I was reading JJ's blog the other day, and as I was reading his rendering of his new life in Peru and the comments that followed, some thoughts started flowing through my mind:
It seems that JJ also retains some nostalgic bittersweet memories of a time gone by, when Shiraz was peaceful, green, and full of life. I remember those days too. I was there. We lived in Qasr ol-dasht. The entire neighborhood was covered with dense baghs. A true oasis. I used to play with our neighbor's kid, an American, whose dad probably was training some Air Force pilots. The Shiraz river in those days was full and pure, straight out of the mountains, and people would take their families out every evening to some hamburger place in their new fancy Chevy Blazers. Those were the days.
But it was not to last. A vile form of political Islam descended upon us. And soon the war started, the gasht and komitehs started patrolling the streets of afif abad, and everything went downhill from there. Shiraz died a slow death after the revolution. Nothing of it remains today but vast forests of concrete apartment high rises, smoggy skies, and long lost memories. No more intoxicating yaas or narenj fragrances as you stroll by in the koochehs. The Islamist fuckers even changed the names of all the streets as if to wipe clean all memories of those days from existence. If Cusco has any remote semblance to my old beautiful Shiraz of the late 70s, then I'd like to visit it. The mountains in the Google pictures certainly do look similar.
I can see where JJ is coming from. He's tried to escape the commotion. The craziness. The endless conflicts and wars. The judgemental people. The fast paced mechanical world of robotic employees working like slaves. You work, you eat, you sleep, only to repeat the same cycle next day over and over again. What's the point of it all? JJ wants to experience the finer and simpler things in life before his time is up in this world. I suppose we all do. I certainly do.
But I can also see where folks like AO come from too. He calls JJ "lazy" for choosing the path he has. One must remember that AO comes from a hard core science background, like myself. For folks like us, the whole point of being alive is to contribute to our compendium of knowledge. We all live and die, and after only 2 generations, no living soul will remember our name. Who we were. What we did. As if we never even existed. The only thing then that gives meaning to life is the few things we helped accomplish to help the lives of others. Even if small and trivial.
My life perhaps is the life JJ has escaped from. I run 3 hospitals and a dozen clinics in 2 states. If I were to leave my job for one month, everyone would start getting nervous about losing accreditation to The Joint Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the state dept of health services, and several other agencies. I often have to work after hours. Weekends. Whatever it takes. All to keep things going. I direct 3 medical residency programs. Im responsible for passing their boards. I'm constantly trying to figure things out that the normal docs can't or won't address. Do we use the newly FDA approved Ga-68 for our PET patients? How do we validate our Fe quantification method for patients with liver transplants? Why are technologists sending such shitty L-spine images from our sports medicine clinic? How do we measure glomerular filtration rate for our hem/onc patients? It's rewarding in a way, I suppose, because the decisions I make directly help with the WellCare of many people out there.
But my life is stressful as fuck, and it's slowly costing me my health. Even though I make close to 200k, I have 400k of private and public student loans to pay off over the next 25 yrs. So my entire monthly paycheck goes toward paying these loans, bills, mortgages, and baby expenses. I therefore have no savings. And no retirement funds saved up. Can't afford to. There's nothing left of my paycheck every month to save up. Once I retire, I will probably die poor like Tesla. And for now, I'm practically a slave to my student loans. Can't go to Cusco. Can't do shit. Who knows, maybe Senator Warren will think of something. Or maybe agha will zohoor, as my mom loves to say, and "dissolve" all of Wall Street! (Shias are delusional as fuck. I know). But the point is, I'm stuck. I can't move. I can't break free of the bonds of servitude and go somewhere far and peaceful, like JJ has. I wish I could. But so can't many many others. Such is life.
So to JJ I'd like to say congratulations. Enjoy the freedom you have secured for yourself. It's very precious indeed. Enjoy the colors, the smells, the sunlight. Enjoy the markets and vegetables and street vendors. I hope you won't grow tired of it. I mean, even Mohammed in all his holiness grew tired of Haraa (the cave) and Gabriel's free nehzat-e savaad amoozi classes, and eventually returned back to Mecca from his solitude. 
And for the rest of us: we're fucked. If Trump becomes president, things will go to shit, and it will prove the country has completely lost their mind. If Hillary wins, the backlash will become more visible, generating even more hatred. The Ann Coulters and Sean Hannitys will multiply and things will continue to spiral into chaos. Who knows, the republic might even break up, and states might start seceding. As for Iran, the Islamic republic will rule for another 150 yrs, replace all universities with howzehs, continue to blame all evil on the west, and cook up another war for us and call it 'Defaa'e Moqaddas'. And dumbass people will continue to follow and vote for new 'reformists'. Every. single. time.