The summer I graduated from high school was sensational out of my head.
I was thin for the first time in my life. Beyond that, I was leaving Grant High in the top 10% of my class heading to UCLA to study cytology. (Want a good nerdy line? How about “Hey baby, wanna see my endoplasmic reticulum?”) Eighteen-year-olds could vote, and I was politically active, spending days with other “activists” registering voters.
However, the most exhilarating moments were the evenings in Los Angeles with Suzanne, my first girlfriend. Our first date was the Magic Mountain amusement park.
Life just couldn’t get any better.
It’s a rite of passage to endure the agony of a first breakup, which happened 13 months later. My reaction was to spin out of control.
Coming from the San Fernando Valley to Westwood every day for my freshman year in college, my job and friendships were the same as I had in high school. After she dumped me, everything changed.
I moved into the student ghetto and immersed myself in the culture of the university, establishing new friendships and activities. Getting involved in campus politics and training to be a counselor for the volunteer helpline, time got short (study? What’s that?), so I quit my employment at Van Nuys, choosing to stock clothes at the student store; where I was first exposed to KLA, the college radio station.
Ever since I was a boy, I was a radio addict; transistor radio glued to my ear from the time I woke up until my eyes grew heavy at night. Becoming a college DJ captivated me. So, through perseverance and a few clever maneuvers, I added this to my list of experiments.
LA was radio’s second largest market, and I took the opportunity to seek advice from big-name local disc jockeys, which they graciously provided, giving me the tools to land my first paid gig as a weekend replacement at Top 40 KDES-AM in Palm Springs.
You can tell how successful a DJ is by the size of the trailer he pulls behind his car, and that’s what happened, I finally turned on Redding. It was there that I met my first wife and founded the Smaller Market Association of Radio Talent (SMART). Much to my fiancée’s chagrin, the publicity garnered by SMART resulted in a profitable solicitation for a larger So-Cal station. Packing the trailer yet again, we said a tearful goodbye to family and friends and headed south on I-5.
Eventually I was asked to run two stations in Humboldt, which I accepted. My plan? Live here “a few years” and end up in San Francisco before I’m 30.
Life is what happens while you make other plans.
I am well, well, well past 30; yet I stay here. Fortunately, my only association with the medical profession is periodic checkups. I am remarried. Although my cousin and I are still close, I have no idea where Suzanne is. I will always wish him good luck.
There’s no way I could have foreseen that meeting her, and everything that happened afterward in that brief relationship, would have the far-reaching effects it had on my life’s journey. Every event since then could be called the result of a warm evening at Magic Mountain five decades ago. If that hadn’t happened, I might be wearing a white doctor’s coat today (and making a lot more money). You would not read this column, nor share it with others. My entire life – and that of everyone I have touched – could be so different from today that one might wonder, “Could I even be the same person?”
One cannot know the unforeseen effects of a fortuitous encounter or of a chosen quick decision. We are blind to the repercussions of these actions; yet they will just as surely stretch for decades, if not generations.
Minor actions may not be as insignificant as we think. Choose well.
Scott “Q” Marcus is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com and the founder of the inspirational Facebook group, Intentions Affirmations Manifestations. Join his free bi-monthly online motivational sessions by signing up for his free bi-monthly newsletter at www.thistimeimeanit.com/signup.