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Follow-Up Call

I felt a bit leery as I entered the doctor’s office the other day. It wasn’t so much the forty-foot flagpole adorned with the Stars and Stripes that remind us that we have the greatest healthcare in the world that put me off, it was the fact that the doctor had a logo, a fucking logo! It mostly consisted of his initials wrapped around each other so you had to look at it for a bit before you realized the purpose of the inane emblem.

The logo was in gold, perhaps because that’s what he drills for when he works on his customers’ (forget the word patient, just forget it) defecatory canals. Anyway, his office just called me. At least his office was what the woman on the other end of the phone claimed to be.

Here’s a transcript of the phone call, including my inner dialogue in parenthesis.

Ring! Ring!

Me: Hello

Dr Logo’s Office: Hello, Barry?

Me: Yes? (How come my father was always “Mr. Crimmins” but I am only “Barry?” I’m 57 goddamned years old!)

Dr Logo’s Office: This is Dr Logo’s Office.

Barry: (Boy did your parents ever have a sense of humor!)

Dr Logo’s Office: Did you get your blood test yet?

Barry: (Uh-oh, sounds like someone has been talking to the quislings down at St. Moneychangers’.) No I didn’t. I couldn’t make it past financial customs at that for-profit Christian institution.

Dr Logo’s Office: Well you know that without the blood tests you cannot have the colonoscopy?

Barry: I figured as much. I was trying to find a way to get the blood tests. (But I can tell by your tone that you are in a hurry to give me the preexisting bum’s rush so that you can make sure there isn’t a pause in the assembly line of profit on the day of my once-scheduled-but-never-to-be colonoscopy. Oh well.)

Dr Logo’s Office: So you have CHOSEN not to have a colonoscopy!

Barry: (Is that what I said, you soulless sack of medical waste?) No, you have CHOSEN not to assist, or even listen to, a patient in need of a colonoscopy. Now that we’ve both put words in one another’s mouths, let me add one more: Goodbye!

She beat me to hanging up the phone. And with that, I went back to my day and she went and added yet another skull and crossbones symbol to my permanent file.

I best own up to something: I don’t suffer humiliation well. If they’d look in that permanent file, they’d know what I went through as a kid and maybe they’d understand that my dignity is a preexisting condition that survived against great odds. And maybe they wouldn’t subject me to public embarrassment simply because they dance for corporate masters who have no business sticking their filthy, money-grubbing paws into what should be a sterile environment. So I can be very difficult. But maybe, just maybe, my obstinate nature has helped me survive 35 years of assault by a lethal virus.

I also must add that I have a great deal of respect for all sorts of doctors, nurses, technicians and other caregivers who are caught in the middle of this for-profit mess. They perform valiantly despite having to save lives while trying not to trip over a bottom line that runs all over the hospital next to all the color-coded ones. I think their schooling should be free. I think their services should be free to the public. (who will pay for them via taxes) I think we should scrap the war machine and its new mammoth twin, the domestic spying apparatus to help keep taxes down. I think these talented and skilled individuals should be very well paid. I also think if they want to become obscenely wealthy, they should go down to Wall St. and take their chances among the hegemonic hedge-funders. So that should prevent some arguments and start some others, which is good. Because to rage against the madness is an exercise reserved for the living. And I ain’t dead yet.

This entire hassle has done me good. Right now, I feel a lot better than I have in a long time. Thanks to several of you folks, I have herbs and vitamins headed my way. Thanks to all of you who have written and commented, I’ve received the best kind of shot in the arm.

I spoke to my old pal A. Whitney Brown and told him what had happened and how many people had written to help and express support.

He said, “That’s great. People really love you. You know that, right?”

Absolutely right! I feel very fortunate. People really love me. It’s Dr. Logo’s Office that doesn’t much care for me.

BARRY CRIMMINS is author of Never Shake Hands With a War Criminal. He can be reached through his blog.




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