As it was with the University of Arkansas, Zeke’s attendance of Oxford University and the London School of Economics and Political Science was more about the experience than anything else. For he already knew everything they had to teach from a book in a classroom, as well as being acutely familiar with the subject matter of the professors’ lectures. In fact, he often spent more time behind the podium than sitting in the audience during a lecture, but he found walking the same halls as the likes of T.E. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, William Fulbright, C.S. Lewis, Edmund Halley, William Penn, Christopher Wren, J.R.R. Tolkien and John Locke quite intoxicating.
In honor of his Uncle Willie, Zeke also attended some classes at the University of Edinburgh, which has quite a history of its own. As Zeke found out, so did Uncle Willie, which is what Zeke really wanted to learn. For after hearing story after story in several local taverns about Uncle Willie’s legendary efforts to keep the spirit of a true Scotsman alive during his time at the University of Edinburgh (both as a student and a member of the faculty) Zeke felt like he had gathered plenty of ammunition to fire back at the old Scot the next time he went to take another shot at him. Of course, the engagements had all been (and would continue to be) in good fun.
Zeke also revisited many of the places Uncle Willie had taken him to years before in England, Scotland and Wales, but he spent more time simply getting to know the local people and truly savoring their culture. Yeah, he may have overdone it a time or two while trying to dig up more dirt on the old Scot.
Oh no, the Emerald Isle was certainly not ignored, and it was in a quaint little Limerick pub down on the banks of the River Shannon where Zeke was invited to go on one of his most memorable adventures. For a group of scholars and scientists were reaching the final stages of their construction of an exact replica of a Viking longboat they were planning on sailing (and rowing) to Iceland as a reenactment of a possible ancient voyage—complete with period clothes, equipment and foodstuffs.
Aside from the thrill of participating in such an adventure, the reenactment voyage had another appeal to Zeke. For he had entertained some thoughts over the years about possibly being a direct descendent of Erik the Red, whose son, Leif, is said to be the real European discoverer of America (some 500 years before Christopher Columbus) by a growing number of historians.
While in Iceland, Zeke also made a fairly monumental discovery of his own. For he found out just how exceedingly warm some Icelandic women can be.
Well, at least it was an experience that made a lasting impression upon him. In fact, it came as quite a shock. For Zeke had never given sex much thought before—not even when many a fair maiden was using everything she had at her disposal to catch his eye back in Fayetteville.
So, where to go next? Moscow, of course. For Zeke liked to think that he was on his own magical mystery tour, and he had a personal invitation to come see his homeland from the son of a prominent Soviet official, who had become fast friends with Zeke during the Viking reenactment voyage.
Come on now, get your mind out of the gutter. For Zeke was not looking for any cultural exchanges with the lights down low while in Russia, but he did participate in several very spirited debates with several members of the Politburo over what was good and bad about both capitalism and socialism.
Time was also made for sightseeing, and Zeke was especially impressed with Leningrad/St. Petersburg. When asked if he would like to go on a train ride through the great forests in Siberia, Zeke said that he would love to. Almost as an afterthought, Zeke then added that he hoped the train ride out of Moscow was not meant to also be an exact reenactment of the trip the Romanovs took in 1917, with him playing the part of Nicholas, the Second.
Everyone within earshot laughed uproariously at the joke—including Zeke. For his hosts displayed a very deft touch with humor by not saying a word and maintaining very serious looks upon their faces before erupting in laughter a few seconds later.
In all seriousness, Zeke loved going on that train ride, and he came to the conclusion that taking a train as much as possible would be a great way for him to continue on his magical mystery tour. So, when it came time to leave Russia, Zeke booked passage on a train bound for Prague, Czechoslovakia. An added bonus was that his travels through the rest of the Eastern Bloc was made considerably more enjoyable with the credentials issued to him by his new friends in the Kremlin, which made crossing borders behind the Iron Curtain a breeze.
It was a different story when he went to enter Italy, however. For the State Department of the good ol’ U.S. of A. was very curious about why Zeke was treated so well by the Soviets, and it was not until the C.I.A. agents sent to interrogate him were convinced that he had not been turned into a K.G.B. operative that he was allowed to go on his merry way.
Zeke kept crossing borders until he had actually set foot in every country in Europe. More than that, he had walked along paths that Socrates, Plato, Julius Caesar, Cicero, Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, Nostradamus, Martin Luther, William the Conqueror, Sigmund Freud, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Napoleon and host of celebrated others had followed over the ages. Next stop: Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Cambridge, Massachusetts? Well, that is where the actual Harvard and M.I.T. are located, and Harvard had insisted upon him having to attend at least one year at their law school before they would issue the diploma he had already passed all of the required tests to receive.
As with the other schools, Zeke did not mind having to actually attend a few classes—especially not at Harvard. For he spent most of his time there debating everything from basic civil rights to the benefits to expanding the role of the military in American society with some of the finest budding legal minds anywhere.
Some of those minds belonged to the sons and daughters of career bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., and they helped Zeke gain more insight into just what was wrong with the federal government. Not that this was their intent, of course. For most of them were looking forward to continuing in the very same footsteps as their parents—both in regards to their career path and the way they were working at their jobs.
There were also many sons and daughters of celebrated capitalists at Harvard, and several heated debates erupted over just how damaging (both economically and socially) unbridled capitalism can be to a society. For most of them were quite devout in believing that it is perfectly naturally for the cream to rise to the top, and that business markets had to be kept as free from government intervention (in any form) as possible in order to truly flourish for the overall good of society while Zeke argued otherwise (to a certain extent).
These were repeats of the same basic debates Zeke had participated in while at both Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science, but there was some difference. For Zeke did not find himself quite so outnumbered in England. Nonetheless, he thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Harvard debates—despite being quite disturbed by how many could be so detached from the realities to the practical applications of their theoretical arguments.
Zeke did not disagree with business markets needing to be free in order to truly flourish, but he contended that measures (sometimes even drastic ones) should be implemented by the government when the gap between the haves and have-nots starts to become too wide and businesses should welcome them. For revolutions erupt when the poor become tired enough of being trodden upon by the rich, which is generally not good for business. Moreover, it is even better for business in the long run when there are a great abundance of people well able to actually purchase goods and services.
Another series of debates that Zeke found both exhilarating and disturbing was over government immigration policies. For Zeke wanted to welcome in all who truly wanted to become Americans (including learning English to the fullest extent possible) while some only wanted the best from other countries to be allowed in and others did not see anything wrong with turning a blind eye toward the border(s) when cheap labor was needed to keep agricultural prices down.
Zeke’s time at M.I.T. was not so contentious, but he considered it to be every bit as intriguing. For he was fascinated with what he had been hearing about something called the world wide web, and he wanted to learn everything he could about technological developments that could make a world-class education available to anyone with access to a computer.
Zeke was also very interested in learning about theoretical advancements in battery designs that could make electric-powered vehicles much more a matter of reality than science fiction. For he had been entertaining some ideas on the subject for quite some time, and many at M.I.T. became very excited over where Zeke’s ideas could lead.
“At one time, I seriously considered making a career out of military service, but with the United States Constitution having the military under the control of civilian authorities, I came to the conclusion that entering politics would be a better way to do more to help better the lives of as many people as possible. On the other hand, the field of education always held a certain amount of appeal for me. So, becoming an educated idiot was the obvious path to take.”
That was a joke Zeke loved to tell from time to time, and after he left Cambridge, Massachusetts Harvard and accepted a commission as a captain in the Army National Guard, some believed that he had succeeded in truly becoming an educated idiot. Nonetheless, joining the military was another integral part of his plan. For aside from other very important considerations, he recognized that military service greatly enhances a candidate’s résumé—especially one who wanted to greatly expand the domestic role of the military for the benefit of all citizens.
With Zeke holding no less than five doctorate degrees by then, one would have expected him to choose anything but becoming an infantry officer. In fact, all of the military branches offered him a duty post in the Pentagon, but Zeke wanted to pay homage to his father and Uncle Willie.
Both of them were starting to wonder if their very special boy might be overreaching, though. For the Army was not requiring Zeke to complete any field training, but he wanted to do it the hard way, which his father and Uncle Willie were all too painfully aware of just how hard that could be.
Undaunted by their concerns, Zeke went ahead with his plan. So, after basic and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) it was off to jump school and then ranger training. By the time Zeke was finished with becoming all that he could be in the Army, he had been promoted to major and a green beret was added to his uniform as a member of the Nineteenth Special Forces Group.
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