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Wynton Marsalis

Pulitzer Prize for Music

From the kindergarten to the third grade, I went to an all black school. So then, everybody liked me. I was the funny (guy), I would crack all the jokes. It was different, like we were all the same. And, then from the fourth grade to seventh grade, I went to an all white school, except there were two or three black kids, so then that was totally different. So, whereas in the black school, everybody would like you. If you made good grades they said you were smart. In the white school, you were like the enemy or something, but not all. Some of the kids were cool, but a lot of them, their parents didn't have a lot of money, so it just was a very strange transition to make, in terms of school. Because at one end, you go form, when you do good, you were elevated, you were given credit. At the other, you always had a battle on your hands. It was always like a battle going on because I had a lot of pride when I was little, from my great uncle, and if somebody called me a 'nigger' or a name I didn't like, I was just going to fight, that just was my way. Well, these white guys, they weren't like what you see on TV -- all scared of black people. If you wanted to fight, that was cool with them, too.
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Wynton Marsalis

Pulitzer Prize for Music

I think I enjoy being nervous sometimes. It's good. It's like whenever you are getting ready to get into a fight, you get nervous. You say, "Oh, well, looks like we're gonna have to fight." You'll be going up with somebody that'll try or just take your money or just tell you something you didn't want to hear. You really didn't want to fight because deep down you have the feeling that you are going to get beat up, but it makes you just pull something out of yourself. I'm gonna get beat up, but that's all right. I'm gonna put something out here. I get nervous sometimes when I play. Students ask me all the time, "I get nervous, what should I do?" I just tell them, just figure that the people that are there to hear you, they want to hear something sound good, and there is nothing you would rather be doing in front of all them people than playing because that's what you spend most of your time doing. Auditions are the worst. You get more nervous I think for that than playing for people. Because with people, you get a certain warmth. For an audition, everybody is doing a job. "Oh, well, let's see if he can play." And you know the people who are listening to you are really on the highest level of hearing, and they can really discern every mistake. When I get nervous, my palms start to sweat, my mouth gets dry, but I think, you know, "Wynton, you gotta play!" Hope it comes out; sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.
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Barry Marshall

Nobel Prize in Medicine

We mixed up a complete flourishing growth of bacteria from a petri dish -- we calculated out later that it was a thousand million bacteria -- and mixed it up, and I said, "Well, here it goes, down the hatch." And my lab technician, who was fairly conventional, he was horrified. He was waiting for me to drop dead, but I said, "Well, I'm feeling all right. Okay, let's press on." You know, go and do ward rounds. So, off I went and I kind of forgot about the experiment.
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Barry Marshall

Nobel Prize in Medicine

About the fifth or the sixth day I'd wake up at the crack of dawn and say, "I'm going to be sick." I'd run into the bathroom and I would vomit. But I wouldn't vomit up a meal, I would vomit up just this clear, watery liquid. And I said, "Well gee, that's weird. I don't do that very often." I did it about three mornings in a row and I noticed on the third morning there was no acid in the vomit, and just copious amounts -- maybe a pint -- of just watery stuff would come up. And I went, "Wow, this is weird." And my mother told me that weekend that I had bad breath. Only your mother would tell you such a thing is what I always say. She said, "Barry, are you constipated? How come you've got a bad breath?" I said, "Oh, you silly old nurse, what would you know?" My friends in the lab weeks later told me about this. And I said, "Well, why didn't you tell me I had bad breath?" Because that was interesting in itself. And they said, "Well, we didn't like to say, you know. It's impolite." So the poor fellows, they had to work with me in the lab all this week. I had an endoscopy on the eighth day and I was very, very sick with that endoscopy. Usually I can tolerate the tube pretty easily, with just a little gagging, but it was very uncomfortable. They took several biopsies from my stomach, and the biopsies showed severe damage to the lining, the mucosa. The bacteria all sticking all over the cells, and some of the cells were sloughing off, and the basement membrane was exposed, which is the layer that they sit on. The mucous layer was very, very thin. And so, great experiment!
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Johnny Mathis

Grammy Hall of Fame

I met some wonderful people in the hospital who said, "Well, are you taking anything?" Because when I didn't sing, I wouldn't take the medication. I wouldn't take the medication that he gave me. So I would have withdrawals, and I ended up in the hospital. But fortunately, I understood how devastating it was for me, when it took me, I don't know, maybe a month or two to get that out of my life. And then I also went through Alcoholics Anonymous, because I thought I was drinking too much and I thought it was I was embarrassed. But I had people who loved me and said, "Well, don't be embarrassed. Do something about it!" And I said, "What'll I do?" and they said, "Do this," and they sent me to people who helped me and got me off the booze. Maybe the only things that really could have ruined me. And it was all because of the input of other people. You can't do anything by yourself. Everything is a matter of who you surround yourself with.
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