"I've taught for twenty years and I never talk about my personal life in class.
"But I buried my best friend on Sunday and my mom's had two heart attacks this week. I didn't think it would bother too much, but it did.
"Ukranians came to North Dakota to be wheat farmers. I grew up a roughneck. I worked the night shift on oil rigs and went to college during the day.
"When the drill bit wore out, we had to pull up all the pipe to get to the bit. So I was 100 feet up on the platform, opening up the hole, pulling out 90 foot sections of pipe and stacking to them side. Then, putting the pipe back in, you had to throw the section in and latch up the hole, all in one smooth motion.
"One night, we had an engine malfunction, so I had to go down and fix that. When I came back up, I forget to reconnect my harness. I threw in a section of pipe and just kept going, leaping across and down 25 feet, 100 feet above the ground. I climbed around the outside the platform and went right back to work.
"One of the guys I worked with as nicknamed 'Ick.' He put rodents in his mouth. On the platform.
"Another guy got caught in a blowup. 80% burned. I visited him in the hospital, he was all bandaged up. He told me, 'It's ok, they're gonna replace everything in my locker.' I thought, dude, you're never gonna walk again. You're never gonna work again. You won't need steel-toed boots and gloves.
"So I went to college so I wouldn't have to work on oil rigs the rest of my life. We had to tear down and rebuild the rig every 7-10 days to drill a new hole. I was terrible at dying knots. They'd say, 'H put one of those college knots on it.' They made fun of me - I was the guy who went to school.
"I came back about ten years after I got my PhD and wound up in Greeley. I was in a bar, saw a guy I used to work with. 'How's that college thing workin' out?' He asked.
This is from my geopolitics teacher, a man who spent his summer flying around the world, making youtube videos for class. He's written three geopolitics books. He owns a house in France.
"Yeah, it works."