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Penicillin

John Maynard Smith

Scientist

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I was a sissy

WD Snodgrass - Poet

Well, I was, I think, a very sissified child and very much attached to my mother — strongly attached. I mean you know, she was... she was God; my... my father wasn't even one of the saints. And actually as I... as I got older and as I think about it now, he was a very nice man, and I should have admired him but... he certainly didn't admire me, I mean, because I was this sissified little boy, and he wanted me to be the kind of macho guy he was. He... he almost became a professional baseball pitcher, or catcher, pardon me, he was quite a good catcher. The thing was he wasn't... he had been very ill as a baby and came, oh, that close to dying as a little kid. He... he had such terrible coughing fits he would hold on to the fence to keep from knocking himself flat, and I think this... this late... showed up later on in things like: A... a really good catcher gets down in a squat, you know, and catches the ball and then he has to throw it to second base without getting up, and it has to be so low — so straight — that it would take the pitcher's head off if the pitcher hasn't moved to one side or another. Well, he couldn't do that very well, he said every time you do that you take... you take a week or two off your career and so he hadn't... he hadn’t become a professional pitcher but he... but he did get into fights and... and stuff like that and — fist fights, I mean — and... and he was very... he was very strong; he was very powerful — well-built but slight — and handsome. She on the other hand became sort of uglier and uglier and more sealed up in the house and... and more seal... trying to seal up all the wickedness that she saw around her in the world outside. And, I think I came to be very much under the... under the domination of that. I remember that as a child I walked around praying all the time. I mean... before I would throw a snowball, I would make a prayer that it would hit the guy — honest — you know, before I... before I did anything, you know. I was... I was a terrible believer.

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