When I was a little kid, I got sick and my mom took me to the doctor. He used one of those wooden tongue depressors to look down my throat.
That made me cough and gag at the exact same time. It was like a little explosion in the back of my throat and a fusillade of these little white spongy things came flying out of my mouth and they hit the doctor right in his face.
I saw it all in slow-motion and I could actually see some of them bouncing off poor Dr. Stein’s forehead and a few of them stuck to his glasses. Even at my tender age, I thought he comported himself with a tremendous amount of personal dignity and that admiration has not faded, even to this very day.
MOM: “Oh my Dear Lord, I’m so very sorry, Dr. Stein!”
DR. STEIN: “Your son has tonsillitis.”
And then he very calmly took out his handkerchief, wiped his face and then he cleaned off his glasses.
Me? I just sat there on the examination table feeling like I was going to die. And I wondered if maybe Dr. Stein wasn’t living a double life and that he was really a rocket ship test pilot, professional football player and secret agent, all rolled into one -- a real life hero.