Susan & Grant

My wife Susan Sargent is "one of them." One of those people who will do the most insane things to make sure she never has to backtrack when she's going from point A to point B. For example, I'll take a flight "backwards" a few hundred miles from point A if it allows a connection that will make it easier to get to point B. She'd sooner die.

Turns out Susan has some good company. I just read a short, marvelous book on one of my heroes, U.S. Grant. (Michael Korda, Ulysses S. Grant.) Consider this snippet: "This [adolescent] incident [of getting from point A to point B] is notable not only because it underlines Grant's fearless horsemanship and his determination, but also it is the first known example of a very important peculiarity of his character: Grant had an extreme, almost phobic dislike of turning back and retracing his steps. If he set out for somewhere, he would get there somehow, whatever the difficulties that lay in his way. This idiosyncrasy would turn out to be one of the factors that made him such a formidable general. Grant would always, always press on—turning back was not an option for him."

Guess I'd better pay more attention to Susan's "peculiarity."