Written by Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00
Not everything is always as it appears. My paternal grandfather worked as a detective for the New York City Police Department. He was an identification expert in the Brooklyn morgue and could be described as an introverted guy who was well suited for this particular job. He actually enjoyed working in this cold, quiet environment where very few people interfered with his work. In fact, the majority of the people he interacted with daily were very cooperative with him. His biggest challenge was mentoring new detectives. They had so much to learn, but talked more than they listened and talked much more than they observed.
During one particular case, a group of new homicide detectives had been notified about a badly decomposed torso floating in the East River. They were able to retrieve this huge, headless, barrel-chested corpse from the water and take it down to the Brooklyn morgue for identification. These neophytes seemed to be very impressed by their find and were all going on and on jumping to all sorts of conclusions about their discovery. In fact, one young sleuth impressed by the body’s sizable proportions said, “Now that’s a MAN”!My grandfather without saying a word, looked the massive torso up and down, shook his head at this knee-jerk conclusion, and said in his very dry-manner, “You can close this homicide boys…call the Conservation Department…it’s a bear.”
Martin Fisher said, “A conclusion is simply the place where someone got tired of thinking.” One of the most difficult lessons for teachers and parents is to push young people to keep thinking even when the conclusions seem apparent.