61 years ago today, the Allies landed at Normandy, heralding the beginning of the end of the Third Reich.

13 years ago today, my wife and I were married.

There have been speculations that the two are not entirely unrelated.

OK, it's an old joke for us to link our wedding date to D-Day. It came up soon after my wife and I set June 6 as our wedding date, and my best man even used a variation of it in his wedding toast. Given my interest in World War II history, such allusions are inevitable. However, on this anniversary, please indulge me for a moment as I take a brief stroll down memory lane. In honor of my wife (who doesn't quite understand my fascination with World War II history), there won't be any more references to World War II.

I promise.

The year was 1990. I was a freshly minted graduate student, having just finished the first two years of my surgical residency and had plunged into a Ph.D. program, a guinea pig for my Chairman to test whether it was possible for his residents to get through a Ph.D. program in the context of the residency program. The night of June 30, I was on call mopping up trauma patients at the county hospital. The morning of July 1, I was. . .confused. The culture shock was enormous, going from having to be at the hospital at 6 AM or earlier to being viewed as odd for coming in before 9 AM; from action and task orientation to having to study, take classes, and having a lot of unscheduled time to do experiments; from having to take call every third night to getting to go home every night. Overall, I adjusted fairly quickly, but I was now in essence cut off from all my friends in residency, who had either moved on to the third year or gone elsewhere to do research. It took me a while to figure out what to do with myself.

Sometime during that first summer in the lab I met her. I don't remember the first time we actually spoke, but she was working as a technician in a lab down the hall from the lab I was doing my first research rotation in. When September rolled around, I found that we were in a first year graduate level class together. Somehow, we started to "happen" to run into each other at the coffee machine rather frequently. There was clearly an attraction. Eventually, I got up the nerve to ask her out, something that wasn't so easy, given how shy I was back then.

I don't remember how this was decided, but we went out for dinner and then a show at the Improv in Cleveland. The headliner of the night was, oddly enough, Spanky. I remember being a bit embarrassed because his act, though quite funny, was also quite raunchy (raunchier than I had expected). I did not know her tolerance for this kind of entertainment or whether she would be offended. With each dirty joke, I couldn't help but wonder if my chances of my ever having a second date with her were slipping away. (Take note, young men, make sure you really know what the evening's entertainment will be like before deciding on it for your first date with a woman.) Fortunately, she wasn't.

We survived that initial awkwardness, kept dating, and rapidly became inseparable. Over the following months we fell in love. Less than two years after our first date, we were married.

The rest is history.

And I'd do it all again in a minute if I could.


  1. I understand your fascination with WWII history for I am also obsessed with war history. I am a 19 yr old Aussie female and people (ie my parents) find this strange, especially when I tell them it doesn't mean I want to join the Army (I'm a 2nd year med student in Aus).

  2. You took a girl on your first date to a show called "Spanky" ':-/
    Oh dear :-D

    Obviously you did something right though.

  3. Actually, "Spanky" was the stage name of the comedian.

  4. First, happy 13 th anniversary.

    Second, I can one-up you on BAD first date shows.

    In my freshman year in HIGHSCHOOL (and yes I was shy) I mistakenly (I promise I had no idea what the movie was about) took a girl to see "Basic Instinct".

    Imagine a shy ninth grader on his first date in BASIC INSTINCT!

    Sad to say, I did not survive to see a second date

  5. from Mrs. Orac-come on now, once Orac got to know my Dad and my brother he truly had to know that a little crude humor would not offend me. Besides the pre-show dinner could not have been more elegant and classy.
    Here's to 13X3 more, at least.

  6. Congrats on the anniversary. My old roommate from my time in grad school just had his 1 month anniversary. I will make sure I tell him that physicians who meet their spouse on the job can last a few years in that thing called marriage - he is finishing up a GI Fellowship and she is a nurse.

    Here's to that 13x3+


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