I have to say, rereading it now, it's actually pretty good. I present the facts in a goofy fashion and had fun with the topic and the man the town is named after. Naturally, I was disappointed it wasn't used, more so because there was absolutely nowhere else to send it. That was the thing with PHC, you wanted to write in its voice but that made it harder to submit rejected material elsewhere. It was something I always did with the more neutral or generic comedy sketches, but these type of things were dead in the water. Well, here it is for the first time anywhere; a celebration of Kettering, Ohio on its 50th anniversary:
By 1841 the population had grown to the point where the township of Van Buren was created. Van Buren, of course, was the name of the man who used to tip over Old Man Patterson's outhouse.
In November of 1952, the voters of Van Buren Township approved the incorporation of the Village of Kettering; named for its most outstanding citizen, Charles F. Kettering. Kettering had nothing to do with John Patterson, so everyone was happy.
In 1955 a special census showed that the population had reached 38,118, which qualified it for city status. Yes, indeed, no more of that village stuff for Kettering. It also meant the village idiot had to re-apply to become a city idiot.
It was proclaimed a city on June 24 1955 and, well, from there you know the rest.
And now we find ourselves in the midst of Kettering's 50th anniversary. Part of the celebration is the "Start Your Engines" display throughout the city. Other cities have done this in summers past. New York city and Chicago both had their "Cows on parade" public art displays. Cincinnati had its flying pigs. Baltimore, fish. Toledo, frogs. So Kettering has opted to go with car sculptures, again in honor of Charles F. Kettering.
Who is this Charles F. Kettering? This, coincidently, leads us into this week's episode of "Charles Kettering, Remarkable Guy."
Charles Franklin Kettering, or "Boss Kett" as he was often called, was born on a farm near Loudenville, Ohio on August 29, 1876. As a high school graduate, he became a school teacher, in a one room rural school. He was a good teacher, but had his heart set on attending college. That was not to come easily. He battled failing eyesight which forced him to drop out of school several times. He was finally able to complete his electrical engineer degree in 1904.
Afterward, he took a job at the NCR, the National Cash Register Company, in their inventions department. I like the sound of that, the Inventions Department. Just puts you in mind of the nutty professor, hard at work. Anyway, at NCR, Kettering developed an electric motor for cash registers, replacing the cumbersome steam-powered cash register, which was noisy and made the money damp. Shopping became a much more pleasurable pastime.
In 1909, Kettering and an associate formed their own industrial research laboratory, the Dayton Engineering Laboratory Company, now known as Delco. Within in three years they produced an all electric starting, ignition and lighting system for automobiles. No more cranking up the family car for road trips, no more need for specially-trained chauffeurs to help women get around. This electric starter made it possible for anyone to get behind the wheel of a car and drive, and we all know how that turned out. It replaced the cumbersome steam-powered lighting systems in most cars, which eliminated internal windshield fogging.
Charles Kettering holds more than 200 patents. He forever remained interested in education, often saying:
TK: Knowing is not understanding. There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.
GK: Indeed. He was an innovator who stated:
TK: The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.
GK: And he wanted people to join him:
TK: My definition of an educated man is the fellow who knows the right thing to do at the time it has to be done. You can be sincere and still be stupid.
GK: He was forward looking:
TK: My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.
GK: He once said:
TK: You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere, just make sure you wear good, heavy shoes. Maybe some of those steel-toe jobs.
GK: You said that?
TK: Yes, I did.
GK: Okay, then. Anyway, he also said:
TK: The only difference between a problem and a solution is that people understand the solution. And the difference between a soldier and a baby is a soldier loads his gun but a baby loads his diaper.
GK: Are you sure you said that?
TK: All the time.
GK: If you say so. Once, when meeting a young boy in the hospital he said:
TK: I'll make a deal with you. If you get better, I'll hit a homerun for you. Can you do that for me, Billy?
GK: I don't think you said that.
TK: Where you there?
GK: Fine, fine. He believed in the power of education and noted:
TK: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
GK: Neil Armstrong said that.
TK: He got it from me.
GK: But I believe one of my favorite quotes is this:
TK: If you want to kill any idea, get a committee working on it.
SS: Excuse me.
SS: The committee did have a meeting on that quote and we reworked it a bit.
GK: Oh, really. What does it say now?
SS: "Don't rock the boat."
GK: Thanks. That's all we have time for tonight. Join us next time on "Charles Kettering, Remarkable Guy" as we hear a neighbor ask Charles:
SS: Hey, Kett, Do you think you can come up with something better than this steam-powered doorbell?