BY BUCK QUAYLE
Rising Cream Sours
If it weren't for his appearance, Dr. Laurence J. Peter, author of the book The Peter Principle, might be considered "right" on. Sorry, "right on".
Peter, Professor of Education at the University of Southern California, contends that many man-created blunders result from the hierarchical nature of society where men are promoted to their "level of incompetence".
Competence at one level is eligibility for promotion to the next, says Peter. Or, to put it another way, "the cream rises until it sours".
But his appearance was against him as he stood before some 90 of Maui's highest "incompents" to give a lecture at Baldwin High School last week.
He stood behind the lecture podium, but even so couldn't conceal the fact he was wearing a slick Madison Avenue suit, had recently had a haircut and shave, wore executive-style glasses, and carried a black leather briefcase.
"Sometimes I have a glimpse of myself in the mirror," he said, "and started to laugh before I realised who it was."
With a right to the establishment and a left to the funny-bone, Peter out-boxed the house-broken politicos, the bureaucrats, the school system and the military.
Examples of their incompetence fell like rain on Kauai.
He recalled a "teacher so dull she talked in my sleep. A person so nothing she lights up the room by leaving." He called a college diploma "a certificate of incompetance" and the tenure system "pure idiocy".
He cited a U.S. Army Intelligence Corps form in which a job applicant was asked, "Have you or any member of your family ever committed suicide?
The list continued....and continued.
And what was Peter's answer to such predicaments?
"Do your own thing."
Buck Quayle at the Maui Lahaina Sun bureau circa 1970
Reporter/Photographer Buck Quayle in 1971 in Maui with the Cartagenian in the background
Another Day At The Office Haleakala National Park