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Only a Diversion

July 21, 2008 |

Dear Mr. Keillor:
Having just finished my second year of medical school, I was stuffing my brain for the national board exams when, abruptly, my brain reached capacity and no more would fit. I was perplexed. How was I going to learn fungal infections? What about metabolic disorders? But while listening to your show, the thought came that, though I didn't major in English, I might try putting the material into poetry to make it more memorable. I penned a few dozen, such as:

Oh, Blastomycosis have you.
Away lung, skin, bone lesions!
Oh Blasto I long to see you.
Big and broad-based budding yeast,
East of the wide Miss'ippi.

And also:

Alkapton! My Captain!
Homogentisate oxidase I lack.
The tyrosine is building up,
My urine's turning black!

Well, I took the exam this week, and it went pretty great. Thanks for the weekly muse from Lake Wobegon.

Hershey, PA

You did great on the exam thanks to your innate intelligence, Ashley, and the poetry was only a diversion. That's the line of work I am in, diverting people, and you are heading for the line of work that actually changes people's lives, so we hope it attracts more intelligence than what is required to write. I'm lucky to have a great doctor who I can talk to and who seems to have plenty of time and who is ever ready to do precautionary things that make sense. I am a 65-year-old guy with a 10-year-old daughter so he has got his work cut out for him. He wants me to be around for her wedding.

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