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How I Lost my Head

How I Lost my Head

How I Lost my Head


Painting by Alan M. Clark

Remember how your mother said, “You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached to your neck.” It’s true…at least for me and the time I did in fact lose my head.

Here goes: First year medical students are given two black boxes on the first day of anatomy class. One contains a human skeleton, and the other, about the size of a basketball, holds a real skull. Papers are signed and you swear to guard them with your life.

What many don’t know is the first two years of medical school vacillate between boredom and pre-test panic. The lectures are often with professors forced to teach and the material is dry as dirt. So…in my class of 100, very few went to the lectures. Instead, we’d take turns transcribing detailed notes and then copy and distribute them for studying.

It was my turn, the subject was genetics; it was painfully dull. I dutifully wrote up my eight pages of notes with illustrations, and on my way home from lab stopped at Kinkos to make copies. All was well until my study buddy showed up for some mutual grilling on what all those hole in the human skull are called. I looked around. “Oh crap!” I’d left my head at the copy shop. I called.

“Hi, did someone leave a black box about the size of a basketball?”

“Let me check…why yes there’s one in the window.”

“Awesome! I’ll be right down. And whatever you do…don’t open it.”

Next time, how I lost my rat on a NYC subway.


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