Walk Down Misery Street

“There are not many changes in modern Russia today,” I said. “Even though people have access to the internet and social media, under Putin’s regime one still has to be a ‘crazy’ patriot, should still hate the West, and would certainly get into troubles if caught criticizing the government.”

Leaning his chin on his hand, Dr. Michael carefully listened. He said that, in his opinion, any totalitarian regime is repulsive and contrary to human nature. We spoke about politics for a bit and then switched back to the topic of music. He asked me if I like the Kinks. I felt ashamed to acknowledge that, while I had heard of the band, I had never listened to any of their songs.

“Peter! How can this be? You don’t know the Kinks?!” he interjected. “Here is your homework: listen to The Kinks, start with ‘Lola’ and ‘Dead End Street.’ Next Monday we will meet here and talk about what you heard. Also take this journal ‘Addictive Medicine’ with you; the latest edition has some good stuff to read.”

I started doing my “homework,” reading the science journal “Addictive Medicine” while listening to the Kinks on my tablet. I waited impatiently for next Monday.

Like a real ED doctor, Dr. Michael had an amazing memory. He recalled the album names and years of release, the concerts in Woodstock, Madison Square Garden, and Jones Beach, which he attended.

“People are strange when you’re stranger…”


“Frequent Fliers”


Also, in ED I got the opportunity to get to know the lives of homeless people more closely. At first, I couldn’t really tell them apart among the masses of the “yellow gowns.” But in time, I learned that there is a particular category of hobos who reside in this part of Bronx. The ED department of our hospital became one of the inevitable stops on their daily route.

There were a lot fewer women amongst them than men. Life on the street is not for the fairer sex. In general, they were middle-aged men.