A FUNNY STORY ABOUT JOE PATERNO, by Art Smukler, MD, author & psychiatrist

Once upon a time, years before Joe-Paterno’s-Penn-State-Camelot came crashing down in the Sandusky scandal (over 10 years ago), I convinced my wife, who to this day still thinks that football is a waste of time, to come with me and hear Joe speak. I focused on what a great public speaker he was, and that won the day. Since her job entailed a great deal of public speaking, she was curious as to how he did it.

We endured Friday afternoon traffic, got to the hotel, and found a few open seats at one of the many tables in the large auditorium. Then we waited and waited. Just about everyone was a PSU grad – Philly transplant so there was a lot to chat about. It was a few days before the Penn State – USC game and we all wondered how PSU would fare against the mighty Trojans.

Finally, an hour late, Joe arrived. To much applause, he picked up the mic and said something like, “If SC’s defensive line is anything like your traffic, we’re in trouble!”

Everyone laughed. Then he said, “Come on up. Say hi. I’m not going anywhere until I meet everyone.”

And the line, made up of hundreds of people, began to inch its way toward the evening’s honored guest. Joe took time to speak to everyone and never once did a smile leave his face.

Finally, an hour later, it was my turn.

I shook his hand and said how happy I was to meet him in person. The only thing I had in my pocket was one of my Arthur J Smukler, MD, psychiatrist, business cards. I took it out and asked if he’d please sign it. He read the card, looked me square in the face, and grabbed me around the neck. He yelled, at the top of his lungs, “I need this man! I need this man!” I’m 5’10” and Joe was maybe 5’6″. Then he stepped back and pointed to me so the entire auditorium could see. “He’s a psychiatrist!” he yelled again. “Now you know why I need him!” The whole auditorium rocked with laughter. Then in a quiet voice he said, “Thank you, Dr. Smukler, for everything you do to help people. It’s an honor to meet you.”

With a huge smile, I sat back down at the table. Later, as we ate dinner, Joe talked all about the football program. How many football players were honor students and how in order to play they had to be successful in the classroom. He stressed leadership, hard work, and academic excellence. During the Q & A someone said, “I hear SC’s offensive line is impossible to stop. Can you do it?”

Joe shrugged. “I don’t know.” Then with a big smile he left the stage.

As the years passed, we all learned that Joe wasn’t perfect.

Who is?

Please check out another Joe. Joe Belmont, my imperfect character in THE REAL STORY, a mystery.

#JoePaterno #Sanduskyscandal #PennState #JoPa “Psychiatrist

THOUGHTS ON TIME TRAVEL, by Art Smukler MD, author & psychiatrist

My trip back in time started this morning, with an innocent glance at the sports news.

The Big Ten just closed a blockbuster, seven year, seven billion dollar TV deal, to start in 2023. That’s a lot of money! All college athletes, nomatter what their sport, will benefit, as will the individual universities.

From there my mind wandered to Penn State football. Two weeks and the new season begins.

And from there, I was transported back to the sixties – Vietnam, Joe Paterno, JFK, Bay of Pigs, LBJ, Marching against the war… The 1964 NYC World’s Fair.

My mind spun faster and faster and faster and I was tossed back to a time that I hadn’t thought about in decades – the middle of the Spring Quarter of my senior year.

I got the intense idea that I needed to escape.

I tossed my suitcase in the trunk of my old Plymouth Valliant and set out to The Big Apple. The fact that I only had a few hundred bucks didn’t seem to bother me. Nothing bothered me! Genetics, histology, and biochemistry would just have to wait until I got back.

It was a six hour trip from State College to NYC. Halfway there, I somewhat came to my senses. Where would I stay? How much was food? Gas didn’t cost much, but my car only got 10-12 mpg and I would quickly run out of money.

I remembered a girl who had an apartment in the The Village. At the next gas station, I called information. The operator got me her number, and she hesitantly agreed that I could stay with her. She made me promise that whatever I saw or did at her place had to remain a secret.

I 100% agreed. Her secret would never leave my lips. In all these years, it never did.

What was the secret?

Check out my next post, THOUGHTS ON TIME TRAVEL 2.

You can also check out, THE REAL STORY, a mystery.

Mysteries can be fun.