The College Years

The College Years

In a small country town, life is peaceful and predictable. Everyone does everything together. We chat, study, walk about, talk trash about this dude, go to the beach, talk trash about this girl, then go shopping (before 7pm), to the movies (precisely at 7pm) or to a party (after 7pm) where we talk trash about everyone.

We are always together, and there is no such thing as anonymity.

When I’m given a place in a medical school in Paris, I rush headlong into the capitol’s crowd without looking back.

I discover urban life, the métro, Fnac’s huge bookstores, unhinged parties and restaurants that don’t close until 6am. It’s also my first time facing distress and death, as I decide to start with the worst: the Emergency Department in a major hospital. I am 20 and one of my first patients dies in my arms, after chatting with me for about an hour. One second, we are joking together. He’s my age, he tells me about his vacation, his girlfriend, his plans for the future. The next, he’s convulsing. Another second and he’s dead.


I have just been shown very clearly that life has no meaning, in case I wasn’t sure.

My weird lifestyle is born: I sleep all morning, I dissect dead bodies in the afternoon,I work in fast-food joints after that, and at night I write.

I do my best to produce articles. The idea is to do something else, to stop thinking about medicine all the time. Good news, the RPG devil is back, tickling me in an unexpected place: I am commissioned by Casus Belli, the reputed roleplaying magazine.

I just go for it.

For eight years, I keep studying while writing with my best friend, a student who’s as nuts as I am (actually, he’ll end up head of psychiatry). We co-write over a hundred scenarios, some of which leave a mark and become classics for a generation of “roleplayers” (that’s what they call us, as if we had some sort of disease).

I am swamped with work, I don’t sleep, I don’t eat, I don’t have a penny, but I find time to get married.