Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lifetime Achievement

At the age of 83, he had successfully performed over 5,000 laminectomies.  Although his spine had begun to curve downwards at the base of his neck and his thinning hair had faded to a bone white, the spinal neurosurgeon spoke with the confidence of a thirty-something CEO.

"I want to thank my teachers and my professors," he began, "for without them, my career would not have happened or taken flight.  It is because of them that I was able to practice and learn the skills to perform the laminectomies as successfully as I have been able to do.  I also want to thank my patients for trusting me with their lives, in that they had the confidence to put their lives and illnesses in my hands to attempt to remedy their pains."

Not too shabby, the Boy thought to himself, he's modest.  He didn't let his pride get to his head too much.  He sat in the tenth row, third from stage right, but the Boy had a clear view of the neurosurgeon.  Normally, such a distance from the main attraction would have immediately resulted in the Boy dozing off.  In this case, he inhaled every word the man said.  The neurosurgeon's speech continued, and so did the Boy's thoughts.

This is incredible.  Maybe this is the point where I'm inspired to become a doctor.  There are a bunch of performers here who are also doctors.  This must be a sign of the life I want to have one day, right?

The Boy's internal monologue paused for a moment to listen to the neurosurgeon.

"But most importantly, I want to apologize to my wife and children."  The already quiet audience had ceased to whisper among themselves; the cheery tone of the room had turned sour, tasted melancholic, and  decorated with a small sprig of regret.  "They stood by my side, said it was okay, let me miss very important dances, anniversaries, and sports games just so I could choose my profession over them.  How many times did I neglect them just so I could go to work?"

The question hung in the air like a corpse on the gallows.  Accordingly, the Boy held his breath and wrinkled his nose.

On second thought...

-| two weeks ago |-

"This Friday, there's going to be a convention for international spinal surgeons and I've been invited to perform a traditional dance,"  Raksha said, finishing practice, "Actually, there are going to be other performers too."

He breathes heavily, the cramp in his thighs twisting tighter and tighter from the stomps, squats, jumps, and spins he's repeated in the past hour and a half.  Dancing about the joys of nature and honoring Lord Shiva takes a surprisingly high toll on the stringy body of our hero.

"In order to perform in this convention, you have to be a practicing doctor and a performing artist."

His ears itch at the mention of this detail, and he stares at the living room adorned with gods of clay or precious metal, candid photographs of the dancer, and her incredibly melancholic cat, Shibu.  Raksha continues.

"There's going to be a spinal surgeon who plays the veena [an instrument used by the goddess of knowledge Saraswati], a breast cancer surgeon who also is a singer, and a pediatrician who plays the violin."

Our hero asks two things: the first, if it's wrong to desperately want to become a doctor/performer after learning about this mysterious super-breed of human; and the second, what the hell it is he's going to do with his life.  Again, Raksha doesn't miss a beat [pun].

"You know what you're going to do already.  You're just a little confused now because all of these options keep appearing.  You'll realize it when the time comes."

Here's to hoping.


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