My Epitaph

If you don't question everything, you will know nothing and believe anything!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Autobiographical excerpt from Chapter 2

He has always had a quick wit, with a very unique sense of humor.  Don’t ever call him a smart-ass because he will robotically respond that his ass is just as dumb as the rest of him.  More than once he has told bad jokes as a patient in hospitals!  He has said to more than one x-ray technician “You’re about to see a side of me that not many women have seen before!”, while pretending to sniffle and sob.

While in the hospital, as a fourteen year-old, with encephalitis (a viral inflammation of the brain), his I.V. tubing had come undone, covering him in its fluid, in the middle of the night.  The third shift nurses on his floor, when summoned by his call button, called in a specialist.  There was a third-shift specialist nurse, whose specialty was setting I.V.s, in veins.  When she arrived and began addressing the problem at hand he asked “Excuse me ma’am, did you go to Harvard?”  
She replied “No. Why?”

“I just wanted to know if you were from the Ivy (I.V.) League?” was his punch-line, as he saw his blood dripping out the back of a tube and turned to vomit, again.   It was the first, and only time, that seeing his own blood caused a reaction, but it was also the only time he has seen his blood dripping out the wrong side of a tube.  However, this one episode is the one he cites as just how a sense of humor can help you through tough times.  The ability to laugh at life when it is beating you down is an asset many fail to possess because most fail to be able to laugh at themselves.  Encephalitis, in 1985, was still one of the top 10 killers in the third world, before E-bola and AIDS surpassed it.  It is from this episode that has made him fail to care if you enjoy his witticisms, he states them for his enjoyment.  
All his life people had either loved or hated him; there has not been much grey area.  But, it has been many years since he has cared whether someone loves him or hates him; he will be true to himself.  However, he can understand why some people chose to hate him, that is their choice!  But he respects them for having the balls to make a choice, versus being undecided.  This only added to his mass appeal, for even those that hated him had no other option but to respectfully disagree.  He treated them with respect and love, and they either reacted foolishly and lost face to their own followers, or they hated him even more because he forced civility out of his enemies.  Not to mention how many times he could fluster someone with his wit; it is hard to really hate someone that still is a smart-ass to ad hominem attacks.
And it was from that quick wit that he sources as the origin of the greatest compliment he has ever been given.  Words that have helped to cement the ideas in his young head and forge his unique direction.  While working aboard the M.V. Nantucket Clipper (passenger capacity 100) on her winter tour of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, on his last cruise aboard the Nantucket, about half the ship was booked with John Hopkins alumni, the other half was filled with alumni from Harvard.  It is from a Harvard alumnus that he was paid this compliment during the very last lunch service while delivering the last dish, an old man grabbed him by the wrist and started with the following compliment:
“In all the years since I met my wife, I have only seen a handful of people have a quicker wit than her.  And you, young man, have left her speechless more in this past week than I have ever seen anyone leave her speechless.  
“We all did what we were supposed to do.  We fought in the war (WWII), came home, and took the G.I. Bill to go to school.  We met our wives, raised our families, had our careers, made our money and retired only to try and spend some of it before we die.
“But you, we all agree,” as he points to his fellow alumnus around the table, “if you keep doing it your way, you will make far more than any of us ever dreamed possible.”
It was one of the few times he has ever been left speechless, with the exception of a humble thanks.  But those words were etched on his soul, and so he continued to march to his own drums, in his own space.  His destiny would unfold itself as he progressed through his life.  He turned 27 while working aboard the M.V. Clipper Adventurer, and he openly states that if he had pursued the dream of rock and roll in his twenties, he would probably have met that 27 overdose curse.

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