It was a Saturday afternoon; just another day at the beach, this time for a pig roast. It was a charity gig; a fundraiser for the Salybia Mission Project. 97% of attendees were Ross Medical School Profs or students. The music is an eclectic mix of Marley, Mariah and Matthews.
The Rasta who provided the pig (Rastafarians, like Jews, Muslims, Vegans & 7th Day Adventists, don’t officially eat pork) & I are watching the pig roast while we smoke. A future surgeon is carving pig pieces per paying customer request. We are joined in watching the butchery by an anatomy professor. We introduce ourselves.
“Been here long?” I ask.
“10 years,” he answers. “Where do you live?” he continues.
“Soltoun,” I answer.
“Where’s that?” he asks. I am stunned. 10 years on an island of 300 square miles and he has not heard of my area??? Where has he been??
I explain… “Go down to Layou, turn left and go up past the tibia, left again at the clavicle, on to just there, the spine, the center of the island.” I answer.
He stomps off muttering something about drug diminished IQs. I ask the present & future knife guy for the crispy part of the thigh.
“I’m a poet and he don’t know it,” I say to my newfound Dreadlocked friend.
“Yah, mon,” he sighs, “but Jah say no pig.”
“Yeah, well, so did Abbie Hoffman,” I answer, “and nobody paid attention to him either.”
“You are what you eat,” enjoins the Rasta.
“I’ll stay away from the vegetables then,” I say.
The meal, like life, is sinfully delicious.
Later in the day, early in the evening, I have a beer in hand; I am standing chest high in the sea; I am talking to a couple of first year med students. The sunset has past. The Southern Cross is rising. The bonfire on the beach has been lit. All still in attendance are pretty well lit by now too. What’s left of the pig is being packed away for the insider’s school lunch program.
Elsewhere on this planet, under this same star-filled sky, while I party on the beach with several future doctors, thousands of children are dying from lack of adequate medical care. I offer a toast, “Here’s to Schweitzer.”
“Is this his party?” asks one of my fellows.