Finish The Sentence (Friday), the Wakefield Doctrine (“…that’s easy! just take a left at the corner of Hope and Dreams”)

Welcome to the Wakefield Doctrine (the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers)


Friday is here and it is time to Finish The Sentence (because Janine and Kate and Stephanie and Dawn say we should… ), not that they are trying to coerce, cajole, intimidate or otherwise force anyone to do anything. They simply have a sentence that is unfinished and therefore needs completion.

“I hit a turning point in my life when… “

This sentence (fragment) needs further definition… not that it is not interesting, intriguing and intimidating in its implications of insight into the writer’s life, it is! But what is a ‘turning point’?

One of the online dictionaries tries to tell us that (a) ‘turning point’ is:

a) An event marking a unique or important historical change of course or one on which important developments depend
2) The intersection of two streets

Well, that’s not a lot of help.

Following is ‘the Turning Point’ that I would judge as being the most significant of ‘life course changes’.
While it may not be as interesting as: the time at the dentist, when I was 14 that I was convinced that I was in a time loop or the time I nearly died from a ruptured appendix or the time in the 3rd grade when the teacher told the class that I walked funny or the first time I got into a fight over a girl or the day I got married or the day that Ola died or the day that I started this blog or the first time I had sex, or this morning when I woke up or the time I ran away from home (at the age of 6) or the moment when I could appreciate my mortality without fear or the time that I was so drunk I set my hair on fire in the boys room in some un-remembered high school or the time that I sat up staring out my window the entire night because my second true love decided that I was not as deserving of her attention as was my friend or the time that I played guitar in front of an audience, …this ‘turning point‘  did set me on a course that was totally nobody saw coming.

In the early 1980’s, Scott (the progenitor scott) worked at a music store in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He was the only full-time salesman and (also) ran the store’s repair department. Not limited to repairing musical instruments, the store provided repair services for a wide range of electronic equipment, including  tape recorders and other audio equipment.

One day I happened to stop by the store to visit scott while he worked. While there, a young man walked into the store, came directly to the ‘repair department’ where scott and I were talking and placed on the counter what was known as a  ‘duel cassette recorder’  (A device with the capacity to record two cassette cartridges at once. Often used to copy the contents of one cassette to another, what we would call today, making a back up. The controls on this ‘dubbing recorder’ were two sets of the normal tape recorder controls: Volume, Treble and Bass. It was different from a single cassette recorder in that it had a Master Volume control dial, which, as the name implies controlled the overall sound output of the device.) The tape recorder that the customer placed on the counter appeared to be new and had no signs of damage or abuse. I stepped back and Scott looked up and said, ‘What can we do for you’?   The customer said to  Scott, “this thing is brand new, it worked for a couple of days, then it stopped working entirely, I can’t figure out what is wrong”.

Scott looked at the device briefly, then without saying a word, reached under the counter, brought out a roll of electrical tape, and tearing off a 2 inch piece of tape, taped over the Master Volume control (after returning the dial to it’s highest setting). Scott then slid the device back over the counter and said, “ There, it’s all right now”

The customer asked to plug in the recorder, took a cassette from his pocket, tried the recorder, and ran it through it’s paces. After proving to himself that the broken tape recorder that he brought into the store now worked like new, he  thanked Scott and walked out of the store,  a totally satisfied customer.

From my perspective observing this interaction, my world, the reality of everything I knew, somehow shifted. For reasons not clear to this day, I not only saw what scott saw (the nature of the equipment problem), but I realized that the very nature, the character, if you will of Scotts solution implied a reality, a ‘context’ that was clearly different from mine. At that moment I  accepted that the personal reality that I experienced was not necessarily the one that everyone else was witness to, that the way that Scott perceived the ‘problem’ was fundamentally different from the way it was for me.

From that moment, standing in a small music store in Pawtucket, to the present day, I’ve been observing the behavior of others trying to understand, “What kind of reality does this person exist in?”



clarkscottroger About clarkscottroger
Well, what exactly do you want to know? Whether I am a clark or a scott or roger? If you have to ask, then you need to keep reading the Posts for two reasons: a)to get a clear enough understanding to be able to make the determination of which type I am and 2) to realize that by definition I am all three.* *which is true for you as well, all three...but mostly one


  1. Considerer says:

    I am (selfishly) glad you had that turning point as it has subsequently provided me hours of brain fodder.

    Also loving your description of the FTSF hop, for as we know, there are two types of people in the world; those who can extrapolate from incomplete data…

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      lol (I think you will appreciate the attitude I take of being sort of the ‘curator’ of this Doctrine thing. Yes, I had the insight, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you why or even make the claim that I was being consciously perceptive, just there was the scene, something click and there it was, the Wakefield Doctrine! well, that plus 30 years of watch and observing and such, but once I had the ‘overlay’ the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers it was much easier to make use of all that observation).

      Hey! don’t forget the code for ‘the hop’ tomorrow!

  2. I seriously never would have known it was Scott that got the doctrine underway, but a huge thank you to him wherever he is now, because of him we have this wonderful thing called The Wakefield Doctrine, indeed. Wonderful post Clark and thank you as always for linking up. Have a great weekend now!! :)

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      thank you… it’s funny, I’ve told scott the story a hundred times over the years and he still laughs and says, “what else would I do with the guy! he asked me to fix his tape player and I did!”

  3. Those are A LOT of turning points! Wow. It’s true though….I think there are so many things which happen in our lives that are small turning points leading us to the next phase. Interesting to think about it like that. You ran away from home when you were 6? That must have been scary… I remember in my pre-teens, I had a bag packed in my cupboard because my parents fought a lot and I was just waiting for the day to run away. Of course I never did…I was far too timid. The furthest I got to was a dark corner just inside of the main gate. My mom found me there and said I’d scared her. I remember feeling quite satisfied at a job well done. They’d stopped their bickering and rubbish and noticed me missing. Great post and happy weekend!

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      thanks I did run away… but being six years old, I kinda didn’t get far. We lived next to a highway and, as the story goes, I got found walking along the the fence that ran along side the highway (meant to keep 6 year old runaways from getting too far, I suppose Have a great weekend… are you moving into the new place soon?

  4. Kerri says:

    You set your own hair on fire? That would be a turning point for sure. And I think Scott discovered that there might be a hundred ways to use electrical tape that can’t be fixed with duct tape

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      lol fortunately it was put out before it could spread (long hair, cigarette lights and an excessive amount of mind-altering substances)…it could happen to anyone!
      the very notion that electrical tape made the problem cease to exist is such a distinctively scottian perspective.

  5. This statement is mind-blowingly profound: “At that moment I accepted that the personal reality that I experienced was not necessarily the one that everyone else was witness to, that the way that Scott perceived the ‘problem’ was fundamentally different from the way it was for me.”
    Wow. You said a brainful with that one. I am going to be thinking about that one for awhile. And your “not-turning-point” turning points made me laugh. I love the dentist office time-loop one…

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      lol and it was so strange that here it is, a lifetime later and I can remember it like it was yesterday (which is funnier once you hear the story).
      I went to the dentist one late October afternoon. The dentist used gas as an anesthesia, a very distinctive effect, go to sleep (without remembering) and wake up (without remembering going to sleep). Anyway… I go under and sometime later come out of it… a buzzing in my head… looking out the window (across from the chair) at the October dusk. Fine. Go home.
      Come back for the next visit in early November. Same operatory, same window to look out of, same gas to out me to sleep and I woke up… the same buzzing in my head, the same dusk outside the window. And for reasons I still do not understand, I became convinced that I was sitting in the chair in October. That everything I thought had happened since October was but a dream. This ‘certainty’ of the uncertainty of my continuity scared the shit out of me. lol I actually started to think whether I would need to keep a low profile when I got home, so as not to ‘give myself away’
      …damn that was interesting.

  6. Ow…….that hair on fire must’ve been a turning point for sure!! And Scotts’ way of handling problems is really cool headed and efficient…he looks at things as issues to deal with instead of throwing all emotional issues into the mix. Thanks for sharing Clark!

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      alas… it was not! I did not set myself on fire again… but I had much learning yet to do.
      Good point! Although I did not at the time have the theroy of clarks, scotts and rogers organized and certainly not the characteristics of the personality type that derived from living in the reality of the predator, but for scott, the problem was simply a thing to be dealt with, action. The person with the problem did not figure into his calculations for a solution simple, decisive action was all that was called.

  7. Cyndi says:

    Wait…out of all that, the line “so drunk I set my hair on fire…” Holy moly, man! WTF…how’d that go over, cuz the image in my head is NOT good…nor is the smell. HAHAHA.
    I remember reading this story somewhere, too. Funny how a situation like that can affect us so…
    And I have no idea why that geo locator up there says I’m from Nebo, NC. WTH is Nebo? LOL

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      been getting some press on that hair starting incident…lol it was a small fire, really. (the funny line would be (which actually occurred during incident) was the guy nearest me saying, ‘hey man, you hairs on fire’) lol*

      * guess you had to be there

  8. Clark,
    I read this twice. You are amazing and I love love love that you are such an great rhetorician (I had to look it up although now that feels really dumb to admit considering the base of the word but now I can say that I learned a new word today, even though its existence was a disappointment to you).
    I think my favorite line was “What kind of reality does this person live in?” I feel like that is such an important thing for everybody to remember for so many reasons. Mostly for the empathy reason though, because, as you know, I’m pretty big on that one. It’s so true that we all see things differently.
    Also, I so don’t get how a piece of tape over the master volume fixed the tape recorder thing. Whoosh, over my head that it was so easily fixed.
    And…before I go, thanks for the visual of you lighting your hair on fire while drunk in a bathroom. I can only assume that you were wasted and trying to light a doobie so that is the picture I’ll save in my head. Apologies if you were actually using a lighter for something other than getting baked back in the day.

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      lol my disappointment was that there actually was a word (though the ‘real word’ is not as fun as the one I was prepared to use)… that business of personal reality is the foundation of the Doctrine, the key to the concept (for me) is that it is possible (allowing for personal reality) for things to be different for another person. All too often we think, ‘what the hell, it’s as plain as the nose on your face, don’t you see it?’ and (for me) it is possible that no, the person is not choosing to ignore something, it (might) simply not exist. Not an easy concept for most people.

      Same here on the tape. (You know) and I know that were it one of us behind the counter…allowing that we immediately spotted the problem, we more than likely would have spent most of the time trying to get the other person to understand what was causing the problem … being oh so careful, of course, to do it in such a way as not to cause embarrassment or discomfit to them (perhaps by finding a way to take the blame? “I should have told you… this is not your fault but…”) lol but the starkly different solution of the scottian worldview just hit me in the face! (well, the fact is I did not stand there and build a sound case for what I was seeing, I did not compile the facts as I saw them… it simply happened, the world shifted. Luck… good fortune, chance insight whatever it was, the whole Wakefield Doctrine, in a sense, came into existence when he simply taped up the switch.

      nope… so messed up (at the time) lol

  9. So what was the word you wanted to use? And yes, I get that the business of personality is the foundation of the Doctrine and am still waiting on your thoughts about where autism might fit in. Because you know…you’re super smart. And YES to “it’s so obvious! like your nose, obvious!” but the fact is also, how much do we really notice our noses? They, too, are not plainly on our faces as they go unnoticed for long periods of time until one day, in the mirror, there is a foreign object* there that calls attention.

    Yeah, to the tape. All of it. I’d avoid the embarrassment, too. Although I’d like to think that I’ve grown the Scott balls over the years (sometimes only) to say “dude, it’s as easy as _____.”

    And lastly? HAHAHAH that you were just getting baked and lit your hair on fire. Am I a Clark, Scott, or Roger for thinking that’s freaking awesome????


    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      some ‘itian’ ‘oner’ built out of the word rhetoric lol (I was headed towards rhetorictian… when I came across the ‘real’ word).

      for a while there, I played with presenting the tape recorder scenario as a way to ‘test’ for scotts (and clarks and rogers). The scottian ‘solution’ is clear, the clarklike solution I kinda laid out in the last Reply the rogerian one not so sure… I need to get back to that as a project, i.e. test for personality type. But then again, right now I am really enjoying the self-selecting effect of my limited writing skills. Those of you with the intellect and flexibility to see what the Doctrine is are really fun and I still like the ‘policy’ of the individual is the one to call their own predominant worldview (even though I may know what it is) this is about not only the fun of the idea of the Doctrine, but I have not yet seen a day when I have not learned something in the process of trying to apply the Wakefield Doctrine to the world and the people I have met.

      …hey! were you around when we had the last batch of nearly free* Wakefield Doctrine docTees? I have ordered some more…let me know if you don’t already have one.

      *nearly free is a hold over from the days of the Wakefield Doctrine hats when people would send in photos of themselves wearing their hats (on their damn heads) in front of famous landmarks… I think I have a bunch of them in the Fashion Page on the blog.

  10. christine says:

    Your intro list of turning points is quite intriguing. And hilarious. I ran away once, too. It was because my sister cheated in a game we were playing and my mom wouldn’t do anything about it. I stomped off and got at least a mile from home before my mom got nervous and came after me. My parents were still married at the time, so I had to have been less than 7.
    I while I have been drunk, my hair has always been flame-free.
    As for the tape, I would have done the same thing. Of course, you probably could have predicted that. :)

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      …yes, (smiles) yes I could have. This Doctrine is a pretty amazing thing. We don’t have a ton of scotts actively reading and Commenting (for reasons that are equally anticipatable) so I hope you won’t mind.
      now…I need to figure out how to get my most recent Post to link up with the Grathop

  11. Clark –
    Now I MUST have a free* Wakefield Doctrine t-shirt.

    *I totally have to buy it, huh. If I take a picture of me wearing it will you post it?

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      lol…. now that’s ‘nearly free’ (a long standing tradtion here… collecting photos of docTees in front landmarks/laudramats/libraries remember for the more photophobic…stand-ins, torso models, inflatable devices or a simple wire hanger (so the url is readable)… or not.) I will be in touch as soon as they come in…should be fun. We’re doing an ‘improved’ version with identification on the left sleeve…. should I put you down for one ‘clark’

  12. Great post, as usual! long live that Doctrine! Thank the gods for electrical tape, what would we be reading about without that vital product? Have a good (or better) weekend! See you soon!

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      lol not as legend-worthy as an Apple falling from a tree, but I like it. lol see you on campus

  13. What really strikes me about this post is how relevant it is for me now. I know, logically, that others perceive things differently than I do, and therefore react and/or behave differently in certain circumstances. But I still find myself quite astonished almost daily at how others’ thoughts don’t align with mine. How they have a different response to hearing the exact same comment I just heard or the book I just read. Not sure if that means I’m still learning or I’m just really self-involved. :)

    • clarkscottroger clarkscottroger says:


      You have hit upon the single most (useful) thing about the Wakefield Doctrine, i.e. accounting for how different other people’s reactions/responses/perceptions can be to the ‘exact same’ situation.
      I’m glad you Commented on this point, as I have of late, been reminding myself to stress the ‘reality’ of the worldviews. The key to making the Doctrine work is to accept the idea that personalities are just that…realities. I find that the problem (our own individual conflicts that result from our effort to ‘understand’ how a person reacts to a situation, when that reaction makes no sense at all). Same situation. No sense at all.
      The thing to be careful with is the idea that ‘people perceive things differently’ This has (an) implication that there is a conscious element to a person’s choice of what to perceive. While this may be true, the strength of the Doctrine’s worldviews is that it holds that the reality is different. That the person (that we are trying to understand) isn’t being difficult, or contrary or stubborn, rather it is the reality that they are witnessing that accounts for (some) of these mis-alignments.
      Having said all that, I am not saying that the Wakefield Doctrine will account for all reality dissonance, but it is a useful tool.
      and it’s fun!
      …and we will soon have new edition docTees!