Life Holds More Than
Just Plain Good Luck


Sheldon F. Katz

In the days long ago, when I still worked as an actor, my wife, Ginny, was a model-junior miss. On special occasions, when she would work for a certain photographer who knew me, he would ask her to have me come in with her for a shoot. One day, that photographer arranged to have Ginny pose for an advertisement and, afterwards, I would pose as a soldier.

Meanwhile, our four-year-old son, Marc, had been ill. The family doctor insisted it was only a minor flu. That evening, Marc could not eat. He started sweating due to a high fever, and felt like fainting. We called a hospital to report all this and asked for help. The hospital answered it would send a doctor immediately to check out the situation. Within the hour, a doctor arrived, and needed only minutes to note the boy was in critical condition. He told us to take him to the hospital and he would meet us there.

On arrival, the doctor ordered immediate treatment and rushed Marc to the emergency room. After what seemed hours, the doctor came out to tell us Marc had pneumonia and had we not called for help, we probably would have lost him that night. Further, the doctor said his treatment had been completed and Marc was now asleep in a bed in the children’s ward. Finally, he requested us to go home, get some rest, and wait for a call in the morning.

Home we went, rest we did not. Though we tried to sleep, praying for and worrying about Marc kept us up most of the night. Ginny did fall asleep well after midnight and I managed almost two hours of sleep before the phone call from the hospital came. Marc had come off the critical list, but would have to remain in the hospital under observation for several days. Ginny and I hastily dressed and drove quickly to visit our son. On arrival, we found him sleepy and groggy, but, thank God, on the path to recovery. As soon as he saw us, he begged to return to the apartment. No matter how hard we tried to explain that he had to remain in the hospital and that we would return that evening to visit him again, a nurse had to convince him.

We reluctantly left the hospital and went straight to our modeling assignments. Though tired from lack of sleep, Ginny did her gig and I followed with mine. We were on the verge of leaving when the photographer told me to wait. He took another look at this sleepy-eyed person with a mop hair. Muttering, “Perfect,” he gave me another assignment. He put a full beard and mustache on me, ruffled my hair a bit, and had me pose for a photo from which a sketch would be made.

And that is how this Jewish Sheldon landed up as Jesus, the Christ, on the cover of a bestseller book, THE NAZARENE, by Sholem Asch.

We topped the day with an evening visit to our son. A message from the doctor informed us the boy had made wonderful progress during the day, but would have to remain in the hospital for several more days. Three days later, an ecstatic four-year-old returned home. Though fully recovered, he still needed a few days of rest in bed. Perhaps, the key to the title of this anecdote comes from the doctor who responded. He was on his way to the theatre, taking his first day off in months, but decided duty came before pleasure.

Yes, life holds more than just plain good luck.

Copyright by
Sheldon F. Katz


Sheldon F. Katz,
was the model used for the image on the bookcover.

"The Nazarene" is available at Amazon

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