I found the article "What Should I Do With My Life?" in a recent issue of Fast Company rather compelling. The beginning of a new year seems like a good time to mention it. Others may be thinking the same things I have been.

I'm going to quote from it heavily because I think it says a lot of things that need to be said. But I'm not going to go into all the things that have been bothering me lately. That'll be later...

I'm convinced that business success in the future starts with the question, What should I do with my life? Yes, that's right. The most obvious and universal question on our plates as human beings is the most urgent and pragmatic approach to sustainable success in our organizations. People don't succeed by migrating to a "hot" industry ( one word: dotcom ) or by adopting a particular career-guiding mantra ( remember "horizontal careers"? ). They thrive by focusing on the question of who they really are -- and connecting that to work that they truly love ( and, in so doing, unleashing a productive and creative power that they never imagined ). Companies don't grow because they represent a particular sector or adopt the latest management approach. They win because they engage the hearts and minds of individuals who are dedicated to answering that life question.

All I can say about that is that it just seems right. Who would really argue with it? Not me.

The article goes on to mention something that I've noticed far too much of: people who clearly aren't living (and working) up to their potential for various reasons...

There are far too many smart, educated, talented people operating at quarter speed, unsure of their place in the world, contributing far too little to the productive engine of modern civilization. There are far too many people who look like they have their act together but have yet to make an impact. You know who you are. It comes down to a simple gut check: You either love what you do or you don't. Period.

But worse yet, I worry that I'm one of them. The notion of "operating at quarter speed" seem to describe me pretty well a lot of the time. That goes hand-in-hand with the next observation.

Those who are lit by that passion are the object of envy among their peers and the subject of intense curiosity. They are the source of good ideas. They make the extra effort. They demonstrate the commitment. They are the ones who, day by day, will rescue this drifting ship. And they will be rewarded. With money, sure, and responsibility, undoubtedly. But with something even better too: the kind of satisfaction that comes with knowing your place in the world. We are sitting on a huge potential boom in productivity -- if we could just get the square pegs out of the round holes.

It's really been a while since I felt compelled to make the extra effort. I'm sure sure if that's the result of changes in the last year or so. Maybe it's just frustration resulting from the organizational supidity and crap I've had to deal with recently.

Throughout the 1990s, my basic philosophy was this: Work=Boring, but Work+Speed+Risk=Cool. Speed and risk transformed the experience into something so stimulating, so exciting, so intense, that we began to believe that those qualities defined "good work." Now, betrayed by the reality of economic uncertainty and global instability, we're casting about for what really matters when it comes to work.

I can totally see where the Work+Speed+Risk=Cool equation comes from. I've been thinking it during much of my [short] working career so far.

On the issue of figuring out what job, role, or career is really the right one...

Your calling isn't something you inherently "know," some kind of destiny. Far from it. Almost all of the people I interviewed found their calling after great diffculty. They had made mistakes before getting it right. For instance, the catfish farmer used to be an investment banker, the truck driver had been an entertainment lawyer, a chef had been an academic, and the police officer was a Harvard MBA. Everyone discovered latent talents that weren't in their skill sets at age 25.


Most of us don't get epiphanies. We only get a whisper -- a faint urge. That's it. That's the call. It's up to you to do the work of discovery, to connect it to an answer. Of course, there's never a single right answer. At some point, it feels right enough that you choose, and the energy formerly spent casting about is now devoted to making your choice fruitful.

That bothers me. A lot. I've always felt a little smarter than the pack when it came to selecting a career. Why? Back in college, I never changed my major. In fact, I've been reasonably sure of what I wanted to do for a long, long time. I just never considered anything else. I liked what I was doing.

Recently, however, some things have caused that to change. Some of my older passions and ideas have resurfaced and they're making me question what I'm doing now. (More on that some other time...)

So, why do we end up in the wrong situations?

The funny thing is that most people have good instincts about where they belong but make poor choices and waste productive years on the wrong work. Why we do this cuts to the heart of the question, What should I do with my life? These wrong turns hinge on a small number of basic assumptions that have ruled our working lives, career choices, and ambitions for the better part of two decades.

The first one, of course, is money:

It turns out that having the financial independence to walk away rarely triggers people to do just that. The reality is, making money is such hard work that it changes you. It takes twice as long as anyone plans for. It requires more sacrifices than anyone expects. You become so emotionally invested in that world -- and psychologically adapted to it -- that you don't really want to ditch it.

Yeah, I really want to get a house again. But it's hard. It's going to require a lot of time and sacrifice. Everytime I've considered doing something else (meaning: change jobs), I worry about the house dream. How will I ever afford a house if I take a lower paying job? Crap like that.

And on the value systems involved, something I hadn't considered...

One of the most common mistakes is not recognizing how these value systems will shape you. People think that they can insulate themselves, that they're different. They're not. The relevant question in looking at a job is not What will I do? but Who will I become? What belief system will you adopt, and what will take on heightened importance in your life? Because once you're rooted in a particular system -- whether it's medicine, New York City, Microsoft, or a startup -- it's often agonizingly difficult to unravel yourself from its values, practices, and rewards. Your money is good anywhere, but respect and status are only a local currency. They get heavily discounted when taken elsewhere. If you're successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and opportunity can lock you in forever.

Very good point: respect and status are only a local currency. I had never thought about it in those terms, but I always knew it. ("If I change jobs, how do I convince my new employer that I'm really good at [this] or [that]? This is all taken for granted now because people know me.")

Anyway, I enjoyed the article and feel like it's talking to me. Maybe it'll say something to you too.

Posted by jzawodn at January 01, 2003 09:52 AM

Reader Comments
# john said:

Oh man does this hit home. I was the IT Director for a small software company (~$40M). I had a breadth of responsibilities and opportunities that I really enjoyed. One day I might be helping someone configure a router the next writing some .ASP code and the next doing a presentation to some executives. This breadth fueled my creativity and enjoyment for my job.

After we were acquired I took a much more vertical position as Director of Enterprise CRM Solutions, which means I'm pretty much focused on one thing, albeit for a bigger company.

I think I need the breadth.

on January 1, 2003 04:37 PM
# Frank Ruscica said:

Excerpted from Follow This Path, by The Gallup Organization:

"[Gallup's] hundreds of studies proved time after time that talent makes a huge impact on profitable growth across every major type of occupation and industry...Superior performers...follow their instincts and thereby identify and develop their specialties. [Given the current modi operandi of education and corporate training] almost always they do this on their own."

Other key research findings are:

-- Creativity is a better predictor of achievement than intelligence (source: Torrance)

-- Creativity takes shape at the intersection of creativity skills, domain knowledge and intrinsic motivation (source: Amabile)

So, while the article's research is anecdotal, the core thesis is 100% correct: people thrive by focusing on the question of who they really are -- and connecting that to work that they truly love (and, in so doing, unleashing a productive and creative power that they never imagined).

Maybe HotJobs could benefit from some (JZawods-masterminded) features that reflect this ;^)

on January 1, 2003 05:08 PM
# Dan Isaacs said:

I agree with the thesis. However, I've yet to find someone willing to pay me for taking naps.

on January 1, 2003 06:34 PM
# Henry said:

I agree entirely with the thesis of this article. I manage a small IT department with several disciplines (networking, servers, application development). Some of them prefer breadth, others depth. I try to give them some control over that while making certain they reach organizational goals.

So what frustrates them (and, by extension, me) about their jobs? The number one reason that it isn't fun at times is when they work their butts off for a business goal that 1) isn't recognized by senior management and 2) is obviated by a senior management decision that reverses course and must be done as immediately as the earlier project. When respect for the organization you work for is lost, usually due to senior management malpractice, the value you place on your work appears to fall accordingly.

on January 1, 2003 08:36 PM
# brandt said:

you know, i always thought you were wierd for knowing what your major was from the get go. glad to see you're like the rest of us...

my thought is this--when i no longer like what i am doing, i'll find something else. of course i have no house or kids yet, so we'll see if i can hold to that, but for now, it works.

on January 2, 2003 05:35 AM
# Joe Grossberg said:

FYI, this is also being discussed at Slashdot and Joel on Software/FogCreek's forums.

on January 2, 2003 08:41 AM
# FRC said:

I had this realization a little over a year ago - no matter what else I do, I have to look at myself in the mirror everyday. Yeah, it's obvious but I've always been a little slow. It was what gave me the strength to place my personal ethics over my employer's directives, even if the decision could cost me a six-figure salary. It did cost me the job in the end. I don't regret that one bit because any other choice would have fundamentally ruined what I do for me, on a very personal level.

Of course, now I've got the money dilemma. "Rich people have ethics. Poor folks have empty bellies." Still working on that one, but at least I can do it without feeling particularly scummy.

on January 2, 2003 11:36 AM
# Deborah Marsh said:

I haven't read all on your site I am now listening to your story on Oprah.
It's making me really think...My main career is being a flight attendant. I have been injured many times at my job and have had a few shoulder surgeries.I've had more than 4 Dr's tell me I shouldn't do this job... I'm good at my job but the pain is beginning to not be worth the money.... I've been doing my job since 1987. I've been an artist since I was able to hold a pencil which is much longer.
My art is on a site you can send free e-cards so enjoy.
Thanks for the inspiration... I've also had 6 poems published...
I'm going to buy your book and you ARE an inspiration to all.

on January 27, 2003 01:40 PM
# Scott Sivyer said:

Well I saw the show and it made me think, it also is because my wife is on me that I have no goals or direction in life. I'm working and trying hard to make my wife happy. She is at school full time and I'm just trying to pay debts and save money. Right now that is my goal debt free and have a home and my wife done school. She I guess does not think that, that is enought.

I do wonder what to do with my life. I have applied twice to go back to school got in and have been unable to go (MONEY) I do not want to stay in the job I'm at know. But I have things that I must take care of first. Understand that my job right now I enjoy I enjoy the company and the people I work with. I just do not know were to start the inword look at what is that I'm to do with my life.

Scott Sivyer

on January 28, 2003 06:57 AM
# Mike said:

Very interesting article but the question isn't what should I do with my life? Rather what do I want out of life?
Not so a want but a dream a goal a passion and when you find it hold on.
A great book was written by Robert Kiyasaki calledthe Cashflow Quadrent it's worth getting.
And if anyone's looking for any great books that not only deal financial info but motivation and insperation let me know I'll tell you.

on February 21, 2003 04:48 PM
# Johnathan Lalas said:

It's all about setting goals. We need to have a light bulb moment where it all becomes clear. Mine was leaving Australia to live in Thailand in 1989. Only listen to the opinions of those who know; friends, as well meaning as they are, will generally give you advice with about 5% of the facts (read: not good advice). Be quick to make decisions and slow to change them. Get your facts straight and be DOGMATIC. If people are wrong, tell them. You don't need to appease someones vulgarities!

on February 28, 2003 12:00 AM
# Eric Lindbloom said:

I have struggled my whole life with what do I want to do, both as a job and in life. I followed a passion coming out of high school and went to art school. Then I followed a passion and got married and had kids, but the two passions don't mesh real well. I now have a very good paying job that I can tolerate and do well, but need to put any effort into and I get a small amount of satisfaction from.

I have this "faint urge" to do something different and maybe I will, but the motivation is hard to come by. I seem to follow more in my Dad's footsteps and am on the path of have a career and then enjoy yourself when you retire.

Difficult questions with difficult answers. You are not at all alone Jeremy, there are many of us out there. Maybe we should start a support group.

on March 11, 2005 07:24 AM
# irving itchy bronsky said:

DYING TO LIVE: A book about getting there by Irving Bronsky M..D..

Life can be simply defined as the process of getting there: The movement of a body from one place to another in a given time, under its own power. For as long as I can remember I have had a powerful drive for moving towards challenge and adventure. But I almost didn't make it into this life, barely being the last-born. My mother had three children in the first four years of marriage and when she got pregnant with me before the end of the fourth year, she knew she was stuck in an unhappy relationship with my father.
The family story, often jokingly told, was that Momma wanted to abort me. She was talked out of jumping off a closet by a neighbor, the woman who had introduced my parents to each other four years before. This is my background: conceived in a bed of conflict and starting life as an unwanted child.
"Dying to live," was one of the expressions I often used to describe my zest for life. My mother was fond of using a negative variation of this phrase, a Yiddish exclamation that expressed her distress or excitement: "Oy, ich shtarb nisht." (Oh, I'm not dying.)
I have always been a zealous and fanatic searcher for getting there, wherever there was. I penetrated new spaces and places, motivated by a rich imagination and fueled by a deep curiosity. I had some peak experiences as well as plumbing the depths of suffering. On one fateful occasion I was this close to death, and it changed my life forever. Here's what happened.

My mother had her usual blind faith in me that day, when she sent me downstairs to play, her three-year-old "baby." She was too busy to be with me because she had no help with the innumerable household chores. My father never helped in caring for the four of us children: my brother Herby was eight years old, Nettie, seven, and Sid was five. We had her approval to roam our block, which included the park on the other side of the street. Her only condition for our unsupervised play was that we stay near enough to our tenement so that she could maintain visual contact with us from the fourth floor, front room window. Momma didn't consider it dangerous for me to cross Fulton Avenue, (the block we lived on in the Bronx,) not in the late 1920's. Most of the traffic on it consisted of horse-pulled wagons, slow moving trucks and the occasional transient car. I crossed and recrossed Fulton Avenue with complete confidence.
That hot spring afternoon in 1928 Sid and I were standing in the kitchen watching my mother begin preparations for the supper meal. "C'mon Itch," he said to me, "let's go to the park and make mudpies". Momma nodded her agreement, adding, "Go ahead, Itchaleh, go have a good time. Just be careful, the two of you? Okay?"
Sid picked up an empty quart milk bottle from the floor next to the icebox and filled it with water, then hurriedly left with me trailing behind. We ran quickly downstairs and out of the building, stopping for a moment on the top of the stoop. My friend Natie was sitting on the top step. He was four years old and my best friend. I liked him a lot because he was so strong, quiet and he had such a nice face. I asked him to join us in making mudpies and he nodded his agreement, saying, "Sure. Yeah. C'mon." Sid skipped down the steps with Natie and I following close behind. We ran across the street, eager to get started.
At the top of an earthy embankment bordering the sidewalk we sat down to dig. In no time at all we had used up the water and Natie suggested that I take the bottle and get some more. I picked up the milk bottle and moved speedily down the little hill, the momentum kept me running across the sidewalk and into the street. An insurance agent's speeding touring car hit me head on. The immense force of the impact threw me into the air and I landed on my head, fracturing my skull. I was taken to Fordham hospital in the North Bronx where I hovered between life and death for three days. One of the doctors told my parents that even if I did survive, I might have permanent brain damage.
The only memory of my month long hospitalization is that I was in a white crib, with thin, vertical, iron bars on the side of the bed away from the wall. There was a window high above my bed with sunlight streaming through. Every time I have this memory I experience a tiny, flickering, sinking feeling in the upper part of my chest.
Much later in my life I learned that the doctors told me to lie still and not to move or else I would die. I was strapped down to the bed and immobilized for the first two weeks of my hospitalization. Strapping me down was an additional trauma that added to my pain, suffering and helplessness. No one in my family continuously sat by my side, nor did they visit me every day and I'm certain that I felt abandoned. I physically healed but there were the beginnings of psychological and emotional wounds that would persist for many years.
In the years following "the accident," (the family label for the trauma), there grew in me the feeling that I was unwanted. Everyone in the family, except for my father, would criticize or make fun of me by calling me "crazy." It was only after I had returned from service in World War II that they stopped their occasional taunts: "Sure. What do you expect? The accident made him crazy." Or, "We're going to call an ambulance to take you to the nut house at Bellevue Hospital."
There is a humorous anecdote associated with my accident. When my brother Sid saw what happened to me, he ran upstairs to tell mamma. He came breathlessly into the kitchen and said to her, "Don't get scared Ma, but Itchy just got killed."

There was nothing funny about the nightmares I've had since the accident. The first one I remember occurred not long after I had returned from the hospital. I dreamt that I was lying prone on the roof edge of the five-story tenement we lived in. Peering over the edge, and not being frightened, I was looking down at Fulton avenue. I wanted to go downstairs to play on the sidewalk, or in Crotona Park on the other side of the street, but I didn't know how. I was stuck. Looking behind me, I saw a witch flying on a broomstick and descending in my direction. As she came closer and lower, I became more frightened. Her strange black flowing garment and high, cone-shaped black hat, increased my fears. When she was almost on me I panicked and fell over the edge. Having lost control of my body, I made jerking and convulsive movements in a vain effort to save myself.
I awakened with a loud banging noise exploding around me, sitting on the floor next to my bed. I began crying for Mama as I scrambled clumsily to my feet. It was hot and dark in the back bedroom where I slept in the same bed with Sid. Crying louder and continuing to call for Mama, I groped blindly in the bed, hoping to find my brother there. He wasn't, and there was no answer to my pleas for help. I became more frantic and rushed out of my room looking for someone, anyone. I was alone in the darkened apartment. I struggled open the heavy, metal-covered apartment door and rushed out onto the lit landing of the fourth floor. Dressed in my underwear, I scrambled down the long flights of stairs and out the glass-paneled front doors onto the stoop. I stood there sobbing and gasping, wildly looking around for my mother. Then I saw my family across the street, sitting on a park bench, "getting some air," (as I later found out), on this stifling summer night. My mother was wearing a white dress and was clearly outlined as she stood in front of the seated family, with the darkened park in the background.
"Mama,” I screamed, and rushed headlong across the street, unaware that I was crossing the same spot where a month before I had been run over. She turned and began to move towards me but I was already on her side of the street, and then nestled safely into her deep, soft protective embrace.
I became a problematic child. I bit my nails and cuticles so badly I sometimes drew blood. I fought frequently with Sid, about anything and everything, never winning but never giving up. He and I explored our neighborhood's alleys, backyards and cellars, looking for adventure and often came home late. One time he took me out of our neighborhood to the "Five and Ten" and we were caught stealing. We were severely scolded and threatened with being sent "Up the river," (Sing Sing), but we were released after being held for what seemed a long time.
On one occasion Sid took me to see how they were building the subway on the Grand Concourse, (about a mile from our block.) We stayed away for about six hours and when we came back we found that search parties went out to look for us. He was seven years old and I was five.
In school, I was restless, undisciplined, and got bad marks in "conduct." (The failing D mark was circled in red.) From time to time my mother was called to the assistant principal's office because of my unruly school behavior. In high school I was still undisciplined and my sister Nettie would come to speak with the school authorities.
In my relationship to my peers I had the reputation for being aggressive and I was sometimes called "Crazy Itchy." (Itchy was my nickname, derived from Itzchak, my Yiddish/Hebrew name.) I was often a clown, a crybaby, and super-sensitive to real and imagined injustices. I could be insulting, revengeful, and always imposed my need for attention on those around me.

World War II saved my life.
Because of my very low self-esteem and aggressiveness, by the time I was eighteen years old I was on a crash course with serious mental illness, a fatal accident or criminal behavior.
I was a radio operator in the Army Air Corps for almost three years, the last two of them in the Central Pacific. When I was demobilized, I was already into transforming my life: I had begun acquiring social skills that eventually led me to become a mature person, successful husband, father and professional. How did I make this turnaround? I began to function in a social context where the people didn't see me as disturbed or crazy. I was treated respectfully and given the opportunity to prove myself in my work. I met and became friends with a number of intelligent, intellectual and educated people. My social skills improved so much that I began to give advice to others. One of my first "clients" was Angelo, a thirty-year-old married man from Cleveland, who was a bank teller in civilian life. A gentle, quiet person, he surprised me one night in the mess tent when we were eating our midnight supper, prior to starting the graveyard shift.
We were on the island of Eniwetok in the south central pacific, eating spam and cheese sandwiches. With a hint of tears in his eyes he began to tell me about his problems with his wife, who had written him a "Dear John" letter, saying she wanted to divorce him. I don't remember the advice I gave him but he seemed very satisfied. I'll never forget that when he shook my hand at the end of our conversation, I noticed that the last joint on the little finger of his right hand was missing.
Eniwetok was a small island and there wasn't much to do with my free time except sunning and swimming. Then I found a small library and took out books by authors like Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway and the poet Walt Whitman. I read and reread them. I realized that being educated was vital for turning my life around and gradually I came to the conclusion that I had the need to help people. The choice of professions was simple: either I was going to be a lawyer or medical doctor.
At four in the morning one midnight shift I made my choice. I had a break and went outside to get some air and found myself standing in the bright light of a full moon, in front of the Quonset hut field hospital that was set up near the radio station. It was filled with the newly wounded flown back from the recent invasion of Guam.
The same curiosity that impelled me to search down alleys and backyards impelled me to go into the hospital. The ward was dimly lit and there were no medics around. The beds were jammed next to each other, filled with the wounded. They were covered by a variety of bandages and many of them were hooked up to infusions and other kinds of tubing. The cacophony of grunts, groans, snores and moaning was loud and I was amazed that most of the wounded were sleeping. I walked slowly down the aisle, excited, and thrilled. When I came to the end of the ward, I stopped in front of the last bed on the right.
The soldier's chest was bandaged and in the middle of it there was a large bloodstain. From the middle of this a tube came out, ending in a large bottle hung at the side of the bed. He was making wheezing and croaking noises with every breath. I stood for a moment at the foot of his bed, fascinated, but shaking my head as if to say "No," to my helplessness. I turned and walked out. I knew that my life goal was to help others overcome their suffering.
I stepped out into the cool, fresh air of the moonlit night and saw the medic walking quickly towards me. He knew I had just come out of the hospital but he didn't say a word to me. He was carrying an armload of bottles and I held the screen door open for him. He disappeared inside and I quietly closed the door behind him. But I had opened the door to my future.
Not long after that I discovered Freud and read his book, The Interpretation of Dreams. I was excited by what I read, and reread, though I only understood part of it. But my heart knew and the decision to be a psychiatrist rose spontaneously from this heart-felt reaction. One of my new friends had loaned me the book.
He was four years older than me, from the Boston area. His family was in banking. He had been a graduate student in philosophy at Harvard when he was drafted. We liked each other and became good friends. I loved his brains and culture and he loved my street smarts and love of adventure. My friend helped me to understand the importance of education and I sensed that it would also help me to become a mentsch, a mature person. I was impatient to get started on my new career, (I was already nineteen years old), and with my friend's help and encouragement I wrote to Harvard. I applied for admission into their pre-medical program when the war will be over. The response came as a form letter, polite and rejecting. I wrote a bitter reply: "If my name had been Irving Bronsky III, (the third), then I would have been accepted." I got a personal letter from the dean of admissions regretting the misunderstanding but still rejecting my request for acceptance.
The second vital step in my rehabilitation came when I met my wife Riva, some ten years later. I was a senior medical student at the university of Geneva, Switzerland in 1955, when I came to Israel for the first time. I worked as an extern for six weeks in a Tel Aviv hospital and then I went to Haifa to board ship for the trip to Europe. In the customs shed I noticed a pretty young woman, zaftig, (full-bodied), deeply tanned, with a thick braid of copper-tinted brown hair halfway down her back. She was crying and hugging her parents, obviously a separation scene.
The next time I saw her was on the prow of the ship as it was leaving the port. We began to talk and exchange information about each other growing increasingly excited by the coincidences. I was a medical student and she was a registered nurse. I was returning to Geneva to the obstetrics department to deliver five babies, and she was going to Geneva, to the same department, for a post-graduate course in pre-matures. When I asked her where she was going to stay, she mentioned the nurse's residence, which was one block away from where I lived with a Swiss family.
Beshert, (Fate).

The following year we were married and we have been living together, (mostly happily), for forty-five years. We had five children -- Now we have four. Our first-born son Yussie was seventeen years old when he got leukemia and in three months he was dead.
He looked strikingly similar to me, with a round face, bright hazel eyes, curly black hair, chubby cheeks, full lips and a slightly cleft chin. He was solidly built, almost six foot tall and weighed two hundred pounds. He was physically very strong, well coordinated, a good athlete and a natural leader. Because we looked so much alike, occasionally I was identified as Yussie's father by people who knew him, but not me. "Aren't you Yussie's father? You look so much like him."
When Yussie was four years old we were living in a garden apartment in Queens, New York. One morning I was walking to my car that was parked in the street outside of our court. Yussie was playing in the court with a friend and when he saw me leaving for work, he ran over to kiss me good-bye. When I got to my car a neighbor asked me if I saw what had just happened and I said I didn't know what he was referring to. He said that after we had kissed good-bye Yussie had quietly walked behind me, perfectly imitating my walk.
He was an average student and did not study very much, rationalizing his casual attitude by saying that he was only doing what I had done when I was his age. He knew that I did poorly in high school and matured late. Since he was a child he had made up his mind that he was going to be a medical doctor and psychiatrist, "Just like Abba," (papa).
He had proven leadership ability among his peers and was socially very active in his high school. He was on the student council which regularly met with school authorities. There was a nationwide program of peer support for the high school students from Kiryat Shmona, a town on the Lebanese border under constant terrorist attacks. He was the leader of a group of students from his school that went there, as a gesture of support. He had organized and led a five man rock group, writing music and being the lead singer. The group had made several appearances at school dances and were getting offers for private parties when he got sick. (The noise of the rehearsals in our home occasionally made me angry and critical, and once in a while, I simply left home until the practice bedlam was over).
He was following in my footsteps, and I gave him my full approval. Occasionally I would chide him for not studying enough but my heart wasn't in it. One of my fantasies, which I frequently indulged in, was that he was going to be even better than I am.
And then...

This is my story, Crazy Itchy from the Bronx, who was mostly rehabilitated. And then I had to learn to cope with a terrible death in the family. But that is only part of my story…

on March 23, 2005 01:10 PM
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