Saturday, July 21, 2007

Student Health Center

Somewhere back in my early twenties, I worked at night at a university student medical center. I answered the few phone calls and otherwise filed the medical records that had been pulled during the day.

I recall that I read my girlfriend's file one time after she'd been pestering them for birth control pills and the uncooperative doctor had written in her file, "Same song, 2nd verse." She was amused, but mortified, when I told her about that. Needless to say, she didn't go back to that doctor.

When I became friends with one of the student interns who slept on-site (top floor of the building) because they were on call for the late-night hours, I learned not to worry too much about the girls who "over-dosed". I was told that most of them had OD'ed on aspirins and that most of them had only taken enough to get an upset stomach, not enough to expire from! It was sort of sad when you think about it, but not as sad as if they'd been successful. There were no "successes" while I was there.

I also remember the late night custodian, a stout young man with curly black hair. He was a little bit retarded, but very muscular; one was not inclined to get on his bad side! But he was mostly affable and not a problem for me. Maybe he was on lithium, for all I knew. Something kept him calm. I was invited to see him get married soon after I quit that job, but somehow I overslept (I did that a lot) and just didn't make it to his wedding. And then never saw him again. I think I feel more guilty about that these days than I did at the time. I vaguely remember the plump young woman he married. She also worked at the health center, maybe on a different shift. So I guess I can feel doubly embarrassed, if I feel anything at all. Of course, by this time I ought to feel less, not more, but when you get old, there's no telling what foolish things will seem the most foolish to us. Of course, by now I no longer remember the names of the young bride and groom. I am and should be very embarrassed about that, too, I guess.

But how can one be bothered to care about things that happened more than 35 years ago? Because it's MY life, I guess, and one that's still meaningful to me, no matter how poor my memory. Sometimes I need to treat these episodes like fiction, you know, because the names and the details have begun to leak out of my brain. They've been leaking for a long time now. I remember a starkly plain-faced young woman from a few years later; she had the best body I'd ever seen once I got her clothes off. I'd never imagined she would look so good! Jesus, what a fox! I guess it goes to show that my not paying attention to detail started a long time ago. What's worse (is it?) I don't remember her name, either. I've been trying to remember it for 10 or 15 years now and I'm beginning to think that it's gone completely. By now, I've reviewed every female name in the universe and none of them have lit any light bulb over my head! Maybe I should just christen her Ariadne and forget about the truth?

"There must be some kind of way out of here,"
Said the joker to the thief. B. Dylan


  1. A very enjoyable us just a little more on which to judge you!

  2. Well, have fun. You think I don't know you'e there?

  3. Nice post Ron. It is the stories of our lives that make the greatest stories.

  4. Good stuff, Ron - I enjoyed reading it.

    But listen: you must stop with the "when you get old" BS. Really! Repeat after me, this mantra

    "I am not old, I will never be old, age is an illusion"


  5. My symptoms are not psychological. Maybe 5 years ago I would have thought it'd take ten or more years before I'd feel this undone. But now I am undone.

  6. When stuff starts leaking out of your brain is when things get interesting. It's more fun to make up the details than to remember them.

  7. Shhh! Don't tell! As if there aren't enough people around who know I'm a lying sonofabitch!


Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)