The weekend just past was filled with long-buried fond memories of schoolyard stories being retold. Stephen L was in town, but he’s always LV to me. Having just dropped him and his lovely wife off at the airport, I turned inwards after a weekend of turning outwards and backwards. Yes, I’m normally a reticent fellow who is more introspective and circumspect rather than the character I portrayed to LV and his wife. With them, I became the gregarious and hilarious bloke, unrecognisable but not ostensible, to myself when I looked at the mirror. It was a weekend of looking back at happy school days and rekindling tales of teenage bravado. The enigmatic LV retains the magnetic charm of old, his popularity amongst the old boys in the old boys club has not waned one bit. Even Ernie turned up last night, and Ernie is one I hadn’t met for two score years and more. Ernie was instantly recognisable, but Ernie was not a name he called himself the last time we sat in class together. In those days, we were the less intellectual ones, and never kept score of how many A’s we got in exams. Ernie still flashes his boyish grin, but anyone without self esteem would feel chagrin at his flashy fast cars and enviable success. I’m thankful for the lessons I have learned from Gautama. Omitaba!
Unavoidably, the question came up. Why or how did I end up doing what I do. My answer was stupidity. Many of my esteemed friends are enjoying their sunshine years in retirement, whereas here I am, in my office at 7.30am on a Monday. My career was not stellar, and my business careered almost out of control after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. So, how did I end up this way? Stupidity? Or the gnarled hands of fate? On the way to the airport, I shared with LV my favourite story of why I am not a dentist. After finishing seven years of high school, six in Penang, and one in Adelaide, I got into Uni of NSW as a young zombie-like student in the Commerce faculty. A straight A’s student who kept on the straight and narrow, why did I not question why? With my perfect results, I should have expected to waltz into my preferred course, dentistry, in the Uni of Adelaide which at the time was the premier institution for Dentistry. Was I not destined to be a dentist? A year later, my mother told me the truth. It was my father who changed my destiny. It was his gnarled hands that got hold of the letter of offer from the Adelaide Dental School. His gnarled hands tore the letter to shreds and consigned me from dentist to fatalist. Yes, I believe in fate. How else would I have met the woman who would become my wife, and mother to my three sons? Thank you, Pa. I am forever thankful I left my fate in your hands.