Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I shoulda' been a writer.............

Do people ever ask for your help in writing letters? I get that once in awhile (Chinamommy)and it always starts with a whiny "Chris, you're so good at this...could you help me...." To which I reply, "Oh thank God, another opportunity to prove my value to the world...Please, let me write three!" I might have some self worth issues...Or not, I like me...just not naked.

So my friend at work was in despair. Her genius son who could dissect a molecule in his sleep had only one fault (well, more to her but she expects a lot, just ask her co-worker) he writes like he talks and he talks like a surfer dude. Kyle needed a letter for his application to medical school. A worthy cause.

Accepting my mission I was presented with an example letter from a different medical school applicee (not sure that's a word but I can't dissect a molecule either, awake or asleep)and was told what a wonderful reception it had received. Apparently the golden gates swung open and palm fronds were laid down for this kid. How would Kyle ever compete?

So I read it. First my face scrunched up like it does when I bite into a pickle. I looked at them, they nodded a keep going it gets better nod, I looked at them again, they were serious. I pretended I was, too. OK, I said, I think we've got this. Seriously, folks, it started like this...

A Peruvian boy lay bleeding on the gurney of this third world hospital...
and then it went on extolling how this young man's eyes had been open to his good fortune of being born in America where in he had superior medical care, teaching and learning facilities available to him. But it read like a quickly written, thirty minute soap opera. It was so bad that it became funny to me. I cackled. I was lit from within by a fire! I would expose this charlatan medical student turned writer for the charlatan tear jerker he was.

Later that evening my co-worker and her son received the following through the miracle of e-mail. It was my version of Kyle's Official Letter of Application. I am pretty sure its what got him in. I even included a true childhood story of theirs for authenticity.

A small Peruvian boy was losing blood. Doctors could not identify the source. As a new intern on the floor of this third world hospital I was left wondering. Wondering what would ever become of this boy? Why couldn’t someone, anyone just do something, anything to stop the bleeding? Realizing that I, Kyle (name witheld for Chris's safety), medical student, was having a moment of self discovery, I paused. I paused to wonder what had brought about this moment of self absorption at this in -opportune moment, while the small Peruvian boy still lay bleeding.

It must have been that connection to all that blood spurting out of that small Peruvian boy. I remembered a not so long ago time when I, too, was covered in blood. Not my blood, of course, I would have surely have died by now, once again , causing me to wonder just how did that one, small Peruvian boy have so much fortitude as to not have bled out by now? But I digress, yes, once as a small boy myself, although not Peruvian, I was in a similar situation.

Blood was everywhere. On the walls, covering my new microscope, covering my fish, even on my atlas, turned to Australia, where I had hoped to find an Aborigine wife in the near future. I had just had it. I mean had it. Had it with the nagging. “Kyle get your hair cut” “How do you ever expect to get accepted into little league with all that hair?” Have you sent out your letters of application to the coaches yet? You only have two more years to get them in! Why are you sleeping? Do you think a new day starts after every night? And what is up with that hair? I mean really?” So there I was. Even at just a mere four years old I knew I had to do something. I had to strike a blow for all young boys against parents who wanted too much.

I grabbed my plastic wiffle bat and held on tight. I rounded up for the big swing. When it came I don’t think my mother had any idea of what just collided with her eyeball. It was my screams that vibrate in my head to this day. Yes, blood was everywhere and I was screaming like my sister. My dear mother’s eyeball was hanging out bouncing around as if it were attached by crazy string. Even then I felt a strong curiosity as to the anatomy of the human body. How long could it continue to dangle? Would those nerves lose their elasticity? Could we just scoop up her eye and all those tendrils and just shove it back into the socket? I was willing to try except for the fact that I was just a small boy, screaming my American head off.

As my mother calmed me I began to wonder about my higher calling. She pressed a towel up against her eyeball, tendril and socket and then another as that filled with gooey blood. She hustled us to the car and lectured us all the while about using every situation as a learning experience. Her voice still echoes in my ears even over my own screams. I credit her with my drive and ambition as I haven’t slept a full night since. Not because of the guilt I know I should feel, but because of the ring tone of her cell phone as she calls me to ask me about my hair.

Back at the third world hospital filled with Peruvians, I was jolted into action. I grabbed that small boy by his scrawny underfed, malnourished shoulders and yelled into his Peruvian face “stop crying you sissy boy- before I pee all over you!” Well, at first he just seemed shocked at my tone. Then as the interpreter told his parents and him what I had said he seemed afraid. I am not sure what happened next as his not so small Peruvian father grabbed me by my American shoulders and hustled me out of the hospital and threw me into a dumpster filled with McDonald’s trash and medical waste. As I crawled out, picked off used needles and munched on a couple of old fries I knew then what my path in life was.

I hope you will consider my enclosed application to become a fry cook favorably. It would make my mother very happy. I am not willing at this time to cut my hair but would consider wearing a hair net.

Kyle (name withheld to keep me safe from liability)

So today, Kyle is taking his boards. (Yeah, I know, where's he taking them to, right?) I hope he does well. As I have mentioned to him several times now, I hope he specializes in cosmetic and plastic surgery. And, I hope he gets done quickly so I can use his skills to my advantage before its too late! Congrats Kyle! (and congrats on the upcoming nuptials to that great girl, pretty good for a surfer dude!)


  1. i should have had you write a letter TO a dr. asking him to marry me when I was 23, but alas... that dream is gone, gone....GONE! Oh well, Salt of the Earth makes a darn good husband!
    You are an awesome writer and I'm sure my days of using you as such are not over...
    your twin

  2. That's quite all right- I'm sure I'll be calling you for computer advice again real soon and I know you can't wait- did you really mean it when you said you were going to stick a fork in my eye? You didn't did you?

  3. I love it! I get asked to edit papers and crap all the time, but no one has asked me to write or check something that really matters. I guess as an English teacher, I am only given so much credit for creativity. However, it appears your doors are wide open!

  4. Mel, my doors are wide open but no-one's home!


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