Dave was a good friend of mine in the late 80's and 90's. He went to college at MSU. I think he graduated in Dec of 92. Frankly I can't remember. Dave had an off campus apartment, a keg in the closet, and a roommate. Bob, his roommate, had graduated the previous summer but he had come back to do some prep work for his MCAT's. I can't remember Bob's exact educational achievements. I believe he was in the top 20 of his class and in the top quartile on his MCAT's. My weekends at MSU were focused on more of the "co" than the "educational".
Bob's dad, and mom were both ivy league med school doctors as was his grandfather. Being a doctor was the family business for several generations. Even though dad was a Harvard man, he encouraged his son to apply to a number of medical schools. The idea was to see which medical schools would give a good Jewish boy the best break on the price. So that is what Bob did. He applied to nearly all of the AMA approved schools, starting with Harvard.
Bob started getting letters back from all the schools he applied to. He saved them in a neat stack. He was going to have a get together when he opened them. I showed up for the letter opening party. (Bob was footing the bill, so I was drinking, in your 20's anyone buying you drinks can be your friend) He had a stack of several letters maybe 20 or so. We (those of us who showed up early) had several drinks in us by the time Bob got back from work and were in a very good mood.
Bob arrived home to find me and a girl; (I can't remember her name) making out on his couch (not that unusual an event in those days) and about 6 of his closest friends he never met before (Dave invited some of our friends to come). Actually he had met all of us at one time or another, mostly when he was throwing us out of his apartment at 4 am. We showed up to drink to his good fortune, or at least to drink his good whiskey. Bush mills and Jameson were good back in the day.
Regardless of the company, or our heroic efforts to drain his stock of booze, nothing could hamper Bob's good mood. Tonight was the night he was going to pick from the cream of the crop of medical schools. A few of his roommates drinking buddies weren't going to spoil it.
His pre-med buddies started showing up. Over the next hour or so they caught up with us in the drinking department. They also exceeded in the bragging department. This one got a near free ride at So Cal. That one got into a great program with this school. A couple of them were comparing notes on how hard it was to come from a black family, get into medical school, and still be accepted back in "da hood". All of them agreed Bob was the smartest and he was going to get into the best school.
With Bob properly inebriated and a crowd of about 15 buzzed on lookers, the moment of truth arrived. With much pomp and ceremony, the letters were arraigned from the most prestigious school down to the least. I can't remember the order he placed them in, or why he sorted them the way he had. I just remember Harvard was first. There was much joking and comments about how lucky Harvard was that he applied. That letter contained an ominous "we regret to inform you..." We booed. "Who the F#$% wants to go to a stuck up school in Boston?" With that and several equally cultured remarks we dismissed the school Bob most wanted.
With a shot of whiskey and a wave of the letter opener, he dove into the next letter. It was a reject too. So was the next one. The entire stack of letters that Bob opened in front of us that night basically said "you're exceptional but...we don't want you".
I don't know why he did it, but Bob got a box of thumb tacks and starting in the far upper left corner of the wall above the couch he started sticking the letters on the wall. He called it his "wall of shame".
For the next few weeks, Dave got the mail. I don't know if he was afraid of what Bob would do, or why he did it. I don't think Dave knew. He saved up the next batch of letters, wanting I think, to make things better. I got a call and invited to come to another letter opening party. This time our little group of free loaders bought the booze. We even scraped enough cash together to buy a bottle of Dom Perignon. We were ready for a repeat night of partying, but this time there would be a happy ending.
Except there wasn't.
Another stack of letters, this time bigger than the first, found its way onto "the wall".
Latter in the year, when my buddies lease was up, I helped him move out. The bottle of Dom was still in the fridge, unopened. There were many, many more tack holes in the wall as well.
I've been feeling a lot like Bob the last 4 or 5 months. That's part of the reason why I've been neglecting the blog. There is little going on that I feel like bloging about. So rather than bother my friends, I've been neglecting you. Please forgive me.