Ten-Year-Old in
Hernia Operation
His mother was allowed to walk alongside the gurney only as far as the elevator that was to take him to the operating room. There the orderlies pushed him into the elevator, and it descended until it opened onto a shockingly ugly corridor that led to an operating room where Dr. Smith was wearing a surgical gown and a white mask that changed everything about him --- he might not even have been Dr. Smith. He could have been someone else entirely; someone who had not grown up the son of poor immigrants named Smulowitz, someone his father knew nothing about, someone nobody knew, someone who had just wandered into the operating room and picked up a knife. In that moment of terror when they lowered the ether mask over his face as though to smother him, he could have sworn that the surgeon, whoever he was, had whispered, "Now I'm going to turn you into a girl."

--- From Everyman
Philip Roth
© 2006 Houghton Mifflin
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