OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- John Corcoran graduated from college and taught high school for 17 years without being able to read, write or spell. (This from San Diego's Channel 10. Full story here.)The story is amazing, sad, astonishing, and above all, a tribute to the human capacity to adapt to obstacles. Amazing to think a person could make it all the way through college being totally illiterate, but then to walk back into the fire by choosing to be a teacher - astonishing.
I knew a local guy who was a successful businessman, pillar of his community, even a County Supervisor, who I swear could not read a word. I became suspicious of his literacy at one point and took an opportunity to test him in a way, sliding a note to him during an interview and asking "what do you think of this?" The way he dodged it made me even more sure he could not read it. My neighbor has a 3-legged dog that seems to be just about as happy as your typical 4-legged variety, so I guess all species have some powerful adaptation mechanisms. I am a bit in awe of a person who could survive and thrive in the first world today without being able to read and write. I am taking this story as an inspiration, and I am not going to take even a moment to consider how appalled I am that a person could be illiterate and also get a degree and become a teacher. I will segment off my horror and focus on my amazement.