The glorious Satchel Paige was undoubtedly right in that advice. Often the best policy is to keep your eyes and attention focused on the myriad possibilities that lay ahead of you rather than on the unalterable events, decisions and mistakes that lay behind.
But when called on to provide an autobiographical sketch, looking back at least a little is necessary. So here goes a brief glance into the past to describe something about me.
I was born in a big city and grew up amid pavements, pigeons and the near-constant clamor of bumper-to-bumper traffic and testy pedestrians. In acknowledging my brick-and-asphalt background, my college roommate, who hailed from a small town filled with lush greenery, once actually said, "When did you see your first real tree and did you know what you were looking at?" She later insisted it was a joke, but since she seemed dead serious at the time, I still have my doubts.
A writer and researcher, who has dealt with subjects as diverse as international organizations, multiple sclerosis, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and the Soviet Union (when there still was a Soviet Union), I enjoy taking long walks, visiting the Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Etruscan and dinosaur exhibits in museums, doing sudoku (but only the easy ones) and concocting stories about everyday people who laugh a lot, cry a little and ultimately find the happily-ever-after they deserve.
At the moment, I still live in a big city, but now thanks to the diligence of the local Parks Department, I can always recognize a real tree when I see one.