I am too cheap to buy the book that contains Carol Bly’s essay, “How Radiation Oncology Almost Made Me a Republican”, but I’ve always been intrigued by the teaser quote from the piece on her Web site:
“What makes someone act like a conservative? I finally—these four years later—have figured it out. For those forty-five days (of surgery and radiation oncology) I was like a little kid in a very good prep school. There is no emotional ease like the ease in American prep schools…in those forty-five days I lived in that sort of kindly ambiance. Anyone would want to stay in such an ambiance. Of course they would! They would want to stay in such an ambiance all their lives.”
I know prep school is a horror rather than a joy for many people, but I agree wholeheartedly with Carol Bly here – and I’m not even sure how or why the surgery and radiation oncology experience replicates prep school’s ambiance.
For now, I have managed to arrange an era that replicates a dimension of prep school that’s easier to describe: the schedule. 8 hours of intellectual play broken into two hour chunks – with physical activity in between. Heaven.