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So many lawyers, so little time...

"The prospect of hanging focuses the mind wonderfully"--Samuel Johnson

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Location: Louisville, KY, United States

Gastroenterologist, cyclist, cellist, Christian, husband, father, grandfather.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Cap'n Andy's advise for the lovelorn lawyer

Not long ago I encountered one of the most miserable-looking patients I had seen in my office in a long time. Overweight, out of shape, hypertensive, his face frozen in a scowl, this poor gentleman recited a litany of complaints ranging from stomach pain to lack of energy to sexual dysfunction. As he was getting ready for his physical examination I stole a glance at a large stack of papers he had brought with him, just in case I was running way behind schedule: "Party X alleges that Party Y knew or should have known that their actions, being negligent and wantonly irresponsible, caused damage and irreparable harm and yada yada yada..."

I might have known. A lawyer. Too bad.

One of the Big Lies in our culture is that we value freedom of expression and the right to express our opinions often and loudly. What we really value is the license to spout off whatever vulgar, ill-conceived and offensive nonsense we want. The Real Truth is that anyone who speaks the Real Truth takes a risk of getting sued, screwed, or crucified.

I speak the Truth in my office at most once every two or three years. I'm not proud of this, but it's true.

I recall one such time: "Bill, you claim to be a born-again Christian but you sleep around with every available woman in your congregation, catch hepatitis B, come to me to get patched up just so you can go and do it again. I'm writing on the prescription for you to take a vow of abstinence until you get married. No intercourse, no diddling around, no nothing. Put it in your wallet where you used to store your condoms."

Lest anyone think I was being brave, self- righteous, or (gasp!) judgmental ("Honey, pull the blinds and hide the children! I'm scared! A judgmentalist!"), I should add this:

  • He was smaller than me. I knew I could whoop him if I had to.
  • He wasn't a gun owner.
  • He wasn't a lawyer.
  • I was struggling with my own Mid-Life Crisis issues, so I was speaking as one pilgrim to another.

There are a lot of other times I would have liked to have told the Real Truth. "I'm sorry to hear that you're getting divorced, but over the last ten years you've been self-centered, self-indulgent, and image-consumed. You've put all of this over your family and it's taken a huge toll on your health."

"Just because you're gay doesn't mean you have to put any eager appendage into any willing orifice. Mother Nature isn't kind to the promiscuous, gender preference and condom usage be damned. If you don't stop, you're going to pick up something worse than hepatitis (I actually said something to this effect once, and the guy's two buddies almost fell off their chairs laughing. I'm glad I was a source of joy to them)".

"Ma'am, it's impossible to gain 30 pounds in six months if you're only eating 1200 calories a day, and no, you don't have a thyroid problem because I've already checked it. Truth be told, you have one bad case of Chronic Twinkie Poisoning."

Just this once I decided to tell the Real Truth to my lawyer patient: "You know, you make your living by siphoning money from your clients in return for no other benefit than to protect them from your own kind trying to do the same. What are you going to say when you're on your deathbed and recalling what you've accomplished with your life? 'Gee, I wonder if this is considered a billable hour?' You fool! Life doesn't owe you a Lexus and a summer house on the beach. Give them up. Tell you partners to buzz off. Open a bagel shop. You'll feel like a new man."

The Real Truth is that I said this: "Take these pills and you'll feel better. Oh, by the way, it looks like you're pushing it pretty hard. Try to take more time off and get some exercise."


Blogger JusPasenThru said...

Revised x 1.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Internal Medicine Doctor said...

The ral truth is: that was hilarious. I'll try to link it.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous endonsg said...

Your best Blog yet, Dr. I thought I was the only one who felt this way!!

3:39 PM  
Anonymous rab said...

I speak the Truth in my office at most once every two or three years. I'm not proud of this, but it's true.

Maybe this was said in jest but it has the ring of truth.

We live in troubled times and there is an urgent need for people to stand up and tell the truth. I thing you are juspasenthru.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Julian Silvain said...

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2:01 PM  
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1:53 AM  

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