Nine years ago, I had brain surgery because of three concussions over the years – two from playing sports with my peers and one from a major car accident that nearly killed me.

A shunt was put in my skull to drain excess fluid through my head to my chest and into my stomach. Without this, my brain was swelling up and rubbing my skull, destroying cells. The surgery was a success.

After recovery, I went to one of my favorite nearby fast food places (not a chain) and was waited on by a longtime friend. Sitting in the back as the restaurant emptied, I noticed two men suddenly begin to hit and push my friend around over a gambling debt he owed.

I got up and got between them and told the “boys” to lay off. I was bigger than both of them and I had lost my hair, and the shunt protruded clearly from the top of my head. I looked more like Frankenstein than a man.

The boys were taken aback and told my friend to pay up as they left, totally miffed.

I encouraged my friend to pay, which he did, in a few days. He thanked me profusely. After all was said and done, I thought, “What did I do?”

But, helping my friend in need turned out to be a great thing. He never gambled again!

Jim Zak

North Riverside