Lyrical Curriculum Vitae

In describing oneself and one’s achievements, great or small, one should devote at least some wordage to important influences that may have determined one’s course and character before reciting the litany of deeds and dates. I would be remiss not to mention the following important influences that have made me, more or less, what I am today.

First and foremost is Momma Moss, my wondrous mother who struggled mightily to raise her brood of five sons under less than auspicious circumstances. The setting for those childhood adventures and escapades is not irrelevant: it was the great borough of the Bronx, a force in itself with all its clamor, uproar, and boisterous ethnicity.

It only follows when the Bronx is invoked, that red hot tamale of a locale, that another great and powerful force in its own right, part and parcel of the Bronx, the two, in fact, irrevocably intertwined, is adduced, one that burned itself deeply into my young, impressionable soul - that being the Bronx Bombers themselves, the great NY Yankees.

Then there is that ineffable, ancient well spring of mystery and wisdom and hope upon which so much of world civilization finds itself balanced, the old Hebrew faith with which my mother so tenderly adorned herself and reveled within, working its magic upon her as it has uncounted generations through the millennia. We were not an observant home but observant enough, and the great heroes and warriors and founders of Judaism were as close to me as members of my family, and so the ancient desert religion had worked its magic upon me as well.

There was an early courtship with the Left, coming of age as I did in the seventies and able to remember the excitement, the excesses, and indulgences of that most rotten of decades, the sixties, that epochal time that launched an infinity of confusions and perversions with legions of foot soldiers that have carried its bootless and noxious messages, marching and trampling through our American institutions since, corrupting and sundering them with their strident, tiresome, and barren chants. Yes, for a brief spell, I reckoned myself among their number, but it quickly self-corrected as I introduced myself to other beliefs and doctrines in my gradual ascent to the lofty spires of conservative thought and reflection.

Yoga and the general world of Eastern thought and practice rescued me and my brother (who had fallen victim to the seductions of mind altering substances), tended by the careful and colorful tutelage of Swami Rudrananda (Rudi), a Brooklyn Jew, himself a convert to the illuminations of the Indian subcontinent.

I lived in a Yoga ashram for seven years until unceremoniously tossed out (another story), but its effect has been everlasting and continues to guide and influence me. Later, I would spend time in a Buddhist Monastery in Thailand and have also been moved by the Buddha’s benign and enlightening message, counting myself a courier and bearer of his wise ministrations whose teaching is civilizing and uplifting.

I loved writing and wanted very much a career as a scribe in some scribbling discipline, but this instinct for imaginative exposition fell victim to a more powerful (at the time) impulse to heal and so I followed my medical muse into the regal and grand temples of medicine.

I completed my major in Biology in 1977 at Indiana University in Bloomington (a liberal refuge in an otherwise decidedly “red” state). This was followed by my medical degree (“MD”) in 1981 also from Indiana University, an internship in General Surgery at State University of New York in Stonybrook, and a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery completed in 1986 at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. I was board certified also in 1986

and then performed a fellowship in Facial Plastics at the University of California in San Francisco in 1987 (the monotonous listing of dates and deeds now complete).

From here, began my years of awe, in which my itchy feet (wanderlust) carried me lightly as if by wing to the beguiling source of so much I had come to admire and assume, in the Far East. As wandering surgeon wanting to cut and cure, I set upon hungrily and with fiendish appetite to satisfy my longing to be amongst the great souls who lived closely to nature and their traditions in developing nations not yet beset upon by the cultural depredations of the West, to attack and reverse their afflictions in such far flung corners as Thailand, Nepal,

India, and Bangladesh where I lived and breathed and labored happily for the next three years, penniless but giddy, only ending my joyous sojourn quite reluctantly and lamentably. The cause of the collapse of my nomadic enterprise (and lasting despair) was the very essence of profanity – a lack of funds.

Although rewarded spiritually, I received little or no compensation for my efforts, and this bit of wretchedness finally succeeded in squelching my pilgrimage in 1990, a bitter pill that remains lodged in my throat, for I was ready to continue my sublime flight into eternity.

I spent, by the way, six months in Bangladesh, a Jew in a Muslim nation operating on Muslim patients, with Muslim colleagues, and was treated quite graciously by my hosts, this despite the first Intifada occurring in Israel at the time, which played large upon the local media; the friendships made then, I will add, endure to this day.

I returned to the states penniless (but with wife), put up by my mother for six months and then returning to my beloved Indiana in 1991 where I have been in private practice since in the little burg of Jasper with wife and now four children.
Along the way I opened a bagel shop (Bronx Bagel)

and an Italian restaurant (Simply Pasta) both of which met untimely fates. I had a Yoga for Health TV program for 13 episodes on a local channel. I also became a bonafide conservative (reading National Review, Commentary, and the Jerusalem Post will have that effect).

Then, I returned to Judaism (this never fully absent only dormant) and I began writing again (this also only dormant). Two books, two screenplays and a medley of travel and mostly political pieces have come, in op-ed pages of small papers in Indiana, and the love of writing survives despite the quirks and vagaries and plot twists that have occurred. So within the routines and labors of standard work-a-day life in private practice in the Midwest and fatherhood, there remains the still small voice that beckons.

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