I will say to you that the Elevator Supplier

CURT: Oh, this is the first time I’ve ever Elevator Supplier on the air. (Soundbite of laughter) CURT: I just want to tell you, you know, I’m kind of an intellectual math scientist, and one of those things I want to tell you is that, you know, I was hired by the Colorado School of Mines to teach mine safety and ended up changing some federal legislation about it. And I want to tell you that we’ve got a bunch of mines that have what’s called the methane jump.
And do I need to explain that? CONAN: Methane jump? Yes, I’m afraid you will. CURT: Yeah, well, you know, there’s some kind of coals that just sit there in the ground and just be silent, and there’s I don’t remember, you know, this is like from 30 years ago. But they just emit tons of methane.
And the Western(ph) Virginia coal mines have that tendency, you know. CONAN: Yes. CURT: And the thing is that the Colorado coal mines, and I can’t name them right now because I’ve changed my career into water purification chemistry, but, you know, the one thing (unintelligible) these mines work really well is to have what they call a safety incentive, which means that you get paid more for no damage to your personnel than production incentive.
CONAN: I see. CURT: It’s the way it’s worked in the high mountains in Colorado, where we have some coals, just like what they have in West Virginia. CONAN: Jeanne Marie Laskas, were you aware of safety incentives when you did your story? Ms. LASKAS: Not so much definite incentives, although I will say to you that the concept of safety there is on everyone’s mind constantly, all the time.


She deflected a compliment and Elevator Supplier

But we weren’t welcome to go back there, I’m Elevator Supplier. SIMON: Now, I have to thank you both for a couple of things. Ms. GILBAND: What did you learn from me? SIMON: Well, two things. Ms. GILBAND: Yes. SIMON: More than that, OK? Like a thousand things. But here’s two things that I’ll list now. Ms. GILBAND: Yes. SIMON: And the first is manners. Ms. GILBAND: Really? SIMON: I mean… (Soundbite of laughter) SIMON: I knew you’d say that. What? You learned your manners from me? Don’t ruin my name that way.
Ms. GILBAND: But when he would come – when you would come back from a war zone, you would smell your food before you put it in your mouth. (Soundbite of laughter) Ms. GILBAND: You know, that’s manners? Oh, boy. SIMON: There’s some exceptions, all right? So people hear me on the radio, and they think I have very good manners. Ms. GILBAND: Oh. OK. Well, yes. SIMON: And that comes from you. Ms. GILBAND: Oh, thank you. SIMON: That would only come from you because you were so intent on making certain that I said please and thank you and was respectful to people. Ms. GILBAND: Oh, I see. Well, I think any parents – most parents are that way.
Your father had lovely manners. SIMON: Yeah, he did. Allow me to draw attention to what my mother just did. She deflected a compliment and moved the conversation away from her. With my mother, good manners has never been just saying please and thank you, but behaving with a kind of graciousness that Hemingway famously called grace under pressure. He said that was courage. In our show business family,
my father called it class. About 25 years later, my father was gone and my mother remarried. A woman who’s had four last names isn’t shy about commitments. She’d married a wonderful man who got convicted of a crime. About this time of year in the mid-1970s, the day was snowy and raw. Our family, teary and heartsick, got onto an elevator in Chicago’s Federal Building. After a couple of floors,