3 March 1963 / Magnus Estate

I had to fire Jake today.

I will miss him, though I think I will be the only one. I can't blame the other doctors. To them, he was just the auto mechanic who I hired on a whim, but to me he was something more; a feral prodigy who I thought would turn the medical world on its ear.

I met Jake after I punched a hole in the engine block of my Jaguar during an experiment in transcendental driving. I was first stricken by his open mindedness--he did not bat an eye at my driving costume (a loin cloth and body paint). All he cared about was the machine. His command of the automobile was masterful. I was put in mind of Ferenc Fricsay at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic, so adeptly did he manipulate each valve and gasket of my wounded vehicle.

To me, it did not seem unreasonable that a man who was so comfortable re-working the innards of a car might be able to do the same with the innards of a human being. Not all of the Jaguar's parts have a human analog, but there are more similarities than differences. I knew he might never be a great diagnostician or research physician, but he seemed at least as capable of most of the surgeons I have known. I made him an offer on the spot, and he happily accepted. He ascribed his anxiousness to leave his post at the garage to a feud with his boss, Donnie. I believe its root lay in a purloined "six pack" of beer. In retrospect, this should have been a red flag.

I created the position of Junior Surgeon for Jake, and assured him that as he became more comfortable with working on the human body, he would be granted operating privileges, and eventually status as an "Actual Surgeon." Initially, he did show great aptitude; his grasp of anatomy rivaled our most senior doctors, (even if he did endearingly insist on calling veins and arteries "hoses") but it was not to last.

All too often we found him abusing the nap room. And bottles of ether and medical gin began to go missing. I still appreciated the folksy wisdom he brought to our team, but within a few weeks, I knew I had made a mistake. His reluctance to ever wash his hands was an issue almost immediately.

When I told Jake that I would have to let him go, he seemed to have been expecting it. He just solemnly nodded, filled his pockets with pens and mints and left. I may have been naive to think that I could make him a doctor, but if I am a fool, let it be the kind of fool who sees only the best in others, rather than the kind who is blind to the potential greatness within us all.

Tomorrow, my heart will sink at the sight of Jake's sleeveless lab coat in his abandoned locker.