Tag Archives: true story

Good Advice

On a social networking site that I still to my detriment visit, a friend posed a question on a thread: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Here are two:

I. I went to an alternative public high school. The school was located in an old rectory next to a church. We didn’t have a certificate of occupancy for the church, which was almost gutted. There were a couple of doors leading there from the rectory that for some strange reason (maybe having to do with fire laws) weren’t locked. Kids being kids, and this being back in the late 70’s, we’d often sneak in and do certain things.

One day, the head of the school called a community meeting. Normally very mild-mannered, Fred seemed angry. He told us he had been leading a tour with government officials and funders from the Ford Foundation and was showing them the church when he found “THIS”. He pulled a nickel bag of pot out of his pocket and held it up. Fortunately, he’d grabbed it before they saw it. He reminded us that this was not the impression he wanted the public to have of our school, and then instead of lecturing us about the perils of the evil weed, he simply said, “Discretion, people! Discretion!”

II. Years ago after a bad breakup, I found myself in a state of constant sorrow. This was before just any GP would give you SSRIs. I was living and working as a clinician in a small city and knew most of the real shrinks professionally and didn’t feel safe seeing them. So I went to see a homeopathic psychiatrist. She was an MD who’d left that life, and believed in alternative methods. She told me to give up coffee and handed me a pill.

“What is it?” I asked.

“It’s a salt.” she said.

“A salt? Like lithium?”

“No, like sodium chloride. Table salt. Lot’s wife. Don’t look back.”