I believe in the power of a Blank Check

Krishnan - Huntsville, Alabama
Entered on June 24, 2008

I believe in the power of blank checks.

If I can encapsulate some of what I know about the US of A, it will be using

these two words Blank Check. The longer version is Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As a young boy, growing up in Bombay, India, I used to (and still) read a lot – about people, about distant lands, about societies. The USA was not an alien country when I first landed

here back in 1979, what I discovered aligned very well with what I had known. Principally, it was a land of opportunity where regardless of one’s family connections or money or fame, by sheer will power and effort, anyone can become anything. An immigrant nation that provides those that come with an opportunity to do well or not – a Blank Check which can be cashed for a lot of money or squandered away as a lost opportunity.

I see that the world seems to want to be like us more and more. I do not for a minute believe polls that indicate that the USA is a hated nation, far from it. Envious of us,

yes. All we have to do is watch the lines at Consulates and Embassies with people yearning to get into this country – to have that

opportunity to be handed a {em blank check}.

We in the USA remain unique in that we have individuals who are determined to use their power and influence (and yes money) to create more blank checks to keep us ahead of the world, the many outstanding philanthropists and idea-men. I see some of that emerging in countries like India and China, but nothing like what we have in the USA.

I’d like to talk about an individual who I met many years ago, who did write blank checks.

I was privileged to be a visiting scientist at a local Huntsville, Alabama company for a year (it was my academic sabbatical). The owner of this company (we all called him Jim) used to leave a number of signed, blank checks outside his open office. Those checks were

for miscellaneous purchases for work related items by employees. I was astonished when I first heard about it and heard that that practice will be discontinued after Jim’s company was bought out by a California

company. So, I went and purchased some paper or some such and wrote myself a check for about $10 or so, so I will have evidence that blank checks do exist. No matter what the world does, we will remain ahead in human ingenuity and the thirst for moving the boundaries of both our knowledge and ignorance. Today, Jim continues to

write blank checks through the building of an amazing research institute dedicated to discoveries in genomics and where I will be spending the next academic year.

What a country, how truly privileged I am to be the recipient of a blank check in both 1979 when I entered the US and every day since.