Thanks, Jeffxs!

Last October, “06880” published the uplifting story of Brian Hershey.  The Staples junior won an international contest sponsored by Polar Bears International, aimed at educating teenagers about climate change.

Brian Hershey, proudly wearing his Polar Bears International fleece. Hong Kong this summer will be much warmer.

After writing an essay and undergoing interviews, Brian traveled to the Arctic Circle.  He and 17 other bright, committed students from around the globe met with scientists, studied polar bears, and tried to figure out how to stop our planet from falling apart.

Brian returned to Westport excited and inspired to do what he can to help change the world.

The post drew 98 comments.  This being “06880,” not all were positive.  Several readers hammered Brian for — among other things — his love of travel, and his belief that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between manmade gases and global warming.

A reader who nicknamed himself “Jeffxs” was particularly vocal.  He said that Brian was “pitching his ideas,” and — as an aside — decried the Board of Education’s elimination of science courses in favor of “mural painting.”

Brian responded to his critics with grace and poise.  He countered their blasts with reasoned arguments, facts, logic — and far more restraint than adults 2 and 3 times his age showed.

So it was with particular joy that I read an email the other day from Brian.  He wrote:

When that blog post was published on Facebook, a friend of my family’s from when we used to live in Hong Kong read it.  He is an executive at a PR firm based in East Asia whose specialty is “crisis management.”

Apparently he liked what he saw!  He sent me a friendly email saying he saw a great PR agent in me, and that he liked the way I “managed the crisis.”  He ended his email with, “I’d love to have you as an intern!  Your choice of Hong Kong, Syndney, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore,or Kuala Lumpur!”

When I read this I was shaking in my seat at the idea of being able to go back to that part of the world.  I have been dying to go back to Asia ever since I lived in Tokyo this past summer as an exchange student.  I couldn’t believe the offer was real.

It was confirmed today.  For the month of July I will live in an apartment in Hong Kong, and work as an intern for this guy at his office.

It’s the experience of a lifetime!  And none of it would have been possible without your blog post, and Jeffsx and others’ criticisms!  That’s fate!

Actually, it’s a great credit to Brian, and his maturity and wisdom.

As for Jeffxs:  Please send me your address (email or snail).  I’ll pass it along to Brian.

I’m sure he’d like to thank you himself, just as soon as he gets settled in Hong Kong.

73 responses to “Thanks, Jeffxs!

  1. John McCarthy

    Most excellent.

  2. Good things eventually come to good people. It couldn’t happen to a nicer young man.

  3. So, man made global warming is largely a PR issue and the Wesport BOE has eliminated science cources to make room for mural painted. Got it. Thanks Dan. BTW aren’t you and employee of the BOE?

    • I am the boys soccer coach and yearbook advisor, correct. And you are…?

    • A taxpayer.

      • Me too.

      • Yes, but you get a rebate, most of the rest of us do not, and unless your total tax bill is greater than your remuneration from the BOE, you pay no taxes.

        • Not a rebate. It’s called a “salary.” It’s for services rendered. And, if you work it out on an hourly basis, it’s so far beyond minimum wage it’s laughable.

        • You can call it want you wish, but is a receipt of tax dollars, and you are welcome.

        • That has to be about the most convoluted logic I have ever witnessed. By your rationale, money earned by members of the police force, firefighters, teachers, and others in the public sector is not income but, instead, a “rebate”? But, if you earn money in the private sector, it does qualify as “income”? If Phil Rizzuto were here, he would undoubtedly say: “Holy cow!”

          It’s ironic that you are claiming public sector employees don’t really pay taxes because, unlike some in the private sector, they actually are reporting the entire amount they earn from their jobs and are being taxed on that amount. Can you say the same?

          • 100 cents on every dollar paid to public sector employees represents a receipt of tax dollars. If they pay back a percentage of that 100 cents, what remains is still a receipt of tax dollars. This is not convoluted it is simple accounting. As to the behavior of those in the privae sector; interesting but irrelevant to the isue at hand. Nice try at the old two step though.

  4. Brain can work for my team any day!
    We are the best at spinning the Man-Made Global Warming Myth.

  5. The snide comments from Anonymous (and there are too many pseudonyms on this site, I think) just reinforce what maturity it took for Brian not to get down to the level of Anonymous, JeffXS and others when replying to the comments made to Dan’s article on him. Congratulations on the intern job offer, Brian, (they are lucky to get you) and I’m proud of the students who come out of Staples. Keep your optimism about helping our planet.

    • Dan’s assertions to the contrary not withstanding, I did not attack Brian. You can look back and see that others concur in my opinion. Unfortunately, some people do not have the ability to understand the difference between a criticism of an argument they have advanced and a criticism of them as individuals. The level of the emotionalism in the response to the criticism of an argument tends to be inversely proportional to the weight and coherence of the argument being advanced.

      • The Dude Abides

        Yeah, and the frequency of your posts are directly proportional to your anonymity on this site. Isn’t that correct Michael Petrino?

  6. The Dude Abides

    Kudos to Brian!! Wrecker pride!! For over 9 months, I have continued a written blog discourse with the man they call Jeffxs. We agree on very little but I have certainly learned from him. And I can vouch for the fact that he did not attack Master Hershey directly in the original discussion. In return for his opinion, one commentator published his name and address with an open invitation for retaliation. So, for those self-rightous individuals who condemn dissent based on principle and gee-golly polyannish mentalities, I suggest they take a history lessson on the beginnings of this country. The best to Brian and his future endeavors. The story should be about him and his success rather than his motivation against a critic.

  7. Richard Lawrence Stein

    If Dan’s “rebate” I mean pay were measured like so many other successful coaches, ceo’s, heads of hedge funds, or any other measurable position he is sadly so underpayed that why he would even bother is beyond your illogical thought process. I have no idea of what you do Anonymous, and I really don’t want to know, but as a friend and volunteer coach….that means I donate my time…. Dan could not be a greater ambassador of Soccer, Westport, Staples, and Sportsmanship. Sad how you cast stones behind your moniker…which is totally your choice, but that is cowardly and disrespectful to the man who actually lets you do it on his blog site.

    • Where did I question the fairness or adequacy of Dan’s pay? Dan was the only one who brought up those issues not I. For all you and Dan know, I could hold the opinion that Dan should be paid more for the work he does. Why do you assume otherwise?

    • The Dude Abides

      Mr.Stein: I wish many CEO’s, hedge fund managers and “measurable positions (huh?)” were actually paid according to their success. We might then find some equitable equation between such and employee pay. I am not sure what Professor Woog’s success on the soccer field has to do with his pay? He is a teacher of men. He is very good at it. Enough with the Westport win-loss record mentality. Annoymous is hardly a coward for stating his opinion. Why don’t you have a discussion instead of branding and labeling??

      • Dude–Just curious, do you in any way agree with Anonymous’ argument, which is not (despite his contention) simple accounting, that a public sector employee does not really pay taxes but, instead, is receiving a rebate from the government?

        • Please do not misrepresent my argument. If Dan pays taxes on income from other sources or real estate, then his income from the BOE, a receipt of tax monies, is a rebate. If he pays no taxes on outside sources of income or real estate, then his entire income from the BOE is still a receipt of tax dollars, but the “rebate” aspect of the transaction is not relevant. This is true of any public employee. The core of this argument is still a simple matter of accounting.

          • Anonymous–I have not misrepresented your argument and, if you want to try to change it because you realize how seriously flawed it is, be my guest. You stated, in relevant part: “…you get a rebate, most of the rest of us do not, and unless your total tax bill is greater than your remuneration from the BOE, you pay no taxes. ”

            And you wrote this in response to Dan’s remark that he is a taxpayer.

            So, Mr./Ms. Anonymous (and this is for the Dude as well): By your standards and definition, is a police officer or a teacher a taxpayer? From your perspective does a police officer or teacher pay taxes?

          • I have not changed my argument. It is, once again, a simple matter of accounting. Any and all monies paid to all public employees represent a receipt of taxes, no matter the job title.

          • I suggest it is a matter of definition, not accounting:
            “A tax rebate is a refund on taxes when the tax liability is less than the taxes paid.” When the Town receives the funds, it is TAXES IN; when the Town pays it to employees or subcontractors, it is EXPENSES OUT; and when Dan gets a 1099 or W-2 from his employer, it’s INCOME IN, not a tax rebate or refund. Think FOOD IN… it ceases to be called food on the way OUT 🙂 no rebates or refunds.
            Go to Hong Kong, Brian… good food.

          • Where did I say that “…everyone jumps at the opportunity to make more money”? And I did answer your question. “Any and all monies paid to all public employees represent a receipt of taxes, no matter the job title.” So, if they are in receipt of tax dollars then, unless they pax taxes on other actvities outside of the public sector, they are not taxpayers. This is not a normative statement.

        • The Dude Abides

          Is that important? No, I don’t. I was a federal attorney for many years and earned every bloody cent regardless of whether such a salary came from tax revenue indirectly or not. But I shall go to the grave defending Mr. Anonyomous’ right to say what he believes without being called names or “headlined” as an instigator. Brian learned a lot from Jeffxs. Perhaps we should as well.

          • Anonymous III

            Dude: I agree with you that anonymous has the right to say what he believes, I just don’t agree with his tone. And I think a lot of the “name-calling” to which you refer is partly a reaction to tone and the way in which the off-topic conversations are started, maybe not necessarily entirely their content.

          • An unfortunate aspect of most public employee compensation schemes is their inability to provide sufficient lattitude to assign pay levels based upon performance. Thus, some really effective employees are often underpaid while those who not effective are often overpaid. This outcome has the tendecy to drive the better employees out of public service leaving behind those who are…. well you get the picture.

          • Sorry, Dude, I respectfully disagree with you on whether anything could ever be learned from Jeffxs, and I’m beginning to feel the same way about Anonymous (who, from the way he writes, could very well be Jeffxs writing under another pseudonym). I stand by what I wrote to you a long time ago–I really don’t want to waste time on ideologues.

          • Anonymus–I noticed you failed to answer my very strsightforward question, which tells me that you feel that cops and teachers are not really taxpayers. Dude– does that qualify as an ideologue?

            Also, Anonymous, I have worked in the public sector, private sector, and even for a non-profit during my career. And I have found that there are very productive people in all three arenas, as well as people who are less productive. And not everyone jumps at the opportunity to make more money. I have worked with some very dedicated public servants who never made earning top dollar the driving force in their life.

  8. Anonymous III

    I fail to understand how mention of an individual’s tax or income situation is AT ALL relevant or appropriate when these details concern the writer of this blog, and when they are being used in a debate entirely off the topic of the original purpose of the post.

    Getting back to the subject of Brian and his upcoming internship: Congratulations Brian!!! I hope you’ll stay in touch with Dan over the summer so that he can update us on your adventures. Very exciting.

  9. The Dude Abides

    Agreed III. Brian’s achievements should and are the focal point of this discussion. However, in defense of Jeffxs, he did not volunteer his name to be used in this article. Anonymous has long been an advocate of those who feed off the “public trough.” If he feels the income of public servants is merely a rebate of tax revenue, so be it. It is a logical extension of such ideology which I find interesting if not frustrating. I remain tolerant and refuse to bow to the Palin promulgators of reactionary rhetoric and narrow minded arrogance.

  10. Another thread hijacked by one person.
    People who complain about taxes have always been tedious.

  11. The tone of the thread was established by Dan. His piece is argumentative and insulting in the main, rather that congratulatory. Dan is a smart fellow so the tone must reflect a considered choice, and he must have know what would follow.

    • Anonymous III

      I fail to see where the tone is argumentative or insulting. The diction he employs in “hammered” and “countered their blasts” sounds sharp but is merely intended to laud Brian’s response.

  12. Another Silver Spoon Westporter.

  13. Uh huh. That’s why folks move their kids to Westport, “Wrecker.” God forbid they should then show initiative and actually achieve anything.

    • Oh please…..kids in Bridgeport show just as much initiative to get out of the ghetto by playng sports or doing well academically and getting scholarships to go to college and you never hear about those stories.

      • You don’t hear about them because such stories are infrequent and rare.

        • And why are they so rare Tom?

          It’s because they are always put down by The Man!

          • They are rare because the obstacles set forth by our culture are enormous against the inner city kid. If you want to call it “The Man,” that is your choice. But I am assuming your are part of our culture. Every one who lives in Westport won the “sperm lottery” to a certain degree. Those are Warren Buffet’s words and not the commentator noted above.

  14. What happened to Anonymous II? I can’t seem to find him/her? Kind of Like Thing One and Thing Two?

    I am more intrigued by Wrecker’s comment. Was he referring to this quote:

    “…a friend of my family’s from when we used to live in Hong Kong read it. He is an executive at a PR firm based in East Asia whose specialty is “crisis management.” “I’d love to have you as an intern! Your choice of Hong Kong, Syndney [sic], Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore,or Kuala Lumpur!”

    I guess this young man travels in rather exalted circles.

  15. Okay let’s set this rule straight: If you’re gonna be anonymous…use a fake name that people will remember and that isn’t the same as everyone. Not “anonymous”. The Dude Abides and Jeffxs are good examples.

    Secondly, as far as I know, Dan makes money in the private sector so this argument over Dan is pointless (I know it turned into a more general argument, but still)

  16. Looking back , the mistake that was made, Dan, was to post this student’s private comment in the blog. His snese of entitlement should not have been made public.

    • I disagree. Brian is one of the least “entitled” teenagers I know. He is hard-working, concerned about the world, eager to make a difference, and proud of what he will be doing. He is engaged, engaging, passionate and poised. He thought a post-script to the original story was intriguing — and I agreed.

  17. Intriguing , yes, but should it have been published?

  18. The Dude Abides

    On second reading, I find the email almost vindictive and boastful. Brian won the sperm lottery and is a hard worker. Should have kept it at that.

    • Exactly Dude……Just what we need…another rub-it in your face Westporter.

    • Honestly, this is ridiculous. Dan’s blog post was not and is not intended to start an argument over A. the young man’s integrity, B. taxes, or C. other asinine arguments continued by, if not started by, the commenter Jeffxs. For once, may we please just leave a situation as it is? No one likes a mean person.

      • How do you know what Dan’s intention was?? Maybe it was to stir up a dispute. You are trying to control the uncontrollable. Plenty like Sarah.
        A culture of destruction.

      • @Hawk: I agree, mostly, but “leave a situation as it is?” Are you out of your mind? I read this blog to relieve my PTSD when my pot supply runs low. When I feel down, and I read 06880, I envision myself a bloody genius, a straight line thinker, a gentle person; not the old mayhem maker. If it were not for the rants of these ladies and gentlemen, this blog would be a bore… well, less interesting anyway. I’m delighted Dan the Woog lets us say stupid unrelated stuff (like this!). Hell, why have ADHD if you can’t change the subject at will. So please, Hawk, except for “mean.” let ’em rip (pun).

  19. Dan’s intention are not knowable and at this point irrelevant. Whatever his intentions were, the reactions to his comments and those of Brian are all here to read. If Dan and Brian did not what these reactions, they miscalculated.

  20. Richard Lawrence Stein

    Back into the fray I must go…. First of all Brian kudos to you… Congrats and good luck… To those who gripe about the kids of Staple their intentions their parents wealth and a litany of other complaints …. Look hArd and long at yourself and what is missing in your life to be moan and be so harsh on a kid that worked hard to my understanding and maybe got lucky too…. SO F-ING WHAT!!! This blog is about whatever Dan feels is important to himself and the town he has called home for many decades… He writes what he chooses to write and even allows you rip it apart or praise it… He is our town crier and you not only shoot the messenger but take apart some peoples accomplishment because you deem his sperm lucky… I think many of you are lucky to have Dan and his forum … Let alone his tolerance for ignorance and those kind enough to put themselves in verbal harms way

  21. Of all the entries, Stein, you are the only one who resorted to profanity and you purport to be a Staples savior? In “verbal harms way.” Get over yourself.

  22. You made a point, but not the one you intended. Brian brought himself to the public forum. Dan brought himself to the public forum. They invited controversy. Moreover, if you going to be in the business of “crisis management” it might help your career if you can stimulate one or two.

  23. I agree with Jeffxs. Brian, although a highly accomplished teen, seems to be more interested in traveling rather than the environment. This all seems like a big scheme/excuse for him to travel the world.
    How is travel helping our environment?
    Its not.
    Unless the story isnt being told in which case it would be nice to have an article about Brian and his achievements with the environment rather than traveling to Canada and Asia.

    • How much you want to bet that Brian and his parents live in a huge McMansion as well.

      I highly doubt they live in a sensible home that is around 1,500 square feet …….or less.

      Hypocrites.

      • Oh yeah, defiantly.
        But seriously what efforts has he made besides traveling to Canada? I would really like to know.

        • Why is it so important to you what Brian does? Why
          don’t you focus on yourself and find your dreams.

  24. Jealous.

  25. Is this the same Brian Hershey who, in Inklings (1/24/2011), says he would not try yoga “because it’s tied to more feminine activity. I wouldn’t want to be seen doing it.”

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