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LOOKING FOR A LIFT
Mark Kram
September 12, 1966
Watched moodily by the one friend who believes in him, Norbert Schemansky works out faithfully in a sleazy underground gym and ponders his years as the world's greatest weight lifter, an achievement that wins him neither glory nor a job to help support his family
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September 12, 1966

Looking For A Lift

Watched moodily by the one friend who believes in him, Norbert Schemansky works out faithfully in a sleazy underground gym and ponders his years as the world's greatest weight lifter, an achievement that wins him neither glory nor a job to help support his family

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"Third," said Norbert. "That's where I told you I'd finish. I had too much on my mind, the campaign and all."

"What's your campaign budget?" a visitor asked Norbert.

"Two hundred dollars this time," said Norbert, "but the last time I ran for the Michigan legislature my budget was only $100. I only lost by 800 votes."

"Your platform?"

"Just a slogan," he said. " 'Down with junks, drunks and punks.' That covers a lot of ground. I don't do any talking. I just go around at night pasting up signs. But in the morning they're torn down."

"Somebody's after us here in Michigan," said Jack.

"Sure, Jack," said Norbert.

"Well, it's true. You haven't even been nominated for the Michigan Hall of Fame."

"I'm not worried about that. I'm going to go to Mexico [the Olympics in 1968] and hook up with Vlasov again and take him this time. The AAU wants me out of the picture, but at 46 I'll still be in it."

Jack, inspired, suddenly sat down and began scribbling in the margins of a magazine. Norbert talked on, until Jack jumped up and said, "This is my first draft." Norbert read, "Dear Mr. President: Norbert Schemansky is the greatest symbol of excellence in the free world but, like Einstein in Nazi Germany, America has no use for him. We must start creating the job around the man. Mr. President, we are an independent, nonprofit social-research consultant firm. We were the first firm to create the job around the man 10 years ago. The results: We won two Olympic medals for America, and the Michigan AAU title seven years in a row. Mr. President, we are a small-business firm without funds, but we have done much for America. Furthermore...."

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