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To Illustrate

One day, when I was a 14-year-old high school freshman, school was dismissed early for a teachers' meeting. I conveniently neglected to tell my parents about the change and arranged to bring my girlfriend over to my house. We weren't planning to study.

As we were going up the steps, my neighbor, Mrs. Nolan, poked her head out of a window and said, "You're home awfully early, Jerome."

"Yes, Ma'am," I said, improvising a lame story about how we had planned to review algebra problems.

"Does your mother know you're home this early," Mrs. Nolan persisted, "and do you want me to call her?"

I gave up. "No, Ma'am. I'll go inside and call her while Kathy sits on the porch."

Mrs. Nolan saved our careers that day. If Kathy had gotten pregnant, she might not have become the doctor she is today. And my father had warned me that if I made a baby, the mutual fund he set up for me to go to college or start a business would have gone to the child. I'm glad Mrs. Nolan was at her window, ...

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