OMG, I got a “C” in Organic Chemistry. My teacher’s nickname was “The Velvet Screw, and he lived up to it. A “C” was reason enough to commit Hari Kari.  Grades came easy to me (with one exception we will discuss later.)  My score was 85.7 and 86 was a “B”. The Velvet Screw held his ground explaining that in science, an 85.7 was clearly not an 86. While I argued that a “C” was the kiss of death, my professor reassured me that I would survive.

In fact, I stayed on the Honor Roll all 4 years in a row at the U (University of Virginia.  During my years in college, there were no learning disorders or ADD.  Even though I was never diagnosed with a learning disorder, I had one. While I did well with single subject short tests, I did horriblly with aptitude tests.  I scored in the 14th percentile in English on the MCATs.   The Dean I met with wanted to know how I passed my courses given that I didn’t speak English. I applied to the best southern schools (Uva, Duke, Emory) as I was sure I would get in.  Being cocky with less than stellar MCATs and a “C” was a formula for failure and so I found myself going home to work my AAA pool business and reapply again the next year.

My mother had other plans for me. She insisted that I stay in school and get a graduate degree.  There was no arguing with her, so I found myself teaching medical students in Anatomy.  My life as an anatomy student was untenable.  First, people moved away from me on the bus. I smelled like formaldehyde.   The Anatomy department reminded me of Hitler.  At the end of my first year, I caught a break.  The chairman of the department told me I wasn’t invited back.  I was as happy as if I had won the lottery.

My only problem was how I would approach the subject with my mother. I had heard about Mexican medical schools and soon was enrolled in La Universidad de Autonoma de Guadalajara, a 4 year medical in Guadalajara.  My mother took the news fine and a month later I found myself driving to Mexico.

Mexico taught me the one thing US schools would not have taught me, HUMILITY!  Oh, yes. I also learned how to survive with a military tank’s barrel aimed directly at me.  It was an eventful drive into Guadalajara. I was doing about 110 mph on a straight stretch through the desert when I noted what appeared to be a massive car coming towards me. Turns out it was a tank parked in the middle of the highway.  I stopped! The tank’s owner was the Mexican National Guard, and, for the cost of all of my underwear I got to continue on to the Big G. After that event, I placed all of my underwear in Nestle’s Quick chocolate powder AND COATED IT LIBERALLY. The boarder guard never took my underwear again.

Today’s joke (noy funny at the time):

Tank commander: “Hey, gringo.  I bet mine is bigger than yours.”

Gringo, as my bladder emptied: “Yeah, but I bet mine can water the roadside better than yours.

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