Each time I sit down to write about my journey from student to doc and from doc to patient, I struggle to figure out how it all fits together. Every time I figure out how the pieces of my life come together, I realize there is more to the picture and set about rearranging them again. So, why is writing about my journey so important?
According to Merriam-Webster, a mentor is “a trusted counselor or guide.” Each of us has the capability of mentoring others. At each stage of my life, I’ve been lucky enough to find a mentor who guided me safely through that stage and passed me off to the next mentor as my journey progressed. It’s time to pay back all the gifted people who served as my guides and support by putting our story on paper. It is my fervent hope that this book will both encourage my readers to mentor others and to find mentors of their own.
When I look back over the years, I realize that I traversed a minefield and only survived by the grace of God. At the age of 17, my friend and I would take his 16 foot Boston Whaler out into the Chesapeake Bay and, occasionally from there, into the Atlantic Ocean. No one knew where we were. Our gear consisted of 4 lifejackets and a can of gas. We didn’t have a radio or charts; we just hugged the shoreline. Insane? Of course, it was but those were different times. Parents didn’t hover. Once old enough to have a real bike, I could go everywhere; and I did. My range was approximately 5 miles but occasionally I went further.
When I was 16, I got my first car. Believe it or not, my range increased to 300 miles as I spent weekends in Richmond with my best friend and dated in High Point, NC. I had no mentor during my early years. I had parents who were very liberal and, metaphorically, blind. My first speeding ticket was in a stock Olds 88 in excess of 100 mph. My father had the speedometer shop first break the speedometer, then repair it, and then certify that it was broken. The judge stated, “Mr. Segal, even with a broken speedometer, your son should have known he was going too fast.” He took my license for 90 days.
My second ticket was for running a stop sign. My dad successfully fixed that one and the next. My dad taught me how to fix things. Thus was born my nickname, “Milo” (the fixer in “Catch 22”).
In today’s world, my parents would have been jailed for child neglect. They were good, hard working parents of a different era. The lack of guidance gave me a lot of room to mess up and get hurt. It also gave me the confidence that I would need as life became more complex. I was lucky to survive my pre-college years.
My first mentor showed up in college.
Enough for today. Here’s your joke.
A wife arrived home after a long shopping trip and was horrified to find her husband of more than 10 years in bed with a beautiful, younger woman.
She was about to storm out of the house, but her husband stopped her. He wanted to explain the circumstances that le
d to them being in bed together.
“Before you leave, I want you to hear how this all came about. Driving home, I saw this young girl, looking poor and tired, I offered her a ride.”
He explained that she was hungry, so he brought her home and fed her some of the roast in the fridge that his wife had forgotten about. He continued:
“Her shoes were worn out so I gave her a pair of your shoes you didn’t wear because they were out of style.”
The woman was freezing from being out in the chilly weather for so long, so the husband gave her the new birthday sweater his wife never wore. He said:
“Her slacks were worn out so I gave her a pair of yours that you don’t fit into anymore. Then as she was about to leave the house, she paused and asked, ‘Is there anything else that your wife doesn’t use anymore?’ “And so, here we are!”