Saturday, July 02, 2005

Unready Heroes

A lifetime of steady schooling: alphabet-rotes, number recital, history's dates, cake-baking, fuse-fixing, slow-dancing, how we are born and grow and age and die - didn't ready you for the naked facts of our Consent Form.

A lifetime of educated modesty: closing your bedroom door, covering your body, segregating girls from boys, separate facilities for men and women, learned euphemisms for your body's functions - didn't ready you for our free inspection of your daily portapotti.

A lifetime of careless risk-taking: climbing trees, jaywalking streets, diving rock-pools, floating to sea, driving fast cars, flying airplanes, rash rollercoaster thrill-seeking - didn't ready you for the chill reality of this life challenge.

A lifetime of practicing precaution: sheltering from harm, not overdoing it, running in the middle of the pack, getting by with the least amount of effort, okay grades without too much distinction - didn't ready you for our accolades of this your hero's role.

John Graham-Pole, MD, University of Florida, Professor of Pediatrics