I have no shortage of wonderful and awful stories to tell that didn’t make it into The Last Rose of Summer due to space constraints. I will spare you the awful ones, at least for now, as the book contains plenty of shocking content: it’s the equivalent of a PG to PG-13 rating for mildly off color humor and language at times, but there is no rating available for the implications of corruption in medical research. I’ve pulled my punches somewhat in this book, and even the “light” version is going to be tough for kind and decent people to get through.

Still, the more light-hearted stories are not just fluff. I worked with such good people that I want to tell their stories too, and further tales of our adventures together are entirely true to life, even if I still have to use false names for my colleagues. I suppose those stories also show something of how they viewed me: certainly, amusement featured prominently in my moments of both intended and unintended humor.

My mother had depression when I was a child, and back then there weren’t a lot of great treatments available. Even doctors didn’t understand the disease very well in comparison to medical science now, so I certainly didn’t. But I learned that my mother would brighten up for a while if I made her laugh, so our family albums are full of pictures of me doing all sorts of ridiculous things, in response to which my mother always laughed and grabbed the camera. I held guinea pig beauty pageants; I modeled my gym shorts on my head and struck a pose; I combed my hair over my face, put sunglasses on over it, and yelled, “Look, Mom, I’m Cousin It!”

So it came naturally to me as a young adult, and often by far the youngest person in the labs I worked in, to try to make my stressed out colleagues laugh. I suppose it’s for the best, now that I have to break awful and yet hopeful news to the public (without a day’s training in journalism) that I have a plethora of stories with which to balance the lead weight I am being forced to drop on my audience.

I am also glad to have this blog to tell the reader more about the good people I was privileged to work with. Their decency does far more than any cheap laughs to restore some faith in humanity.