Harry and Francis were not cut out to be scholars. It’s not that they were stupid — far from it. They simply were not the type of students who fit within the halls of academia.
For a while, Harry looked as if he might make something of himself through his studies. He was a good student in high school and was chosen to speak at his graduation ceremony. His address was entitled “The Purpose of Education.” He announced his plans to become a lawyer. Purely in terms of intellectual capacity, it certainly seemed that he could do it.
Those who knew Harry best wondered if he had what it took to be a successful attorney. Obviously, his intelligence was not in question. His biggest problem was his work ethic. Harry excelled in school primarily because he didn’t have to put a lot of effort into it. His liberal arts classes came easily to him, allowing him to excel without effort.
Even the complicated principles of the law were easy pickings for Harry. His brain soaked up the lectures like a sponge. He was particularly interested in criminal law and trial advocacy. He could envision himself as a great trial lawyer, persuading captivated juries through his dramatic closing arguments.
No, the problem wasn’t intelligence or vision. It was laziness. He was in love with the idea of being a lawyer, but he was not enamored with the amount of work he would need to do for that to happen. As this realization solidified, he walked away from the profession that had so long intrigued him. In the end, the law lost out to laziness.
Francis had his own problems with academia. He was headstrong and undisciplined, refusing to acknowledge anyone’s authority but his own.
His academic career came to an inglorious end 47 days after the start of high school. He was expelled for “general rowdiness.” His principal washed his hands of the young man, declaring that he “showed no real talent for anything.” His math teacher assessed him as a “lazy boy” with “absolutely no ambition at all when it came to school.”
Francis, like Harry, had to find some way to earn a living. What possible prospects could there be for young men such as them? What employer will consider someone whose resume, if totally honest, would say, “I want to be lazy,” or “Call me irresponsible”? What boss would willingly subject himself to the torture of having an employee who insists upon doing things his way?
Fortunately for Harry and Francis, those characteristics did not appear as written words on a resume, but they were loudly proclaimed — in song.
The lazy young man who was in love with a dream but was too lazy to achieve it, raked in millions of dollars as he became famous for his laid-back, easy-going style. He even popularized a song called “Lazy” that could have been his philosophy of life. We know him by his nickname: Harry “Bing” Crosby.
As for Francis, he also made a name for himself in the world of entertainment. The unruly student who wouldn’t obey rules was honest with himself and the world when he sang, “Call Me Irresponsible.” The fellow who was condemned for insisting upon having everything his way embraced that judgment. For decades, the adoring fans of Francis “Frank” Sinatra thrilled as he ended every concert with his signature song, “My Way.”