Harvard

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“I got low self-esteem.”

It is a surprisingly common initial complaint for new patients, especially younger ones.

If they make it to my office, folks often think a medication is going to fix this.  What the folks who complain about this are more likely to get, from me at least, is a response more like “Sorry, honey, if I had a pill for low self-esteem, I would have sold it out years ago.” Read more on …

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I really don’t know what is real and what is not, in this list of accusations of Donald Trump. I know for sure he has silly-looking hair and I would not want to learn anything from him about hair.

There is a big business teaching people how to make money.  My husband and I have studied this with some of the big gurus, in public auditoriums and oversized mansions in Las Vegas.  I think some, although not famous, are ethical.

I do know that we have been followers of those who “sell information” and make money.  I have a lot of information that the world ought to know and I remember my amusement when I first learned it was possible to charter a university in California for only $5000, which does not seem like a totally unobtainable sum. Read more on The Rich Really Are Rotten…

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Perusing the internet, I am overwhelmed with people doing “weird” things.  But how do we define what is weird, when it is weird, and why it is weird?

I remember seeing the movie Fiddler on the Roof when I was quite young.  I shuddered when I heard the song “Tradition,” because it was evident, even then, that descriptions of the way people should or should not be caused a whole lot of pain.  The particular tradition that drove poor Tevye to hell and back was getting three daughters married off and being Jewish, which required dowries and Jewish grooms.

My parents attempted to receive my husband — who at that time called himself “the goy next door” and was willing to wear a yamelke and articulate a few words of yiddish he had learned from Mad Magazine.  But you could tell that this was a problem for them.  An eventuality I found just excellent in my life and which I credit with an uncommon level of happiness. I can say now that my marriage is happier than theirs ever was, at least from all that I saw.  Part of this comes from my willingness to ignore a tradition they took as dogma. Read more on The Rights of Individuals to Punish Each Other…

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Several conversations fly into my mind, separated widely in time and space, about what college is supposed to mean and do. I remember one of the few social outings of my college years, a cocktail party with other advanced chemistry students and a few professors, where mostly everyone but me was drunk. We were at the house of a chemistry professor of Kiwi (New Zealand) origin, who was probably the drunkest of the lot.

Another chemistry professor asked me why I was in college.  I told him, with sober placidity, that I was simply doing the things I had to do before I got to medical school — medicine being my passion. He launched into a tirade about how I was in college in order to learn.  I should learn all I could about anything I could because this would be the last chance in my life to do so, before I went into that sickly-overblown trade school that is medical school, where I would be restricted to learning things that would make me more money. During my childhood, my father rhapsodized about his Harvard experience and how he wanted me to have one equally fulfilling — hopefully at Harvard. Growing up in Harvard it is not hard to generate negative feelings about perceived elitism, more financial than intellectual, dominated by a heavy veneer of snobbery, which my father joyously promulgated.

I was busy spending most of youth being overweight and thus largely a social pariah. Unfortunately, I got little recognition for these twin achievements – unlike the deliciously funny portrait of “Overweight Achievers” in Woody Allen’s film “Celebrity.” Read more on Is College A Waste of Time?…

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On A Cat Aging
by Sir Alexander Gray

He blinks upon the hearth-rug
And yawns in deep content,
Accepting all the comforts
That Providence has sent.

Louder he purrs and louder,
In one glad hymn of praise
For all the night’s adventures,
For quiet, restful days.

Life will go on forever,
With all that cat can wish;
Warmth, and the glad procession
Of fish and milk and fish.

Only – the thought disturbs him –
He’s noticed once or twice,
That times are somehow breeding
A nimbler race of mice.

Merlin the wizard from King Arthur

MERLIN

I loved Merlin – King Arthur’s court wizard — when I was a kid and that was just about the time that Disney came out with “The Sword in the Stone.”

WOW – nearly 50 years ago!

Later I was to love the Arthurian legend in many deep and symbolic ways — love it so much that for a long time I kept a light-up, plug-in sword which was (actually, fairly easily) removed from a plastic pseudo-crystalline rainbow light-shooting stone.  Doing so didn’t make me a queen of anything, though.

It is almost impossible, I think, to be human and anything more than partially literate without knowing the splendor of the Arthurian legend.

Fast forward to the present, and I am a wizard in my own way – a doctor. I wanted every patient to have the smiling sense of the Arthurian splendor that I had when I pulled that ersatz sword from the ersatz stone.  Most of them did, until that piece, like many dear to me, was lost in a series of moves.

Read more on Of Mice And Men And The Fountain Of Youth…

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