Story of Four People There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Somebody would do it. But Nobody asked Anybody. It ended up that the job wasn't done and Somebody blamed Everybody, when actually Nobody asked Anybody.
When you find a man who knows his job and is willing to take responsibility, keep out of his way and don't bother him with unnecessary supervision. What you may think is cooperation is nothing but interference.
There's a touch of the priesthood in the academic world, a sense that a scholar should not be distracted by the mundane tasks of day-to-day living. I used to have great stretches of time to work. Now I have research thoughts while making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sure it's impossible to write down ideas while reading "curious George" to a two-year-old. On the other hand, as my husband was leaving graduate school for his first job, his thesis advisor told him, "You may wonder how a professor gets any research done when one has to teach, advise students, serve on committees, referee papers, write letters of recommendation, interview prospective faculty. Well, I take long showers."
Source: Her Own Words: Six Mathematicians Comment on Their Lives and Careers. September 1991
The history of those who shed those other tears, the history of those anonymous millions, is what Terkel wants readers and listeners to come away with. What's it like to be that goofy little soldier, scared stiff, with his bayonet aimed at Christ? What's it like to have been a woman in a defense-plant job during World War II? What's it like to be a kid at the front lines? It's all funny and tragic at the same time.