What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Part 8-The End?

I thought about my grandfather leaving high school to help support his family. Out of basic necessity he rode the New Deal out to Utah to poison prairie dogs and put food on the table. Then he was out on a coastguard cutter patrolling the North Atlantic for German U-boats. He just did what he had to do. Choice never entered into it.

Was he denied the possibility of reaching his full potential, or did he lead a happy, industrious life without the torture of trying to actualize himself. Now my little family was out of money. I had thrown away a perfectly acceptable career. I was out of energy, out of ideas. I was numb.

When Hatbox Louie returned from work on the second day of my sit-down strike, I announced that I was going to find a residency where I could finish my training. It was a job. It seemed the only one for which I was qualified. It is actually a pretty bad job. Eighty or ninety grueling hours a week. I think if you work it out, medical residents make less than minimum wage. It didn’t matter. It was something. I queried dozens of hospitals for openings in the second year of their programs.

Three days later, I got a message on my answering machine. It was a hospital in North Carolina with a second year position open due to an untimely pregnancy in one of their house staff.

I’ll be damned. All aboard. “Welcome back on the conventionality express! How was your trip? Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Buckle up now, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

I was crawling back on my hands and knees. I had failed. The yoke was back on. Yet, I had a job, a respectable position, and it felt as if a crushing pressure had been instantly dissipated. Like a screaming in my head had suddenly stopped, leaving only that light ringing sound you hear after leaving a rock concert. I could support us and regain my self-respect. The skies began to clear. I was going to be a somebody again. I was back in the world’s good graces and by god it felt good.

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Published in: on November 27, 2006 at 10:27 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hilarious and heartbreaking story! If David Sedaris were a dissatisfied physician, he would be Doctor Nostrum!

  2. Well,

    You are too kind. One really only aspires to a fraction of the Sedaris facility, but thank you. It’s amazing how much easier it is to write about things that actually happened to you and were full of emotional turmoil and angst. If you have to go through tough things, as we all do, at least it contributes to our depth of character. Cold comfort. Thanks again for the kind response, Dr. Nostrum

  3. I don’t feel as lonely…Wow it’s as if someone is writing my thoughts. Bravo! Great writing!

  4. Thanks egg. That’s great to hear.


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