By Luke Ford Chapter One Chapter Two  Chapter Three  Chapter Four Chapter Five  Chapter Six   Chapter Seven  Chapter Seven B Chapter Eight   Chapter Nine  Chapter Ten  Chapter Eleven  Chapter Twelve  1994-1997 1997  1998 1998B 1999 2000 2001 2009

I returned to Australia June 17, 1984 to live with my secular brother Paul in Tannum Sands, a beach community of a few thousand people 400 miles north of Brisbane (the capital city of the state of Queensland). Free from my parents,  I abandoned religious observance and clumsily pursued my own pleasure. Friday nights I often danced in clubs, then stumbled bleary-eyed into church Saturday mornings. In November 1984, after taking a job that required working Saturdays, I quit church and never resumed the habit.

For my first two months in Australia, I worked part-time as a sportswriter for the Gladstone Observer, brushing up on my knowledge of cricket, rugby and Australian Rules Football.

I frequently felt worthless and depressed by my lack of full-time work. In my right-wing politics of the time, I held that unemployment was usually the fault of the unemployed.

When I quit mentioning to potential employers that I planned to  move back to California in a year, I quickly got a full-time job as a clerk for G.J. Coles (the parent company of Australian K-Mart).

My steady employment gave me the confidence to seek women but my romantic overtures down under generally failed for several reasons. One, I still lacked confidence. Two, I didn't like to spend money. Three, I planned to return to California in a year. And four, I was unfamiliar with local customs. For instance, in Californian nightclubs, you asked a woman that you wanted to get to know, first to dance, and then later you talked to her. In Australia, I got knocked back when I first asked females to dance with me. And it wasn't just because I was a lousy dancer. I found out late that the Aussie custom is first to buy a drink for a woman and then to talk with her. After that, you ask her to dance. Also, I'd been spoiled by American women who are much more forward than Australian women.

By the time that I got the hang of nightclub customs, I tired of nightclubs. I went fewer than 20 times. I didn't like the noise, the smoky atmosphere and the superficial conversation. And they brought back memories of J.

We'd gone out several times before that infamous night at the nightclub when I bought her many drinks. We virtually made love on the dance floor. Then I lured her out outside into the bushes. Just as I reached for her plentiful bosom, she leaned away from me and threw up.

My date spent the rest of the evening in the Ladies Room. I never talked to her again. I seized the excuse of this awkward occasion to avoid her. She made me nervous because she liked me.

My frustrations with Australian women came on top of a whole lifetime of seeming failure to connect with others. Females that I wanted rejected me my whole life. At times I hated the opposite sex and agreed with my brother Paul's comment, "If they (women) didn't have tits, we wouldn't talk to them."

I participated in a Triathlon that demanded a 1 kilometer swim, a 30 kilometer bike ride and a 10K run. I finished last out of 200. I played, badly, for a local soccer club. In my first game protecting the nets, I allowed in six goals, and then two quick scores at the beginning of our second contest. The coach pulled me. I ran into the locker-room in tears, forever leaving behind on the playing field my dreams of finding meaning in life through sports.

Feeling at times like a social failure, and unable to find many people around me who shared the life of the mind, I lost myself in long solitary walks. While strolling along the Tannum Sands beach listening to rock music on my Sony Walkman, I decided that the way to get the love that I wanted was through hard work and success.

In December 1984, I took the cleaning contract at the Boyne Island Shopping Center for $1400 a month (for 60-hours a week work). I read for several hours every day and finished about 100 books during my year with my brother.

Before leaving Australia, I spent almost a week with my sister Ellen and her husband Peter on the beach of Surfers Paradise in southern Queensland. Even pouring rain couldn't keep me from body surfing on the angry waves. One day when no one was on the beach, a riptide caught me and pulled me out to sea. Feeling strong, I battled the rip directly but only exhausted myself while moving farther away from land. A big wave knocked me under and I gulped salt water. I thought I'd die.

When I came to the surface, I breathed in the fresh air and forced myself to float on the choppy sea until I calmed down. Then I began swimming sideways out of the rip tide, followed the good advice I'd heard many times. After ten minutes, I made it back to land and collapsed on the sand.

I told my sister what happened. "You naughty boy," she said. "Your Uncle Bruce and Aunty Linda say that you don't respect the Australian ocean."

Also during my stay in southeast Queensland, Ellen took me shopping for clothes. I spent almost $300, more than my total outlay on apparel over the next few years.

I returned to California in June 1985 and to the KAHI/KHYL news department. For the first time I got paid - $3.50 an hour.

In September, I became a full-time student at Sierra Community College. One morning late in the month, I drove into the sun and, at 30 mpg, hit a parked school bus. Though I wore a seat belt, I still smashed my head against the steering wheel. As the blood ran down my face, I looked into the back window of the bus at the horrified glances of the children.

A few minutes later, an ambulance rushed me to Auburn Faith Community Hospital where I received dozens of stitches between my eyebrows.

I phoned in the story to the radio station that morning and the next week I talked about my accident on "News At Noon," my twice-weekly 20-minute news show running throughout the school year for 7400 cable television subscribers in Placer County.

In Antonio Damasio's 1994 book Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, he writes about people who suffer an injury to the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex (VMPFC) just behind the bridge of the nose. "Their emotionality dropped nearly to zero. They could look at the most joyous or gruesome photographs and feel nothing. They retained moral knowledge and showed no deficits in IQ, they even scored well in Kohlberg's test of moral reasoning, yet when it came to making moral decisions in their personal lives and at work, they made foolish decisions or no decisions at all. They alienated their families and their employers and their lives fell apart. Damasio's interpretation was that gut feelings and bodily reactions were necessary to think rationally and that one job of the VMPFC was to integrate those gut feelings into a person's conscious reactions."

"Damasio's patients could think about anything with no filtering or coloring from their emotions. Every option felt as good as the other... You'd make foolish decisions too." (The Righteous Mind (2012) by Jonathan Haidt)

I did not mention my accident in the Sun, Sierra's student newspaper which I revived and edited. In the first issue, November tenth, 1985, I wrote under the headline "Funding Remains Major Problem":

"With great teachers, under great administrators, instructing great students, Sierra College's only major problem is that the Governor wont give it enough money."

"Do you really believe that?" students asked me.

"I'm just a humble student of the truth," I replied, "with no opinions of my own."

In issue two, November seventh, 1985, I returned to my controversial ways by writing about the school's mixed athletics success under the kicker headline "Somebody Has To Lose":

In the last ten years, Sierra has won one championship in football and baseball and none in basketball.

This record does not bother President Gerald Angove, who says, "we compete well."

When pressed to date the last championship in a major sport, Dr. Angove could only say "recently."

"Recently" is 1981....

"Somebody has to lose," says Athletics Director George Goto...


In issue three, 12/12/, I wrote a news analysis of the pros and cons of tenure.

"Tenure.... Officially it doesn't exist, but Sierra leaders all say that it is "virtually impossible" to fire a teacher."

I knew in my gut that there was something wrong with a system that couldn't fire its incompetents, and I had my share of incompetent college teachers.

My article reflected my bent at both high school and college to write more about teachers and administrators than about students. I find people older than myself more interesting.

Sierra's Dean of Instruction at the time, Dr. Marty Jack, wrote to me in the summer of 1992: "You stand out in my memory because of your need to know.... You were never satisfied with the status quo."

With the flu, I stumbled through finals week at the end of January and emerged with a B-average. After completing my weekend work at the radio station, I drove to the Muth home at Pacific Union College (PUC) to watch the end of the Chicago Bears big Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots. In the living room with my friend Andy sat the eighteen year old Lorie Winn. Wearing a soft white tracksuit, she seemed to me an angel.

Andy and his sister Jenny Muth attended Monterey Bay Academy with Lorie and they remember how many of the guys there wanted to marry her.

I drove Lorie to the Napa Valley that week to see the movie Romancing the Stone Part Two. Despite going out with her only once, she remains (as I write in '93) the most lovely lady I've dated.

Winn showed the essential qualities that I looked for in a woman - femininity, discipline, good character, moderation, social grace, appreciation of my abilities, and a sense of God.

Though I was no longer religious at age nineteen, I longed for a faith to inspire me. I wanted to go where God was. I wanted Lorie to show me.

I phoned Lorie upon arriving back home in the foothills, but after a few rings I hung up the phone because I felt inadequate. Lorie was the classiest female who had ever shown interest in me.

Four years elapsed before I wrote to her. I received no reply.

I went out with Lorie despite a nagging cold that became mononucleosis (my own diagnosis for I never went to a doctor) which crippled me from February through May 1986. I kept my job at the radio station, however, finished 18-units at school and edited the college newspaper.

During those miserable days, I thought often of Lorie and wished that she'd come take care of me. My parents were away in Australia during most of my illness.

In issue six of the Sun, I wrote in my "Editor's Desk" column, under the headline "Money For Nothing, Chicks For Free":

Forget the dreams of high growth no-risk mutual funds, limited nuclear war in the Middle East, and straight A's without studying, what most of us really want is safe sex. We want it clean, clinical and without the hassle of birth control. The results are tragic.

Close to one-third of all children in the United States are born out of wedlock, almost 60% of all black children. Many of those born out of wedlock are born to teenage mothers, who then have to rear the child with little or no help from the father. Parents suddenly turned grandparents often react with anger after the shock wears off.


In issue seven "Editor's Desk", under the headline "Money For Nothing, School For Free," I write again under the influence of the hit song of Dire Straits:

Would you like to be rich and successful? Come to Sierra and drop out.

A recent study released by the College shows that the average Sierra dropout is a middle-aged woman earning $33,500 a year who takes classes for fun...

Sierra spent over $10,000 to reach that shattering conclusion...

California's 106 community colleges are confused in mission... part of a national educational malaise.


I received several letters about my column which I published in our final issue of the year, May 29, 1986. Joan McFarland, Sociology instructor, wrote:

It's hard to tell what the explanation for the May 2nd article "Money for nothing, School for free" might be....

... Third, malice toward women on the editor's part, or at least a lack of sensitivity if this and a previous column "Chicks for free" is any indication. What does he have against women attending college?

... Finally, tasteless exhibitionism... possibly a pattern developed in earlier articles... Reduce the Sun to a pitiful rag entirely lacking in credibility in the fashion of Rupert Murdoch....


My newspaper colleague from the first semester, Karen Bjlsma wrote: "I've been under the illusion that an "editor" reads his own paper. Possibly, an editor even researches a topic before illuminating it for the rest of us. In an academic environment, these skills are essential....Luke Ford bemoans "subsidizing" "recreational" classes for middle-aged affluent reentry students. I say the Sun has subsidized his uninformed opinions long enough."

In my final column, I continued my controversial ways:

The early morning was like the perfect blond - crisp and cool on the outside, light and airy on the inside....

So what deep and meaningful conclusion can we reach form the study? First, that it's flawed. Whoops, that's my "Money For Nothing" column. How did it get in here?

No, the answer is abstinence, cold showers and rubbers. God dammit, that's "Chicks for free...."


I look back upon such writing as harmless bad-taste protest against political correctness.

I emerged again into health in June 1986 and finished the semester with better than a B average.

Without me, the Sun fell apart the next school year.

"I longed for Luke Ford," Adviser Bill Howarth told me years later for those who followed me were even more obnoxious and tasteless. The job I did with the Sun so impressed Sierra's administrators that it helped Howarth get hired at the college as a full-time English teacher. In May 1993, Howarth said that after me the Sun never again achieved excellence.

I began working construction in June 1986. Pale and skinny from my long illness, I showed up to my first day of work wearing white tennis shoes and a long pointy hat that made me look like a penguin.

Everybody laughed at me. They didn't think I'd last.

For the first three days, I did nothing but swing a pick and push a shovel. I collapsed in bed when I arrived home. Nobody thought that I'd last. I quit working mornings during the week at the radio station.

On Friday, the bosses Carl Elrod and Lee Gardner selected me to work on a special project the next day. I said that I couldn't do it because I anchored weekend news on KAHI radio. Carl and Lee then got on my case and I changed my mind.

I got to work at KAHI early that next morning, did the first couple of newscasts live, taped my news segments for the rest of the day and left.

I drove to the Roseville home of Dominion Enterprises owner Doug Hanzlick and it was mutual affection at first sight. He correctly noted my accent to be Australian and he remembered my name. Doug also introduced me to his youngest daughter Becky, 16, who loved Australia.

Becky and I flirted most of the afternoon and that day became a turning point for my landscaping. For the first time I enjoyed my work. The Hanzlick family of parents Doug and Sharon, the two older daughters Cheryl and Shelly, and Becky praised me to my bosses Carl Elrod and Lee Gardner. They in turn promoted me to more important and better-paying work than swinging a pick.

Not only my muscles but also my ego swelled that summer. I logged over 400 hours landscaping some months, along with working 12-18 hours a week at the radio station.

On and off for the next two years, I dated Becky - the exotic dancer whose hair color varied across the spectrum of the rainbow every few weeks.

My G&E landscaping bosses, Carl Elrod and Lee Gardner, belonged to the Assembly of God, a fast-growing fundamentalist Protestant church awash in passion and speaking in tongues. Lee and I in particular, engaged in many discussions on why I was not a Christian.

"You're such a nice guy," said Lee many times. "You're honest, you don't drink or swear.... Why don't you believe in God?"

"Because I want to live for myself and not for God," I answered. "I don't want to give up the option of enjoying as many sexual partners as I want."

"Are you getting any?" asked Lee.

"No," I replied, "except in my imagination. And Jesus said that if you lust after a woman in your heart, you've committed adultery."

I so enjoyed working in the sunshine that I dropped the Sun and all of my classes but two that fall semester, 1986. I did take my first class (American Government) from the eloquent liberal-left Political Science chair Larry Wight. We engaged in heated arguments. Professor Wight blew up at me midway through the semester, saying that he found me increasingly obnoxious. I didn't say another word for the rest of the term.

After I transferred to UCLA, Wight wrote to me that I had a good brain but that I should be more careful about how I used it in public or people will hurt me.

I found landscaping during the cold winter miserable. The next semester I took on 18-units as well as working full-time.

I took Wight's Comparative Government class in the Spring Semester, 1987. I asked many questions, earned an A and occasional accolades from the tall intimidating teacher, such as, "You were right Mr Ford about the Iran-Contra affair and the damage it would do to the Reagan administration."

The previous semester Wight said that he thought President Reagan would be able to wriggle out of the mess. I said that the scandal would paralyze the Reagan administration.

In 1987, my sister tried to talk me into pursuing law at Queensland University with her. (Law and medicine are undergraduate degrees in Australia's English style of education.) I flirted with the idea, and collected several letters of recommendation from my teachers.

My Marxist Macroeconomics teacher Richard Alman wrote that I actively participated in class, often stimulating lively discussion. Communications teacher Michael Hunter, from whom I took three classes, wrote that Luke Ford "works hard, gets along well with people and above all is a delight to be around. Luke is out-going and his sense of humor is appreciated by all those around him."

Leftist professors like Wight, Richard Alman, Don Cosper, John McFarland and others, influenced me to explore Marxism. I found it an intriguing opposite to Christianity. Here was a faith focused on this history with the forces of good (the workers) sure to win out. I loved Marxism's beautiful words and the prominent position it gave to Intellectuals who led the way because they understood the iron laws of history.

Among the few clear passages in Marx's writings were vicious statements about Jews, such as "Money is the jealous God of Israel." Marxism extends simple class conspiracy theory so that the small group running the world is not just Jews, but all those who share Jewish values. "Inwardly circumsized Jews" carry the Mark of the Beast--money.

"Was Marx antisemitic?" I asked Sierra's resident socialist John McFarland.

"Marx spoke crudely," he replied. "But ignore that and concentrate on Marxism's grand historical sweep."

I did. For why should I care any more about anti-Jewish feelings than I did about anti-Mexican bigotry?

In August 1987 I gave several weeks notice to KAHI/KHYL radio and G&E Landscaping that I planned to quit to concentrate fully on my coming 21-unit college schedule. I retained my gardening job of about 20-hours a week with Doug Hanzlick and Dominion Enterprises.

In the fall semester 1987, I earned straight As for the first time in my life. It didn't come easy. I arose at four every morning, studied my hardest class, Trigonometry, first and then went on through science to English, etc. I got to school about seven AM and studied until class at eight. I generally finished school around one PM. I then put in a few hours of gardening work for Dominion (earning $15, 314 in 1987), studied some more before driving home, eating, and falling asleep by eight PM.

I studied harder than I worked, caring more about ideas than I did about people.

My frantic schedule took its toll on my body. I had been in peak physical shape in September but by November I regularly got severe colds and flus. I would fast to recover quicker, go to school sick, and at times lose up to 15 pounds before bouncing back. I worried about how I would fare at university considering my difficulty with keeping my health in a community college.

I feared that I would never achieve my dreams of getting a Ph.D. in economics from Oxford. I vowed, however, to give it my best.

My sister Elenne stayed with my parents and me over Christmas vacation 1987. She slept in my room and reported that I called out obscenities as I tossed and turned in my sleep.

Feeling under self-imposed pressure to ace my coming exams, I strained at my study limit of six hours a day to get that extra edge. My family worried that I pushed myself too hard. I promised to relax after finals.

On the first day of my Spring semester 1988, I saw that I had achieved straight As the past semester. I then confidently added two classes to bring the number of my units to 22, an impossible load. I didn't need to take Introduction to Communications or Introduction to Sociology, but I wanted to take them anyway to learn something.

Also, I wasted time on such frivolity as "The Dating Game" which featured "Sierra's Sexiest Men and Women." I lost.

In addition, I took time out that semester to participate in Sierra College's award ceremony where I picked up Student of the Year prizes in Political Science and in Communications.

A beautiful brunette in my Calculus class asked me one day to help her with her homework. On the Sunday afternoon beginning Spring break, I brought "Legs" home alone. After lunch, we took a little walk which in the days afterward I captured this way:

The Road Taken

He hesitated before leaving the beaten path. The dusty road ahead was straight, narrow, and thoroughly efficient. But to his left spread an inviting mass of tangled bushes and gnarled oak tress, red berries and green leaves, wild irises whispering of spring, poison ivy warning of danger. Looking up and down, he chose the trail less traveled and plunged in. She followed awkwardly, her stride confined by a tight white dress.

At the end of the thicket, they paused and stared down the canyon to the Auburn Ravine below. "I'm going to kill you," she said with a smile, brushing the bugs out of her hair. He stood at the edge, feeling her hands grip his ribs as she threatened to push him onto the jagged rocks below.

They descended to the bottom of the canyon, skipped over a few rocks to the other side of the water, and clambered upstream. She slipped several times on the wet rocks, but always regained her balance before falling into the cold mountain stream. She gave up cleaning her shoes and socks; once white and pink, they were now covered with mud. Losing battles with blackberry bushes had cut her impeccable legs. She felt tired.

He chose a sunny rock and they sat together. He rested his head in her lap and she ran her fingers through his hair.

He looked upstream at the water drifting by wide banks, taking its time negotiating gentle curves, finally speeding up, frothing and spitting as the channel narrowed, pounding against granite, forced between two long smooth rocks and gushing between them, exploding over the edge before collapsing spent, and flowing onwards.

He shifted his head in her lap and watched her face silhouetted against the sun, the bright light dancing on brown hair, flashing against white teeth. It always blinded him when Barbara smiled.


We didn't study any Calculus that day, but a week later I drove to her house and found out that she knew the subject much better than I did. I lost my confidence, fled her home after a couple of hours, and hardly talked to her again.

A few days later, I gave her the story above (typeset, in a glass frame), but I refused to talk to her. I felt emasculated by my inferior mathematical ability and declining health.

One morning in February, I had woken up with a bad flu that never left. When I stumbled back to school after a couple of days in bed and tried to resume my schedule, I got another flu-like attack - bad headaches, sore throat, muscle exhaustion (but no congestion).

I drank each day a dozen glasses of water which my parents and I later found out was contaminated.

I visited a doctor at Sierra's Student Health. His first thought was AIDS. I tested negative. UCLA tested me again for AIDS less than a year later and again the result was negative.

I went to another doctor who thought Epstein Barr Virus, another trendy disease of the time. Again, negative.

Though what I most needed was rest, I felt under pressure at work because I had over-ordered hundreds of dollars worth of plants which had to get in the ground. I dropped two classes that Spring semester 1988 and finished 15-units with an A- average.

Barbara finished her Calculus final twenty minutes before me and I've never seen or heard from "Legs" since. In December 1991 I sent her a 90-minute audio tape explaining what I was going through in the spring of 1988, but she didn't reply.

I drove that June morning 1988 from my Calculus final to San Francisco to consult Dr. Shelly Gordon. My mother prepared a letter describing my problem: "Recurring viral symptoms--fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, hives, fatigue, malaise and headaches.... His dirty socks have always smelt terrible, as though something died."

Dr. Gordon ordered many tests, but all results were normal.

I drove from San Francisco to Pacific Union College (PUC) to stay with the Muths.

"Let's go water skiing," Andy suggested.

I said that I didn't feel up to it.



"Let's do this or that?"


"Why did you come here then if you can't do anything?" I didn't answer.

Later I took a gentle walk around the block with my friend's mother. She pointed out all the rental properties and minorities in the area. Near to her home, she spread out her thin arms.

"The neighborhood is dying," she said.

I felt like we were all dying before our time. Early the next morning I drove home. I rested for the next two weeks from my landscaping work and ploughed through Adam Smith's 1776 book The Wealth of Nations. Then I felt well enough to return to work and take a couple of easy summer classes.

As I increased my studies over the last week of school, I felt my body run down and another relapse wash over me.

My parents urged me to stay home from UCLA but I drove away anyway one Monday afternoon at the end of August.

I napped at a couple of stops along I-5 before cresting the mountains leading to southern California. I saw all the lights and felt excited that this would be the place that I'd recover my health and make it big.

Over the next four weeks at the UCLA campus in Westwood, I slept in the bushes beside the girls' softball field for I didn't want to spend the money to get better accommodations. My diet largely consisted of peanuts, raisins and oatmeal.

I had two health reasons for risking southern California. One, perhaps there was something in my environment at home that made me sick. Two, my parents knew an eccentric practicioner of Hormone Replacement Therapy, Norman Beals, who had successfully treated my stepmother's Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).

I drove to see Dr. Beals in Santa Ana and he ran tests of my endocrine system that showed low thyroid and testosterone levels. He pumped me full of testosterone, thyroid, gamma globbulin, Vitamins C, B-6 and B-complex.

Immediately feeling better, I plunged into work, taking jobs at the Periodicals Desk of the UCLA's University Research Library and as a gardener at a private home in Westwood. Towards the end of September, 1988, I moved into the  UCLA dormitory Rieber Hall. I stayed on a special Quiet Floor for serious students which was filled with Asians and Jews.

I'd never knowingly met Jews before. They seemed to have little in common, except for tendencies to irreverence and verbal violence. They did nothing to challenge my impression of Judaism's irrelevance. I had one yarmulka-wearing religious Jew in two of my microeconomics classes. Once, before my Public Finance class, he asked me about "On the Jewish Question;" one of several titles by Karl Marx that I'd written on the board to recommend to people to read.

"Overlook its anti-Jewish sections," I said, "and try to understand that Marx saw the Jew embodying the bourgeois values which enslave the world."

I saw black-garbed Hasidim around UCLA but they generally had their noses stuck into books while they walked. They ignored non-Jews, especially irreverent ones like myself.

I strode into the Fall Quarter with classes in Japanese (which required more study than my two other subjects put together), calculus and economics.

Nervous 17 and 18-year olds filled my coed dorm. Full of testosterone, I felt confident, sexy and the center of attention.

Then I fell down while playing football and sprained my ankle. I limped on crutches for days and endured physical therapy for weeks. This distracted me from my responsibilities and ate up my meager strength.

Once on my feet again, I dated, worked, studied and wore down. In the eighth week of the Fall quarter, I got a bad flu. I dropped two of my classes, and stumbled into Student Health at the UCLA Medical Center seeking help. Nothing they prescribed worked.

I got an A in my Econ 181A (European Economic History) class, quit my jobs and drove home in the middle of December wondering if I should quit UCLA.

My brother and sister offered to fly me home to Australia. I declined and fought on for my health and education.

My parents' medical insurance changed and that stopped me from continuing with Dr. Beals.

I rested during my three weeks with my parents in Newcastle, worked on an autobiographical novel which descended deeper into filth, and studied economics and calculus a few hours a day. It was too much for my system. I relapsed shortly before returning to UCLA in early January to begin the winter quarter with calculus, micro-economic theory, and the second quarter European Economic History Class.

I hoped that by not working I'd be strong enough for my schedule. Wrong. Two-thirds through the quarter I again dropped two classes. I finished Dr. Russell Roberts' class in micro-economic theory with an A.

My dormmates whispered amongst themselves that my problems were all in my head. I had a CAT scan of my pituitary gland, but like the rest of my medical tests at Student Health, the results were normal.

Too sick to shoulder a full academic load, I hung on at UCLA because I believed that this elite university was where I belonged. Despite my poor health, I impressed several of my professors and fellow students. For minutes and occasionally hours at a time, I emerged from my illness with sustained bursts of clear thinking. But then I relapsed.

Occasionally on weekends, I'd play 20-30 minutes of aggressive basketball. For a few moments on the court, as I knocked around my little Asian friends and scored many baskets, I felt like a man again. Then I would stumble back to my dorm bed.

At times, I could get it up to making some great moves under the covers as well. During those frenzies with my girlfriend, I felt good again, but they rarely lasted more than five minutes.

Confused about myself, I desperately sought clarity on the universe. Help came from four wise men and a virgin.

By Luke Ford Chapter One Chapter Two  Chapter Three  Chapter Four Chapter Five  Chapter Six   Chapter Seven  Chapter Seven B Chapter Eight   Chapter Nine  Chapter Ten  Chapter Eleven  Chapter Twelve  1994-1997 1997  1998 1998B 1999 2000 2001 2009