January 10, 2008
I had a middle school speech teacher who taught us to never start with an apology. She told us not to begin by saying you’re sorry for not being a good speaker, and not to whine about not having been prepared. She said to avoid asking forgiveness for whatever it is that you’re feeling insecure about.
The lesson was to just overcome the insecurity. Rise above it. It was a good enough lesson that I obviously still remember it.
But sometimes things are so egregious, so bad, so just plain wrong that you have to start with an apology. So, here goes.
I apologize that I left you for two Fridays without a Watson Wire. It must have been particularly hard during the holidays.
I’m not really sorry, though. The Watson family had a great break. We’ve developed a tradition in which we sneak away for some pure family time and ski together during the winter break. So we did it again this year. We went to New Mexico and played a bunch, ate a bunch, saw movies that there never seems to be time to see when we’re at home, played board games (which never happens when we’re at home), and generally had a wonderful time.
The good news is that I learned something on this trip.
I learned that, when you’re writing an email on your Blackberry and you’ve chosen to do it on a ski lift, you need to carefully monitor where you are. Otherwise, you can look up and find, to your complete surprise, that you’re at the end of the line. Those riding with you will easily slip off the chair, but you will be, in the blink of an eye, trying to save a draft of what you’ve written, shoving the Blackberry into your pocket, pulling your gloves on to your freezing hands, and grabbing your ski poles out from under you.
And it’s just possible that, having done all of this, you’ll still find yourself dropping (some might say jumping) off the chair onto the hard-packed snow a couple of feet below. And I learned the drop is far enough that even a very athletic and stunningly coordinated man can fall into a sad heap.
Finally, I learned that when this kind of thing happens, people stare and some even laugh at you.
I wanted to let you know about a couple of small things that happened over the holidays and give you a heads up about a terrific voter registration event coming later this month.
Next week, the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce will hold its Legislative Awards Gala. This group has taken on the vital mission of promoting opportunity for the fastest-growing demographic group in Texas. If they succeed, then Texas will succeed.
It will be my honor to receive an environmental award in recognition of a bill we passed last year that creates a landmark recycling program targeted at computers, monitors, and other electronic waste. This bill became law just a couple of months ago, and we’re already seeing great results.
You may remember a recycling drive we held at Highland Mall in November – 735 loads were dropped off, and we collected more than 56 tons of computer equipment. This kind of enthusiasm will go a long way toward keeping mercury and other harmful substances where they belong, not in our landfills or floating around the environment.
This legislation contributed to another recognition I was honored to receive this week. The American Electronics Association included me among a handful of legislators it’s honoring as Texas Technology Champions.
This is really special to me, given the collaborative efforts I’ve been privileged to take part in over the years to promote clean, knowledge-based industries in this region. Countless people worked to achieve this goal, and Central Texas has become a powerhouse in the 21st Century economy because of it.
We’re not where we need to be – particularly when you think about education, health care, and all of the other things that will decide whether our prosperity extends into coming decades – but it’s refreshing and remarkable to think how far we’ve come.
Our goal is to sign up as many young voters as we can for the crucial 2008 election. These folks have as much riding on elections as any group of voters, because they will have to live in the future that elected officials create. We all need to do whatever we can to get them more involved in the political process.
You can check out the MySpace page now, and I’ll have more information over the next couple of weeks. Suffice it to say that we’ve put together an impressive slate of young local bands that will be playing all afternoon. I hope to see you there.
In the meantime, Happy New Year. I think it’s going to be a great one.