity over quan­tity,” I al­ways say. The qual­ity part may be de­bat­able, though.

So, “Hello, good to see you again!”

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