Go with the flow

  • Jerome Engel Jr.
    Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 710 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769, USA.
    Departments of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and the Brain Research Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
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Published:November 11, 2016DOI:
      “Life is like a stream, water runs in a straight line until it hits a rock, or a tree trunk, then it gets diverted in a different direction.” My paternal grandfather would tell me this when I was a child — he knew, because he grew up in the tough Jewish tenements of the lower east side of Manhattan, had been a golden gloves boxer, made a fortune during prohibition (I see him now as one of Meyer Lansky's cronies as portrayed in Boardwalk Empire), and then lost it all. He sold my grandmother's jewelry to put my father through medical school, so my father could take care of them for the rest of their lives. With an MD from Bellevue, now NYU, my father set up a general practice in Ravena, N.Y., a small town of 1800 people in the apple and dairy country of the central Hudson Valley. My grandparents lived with us and provided an antidote to the myth of “a life well planned”. I realized early that we do not have complete control of our lives, but it is important to be prepared to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.
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