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Thinking back some 78 or 79 years ago, I remember so well get ting home from school. Mama had a peanut butter sandwich ready, knowing that I would be at home around 3: 45 p.m. I would kiss her; eat the sandwich and say, “I’ll be back at 5:30 p.m., I’m going to go play with Junior?’ And this occurred every day. We were 8 or 9 years old at this time and we played marbles. Between the curb and the sidewalk, we carved a piece out of three feet of grass, so that it would be just dirt and then we would draw the circle for our marble game. With 30 marbles each we’d play until one of us had won all 30 of the other’s marbles. Generally, this would happen around 5:00 p.m. Well, there was 30 minutes more to play, but either Junior didn’t have any marbles or I didn’t have any marbles. One of us had won them all. They were all mine or all his, but there was that 30 minutes before we had to go home. I would give him 10 of my marbles because they were all mine then, or he did likewise for the same reason, and so we continued playing and had a wonderful time. I realized at the time that I never would want to be in a situation where I had it allthat would be no fun. There would be no one with whom to play. It made an indelible impression on me and influ A SCENARIO by Bernard Rapoport enced my thinking as I grew older. You bet I had a greed instinctstill do! I wanted to have it all until I remembered the situation from my childhood. And as I got older, I sensed that the greed instinct was ever increasing and that too many had not been privileged to have the experience that I have shared with you. Too many wanted it all. In jest, I say that today we have too many billionaires and not enough millionaires. It seems to me we need to retain a sense that we owe. It’s almost as if we were born owing. Some of us contribute AD COURTESY OF THE BERNARD AND AUDRE RAPOPORT FOUNDATION 5400 Bosque Blvd., Suite 245 Bernard Rapoport Chairman of the Board to the building of large businesses and I am in that lucky circle. What concerns me is that I know that greed has no boundaries unless they are superimposed by the rules of our society. There is talk about eliminating the estate tax permanently and I was telling someone that I was opposed to that. Their response was, “I’ve worked hard for my money and, by golly, it’s mine to do with what I want’: Well, it’s difficult to counter that point of view, except and this is the big exception: we so-called successes act as if we have achieved without help from anyone. We did it all ourselves. Too often we have an attitude that we don’t owe! The truth is: we do, certainly to our parents, the teachers we had in school, the friends and associates with whom we’ve crossed pathsyes, we owe, and when we stop having a sense of owing, we are saying to the world, “I don’t need you, leave me alone?’ Too many of us are not aware of the sagacity of one of my favorite authors, who reminded us, “Be brave, be brave, be brave, but do not be too brave, for too much bravery leads to bravado’: I submit that too much bravado has created for us a society where there is not equal opportunity. And equal opportunity is essential to a functioning democratic society. 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 12/5/03