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Flying High

by Casey White
May 23, 2002

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Flying High_Casey White- Almost a graduate from a major state university, this 21 year old Arabic man was full of life, full of talk, and full of stories. He had an eager listener in the seat beside him, a female senior of Asian descent from the same campus, also full of life and talk. Although their parents had immigrated to the U.S., these two showed no verbal signs of being anything but American. Slang was slung. Flirts were flung.

These coeds were in the row behind me on a turbo-prop commuter jet recently, and from the moment we took off until the moment we landed, there was not one moment of silence. It was as if this opportunity to chat would only occur once, and they should get every topic covered before deplaning, just in case they never saw one another again. No, not one moment of rest for the weary travelers in the aft.

The glib pair started off with a discovery of both being pre-med, and having nearly finished their preparatory science courses, and having achieved good scores on their MCATs, they were both in the process of visiting the best medical schools near and wide. Smart. Very smart. Full of life. Full of promise.

After discussing the faculty at their current institution, their finals and final papers soon due, and after a cross-check of mutual acquaintances and evaluations of same, they settled into the other flights and trips each one had taken. It seems the young man had recently spent Spring Break in Europe with friends, and wound up in Geneva with the wrong crowd. Embarrassed, but not too embarrassed to loudly tell the story, he described how he had been at a party and had taken a hit of strange weed from a local he didn't know. It was apparently laced with something quite a bit more powerful than dope, because he immediately felt a throbbing head and a racing heart. He had trouble walking, and fell as he made his way to the hotel lobby. He truly felt as though he would die, and used a phone to call for an ambulance. In fact, he called a second time, thinking he had only imagined the first call in his drug-induced frenzy. Dumb. Very dumb. Not so full of life. Not so full of promise.

He did make it through this unknown state, and walked out of the hospital a half-day later after sleeping it off. This would-be doctor got an unexpected lesson, but did he learn from it? And will he make a good doctor?

"Hey, I know it was a stupid thing to do... but everyone over there drinks and smokes and does drugs," he explained. His new friend giggled agreement, and they quickly went on to other pressing matters.

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Flying High
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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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