Yes, nothing says "Peace and Goodwill" this time of year more than an octogenerian grandmother driving a 1983 Buick with a prescription windshield nearly mowing my kids down in the Costco parking lot to get a space 8 feet closer to the door (and then flipping Marie the bird).
As many of you have noticed, Officer Cynical shut down his blog.However, I'm honored that he's asked me to publish some rants for him. So today I'm going to feature his ramblings in place of my own. Take it away, Officer!
1. If you're in line at the grocery (or wherever), waiting to pay for your crap at the one open cash register, and then they open a second register and say "I can help the next person", that means they can help the next person in line - the one behind the person who's already paying at the previously sole register. It does NOT mean they can help the person at the back of the line who's been waiting a shorter period of time than everybody else in line. Where the hell have people gotten the idea that a newly opened cash register is for the person at the back of the line?
2. If you're merging onto the interstate (AKA freeway, AKA the "I"), it's your job to MERGE. It's not the job of everybody else to slow down, move over, or anything else. This is usually best accomplished by accelerating up to speed that allows you to fit into a space between two other cars already in the righthand through lane. It is NOT a good strategy to just move over into through traffic when you're doing, say, 35 mph, and those in the righthand lane are doing 60. And, in the name of all that's holy, don't hit the brakes at the end of the entrance ramp because you're scared to merge. The people behind you, who are correctly accelerating up to speed and looking for a place to merge, will tend to hate you and wish you ill.
3. If you've successfully gotten onto the interstate/freeway/"I", please pretend these signs (see attached) actually exist, and heed them.
4. Not being one to send e-mail to porn sites, how did "Ass_Titties" and "HornyGirlHere" get into my list of Hotmail contacts?
As best I remember, it was a pretty ordinary day. I'd had a few medical school interviews the week before, and was trying to catch up on stuff now. I was taking a jazz class, which required me to listen to several hours of records during the semester. So I spent a big chunk of the afternoon in the music library.
I remember it was late, around 6, when I finally finished. I owed my roommate beer, and so I stopped at a store, then headed back to the apartment.
When I finally got home my roommate was at his desk. He was in architecture, and was always working on something. I walked in and said hi. He said "your Dad called, asked you to call him back", and was back to his work.
I began putting the beer in the fridge, and called home. My Dad answered, and when I said "Hi" he paused and then said "Ibee Grumpy, your life has changed forever."
I'd been accepted to medical school.
It's hard to remember all the feelings that went through me. Relief, happiness, nervousness, and an overwhelming gratitude that I'd remembered to buy beer that night. It wasn't great beer, but hell, it was still beer.
I'd tried to get in the year before. Applied to 18 schools, got 2 interviews, accepted to none.
This year I'd applied to, I think 25 or so schools. I got interviews at 10-15, and spent a lot of time flying all over the country. I'd even applied to law school as a back-up (got in, too).
I don't remember much about the rest of the school year. My grades took a dive, since I only cared about passing now. I went to more parties. Baseball games were free at my school, so I went to them, too. One involved me sitting through a record downpour with maybe 10 other fans until they called the game in the 5th.
All right, fans, I've been busy preparing the 2011 edition of the Dr. Grumpy Gift Guide, but it won't be ready for a few days.
However, for those of you already looking for information on semen-shaped jewelry, pink & green men's slacks with giraffes on them, alarm clocks that run away from you, and the other fine products I've featured in the past, there's now
There are better things to do after Thanksgiving than get up at midnight to camp outside Wall-to-Wall Mart to be in a human stampede (LARGE SCREEN TV FOR $5! ONLY 1 PER STORE! LAST PERSON STANDING GETS IT!).
Besides, you might get your picture taken and end up on People of Walmart.
We will never know exactly when it happened, but in my opinion it was the most important event in human history.
Somewhere, probably in Africa (maybe Asia), there was a meeting.
A branch of the primate family that had started walking upright, and a cousin of the gray wolf, first set eyes on each other. And both realized this relationship had potential.
The records show we've been together for at least 15,000 years, but I suspect dogs (and their ancestors) have been leading us around for much longer. It's impossible not to see how useful they must have been as an alarm system and hunting partner going back to our cave days. And being with us gave them steady access to a food supply. So this has been a win-win relationship from the start. Dogs gave humans a better chance to survive, and vice-versa. So we grew up together.
When humans first came across the Bering Strait, they brought dogs with them. There's even the possibility that they couldn't have made the trip without dogs to pull their sleds.
Most relationships would get old after this long, but not us. If anything, our need for them has increased over time, but in different ways. We may not need hunting partners as much, but their incredible skills for guide/assistance animals, security, search & rescue, and many other jobs, make them invaluable.
But the most basic part of the deal is still companionship. Humans seem to have an instinctive need for different species companionship. And they like us, too. Because of the nature of the Grumpy household (3 dogs) there is inevitably at least one in our bed at night, and another in a kid's bed. There's something very primordial about dozing off next to a dog. You can envision our mutual ancestors in a cave, with a fire in the background, huddling together with a wild dog for warmth. And as you fall asleep, the dog has one eye on the entrance to warn you of danger.
And on that note, for those of you who didn't notice her name added last month, I'd like to introduce Mello:
How much is that doggy in the window?
Mello is maybe 2 years old, and was found wandering downtown Grumpyville by employees at Mrs. Grumpy's job. She had no collar or chip, and after combing through multiple lost pet sites, and looking for "lost dog" signs, we were unable to locate her owner. So she has now joined Snowball and Cooper in the Grumpy insane asylum.
Making herself at home.
She is an awesome dog, and we are lucky to have her. Great dogs can be found anywhere. All of the Grumpy dogs have been rescue animals, and if you're looking for a new companion, I recommend adopting from your local shelter.
You (and your new friend) will be thankful you did.
My cell phone wakes me with a message. It's a patient with a relatively urgent question.
I knew the call would take a while, so stopped in the bathroom, then walked to my home office, flipped on my computer, and opened the patient's chart. This took maybe 5 minutes from the original message.
Then I dialed him up.
Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy, returning a call."
Mr. Etiquette: "Um, huh, oh."
Dr. Grumpy: "You called me?"
Mr. Etiquette: "Man, you just woke me up."
Dr. Grumpy: "Sorry. What can I do for you?"
Mr. Etiquette: "Took you long enough to call back, and I dozed off again. I can't believe you woke me up."
Dr. Grumpy: "Well, in your call you said..."
Mr. Etiquette: "That doesn't matter. I can't believe you woke me up. This is incredibly rude."
In my career I've caught 5 patients smoking marijuana in the hospital, roughly 2 years apart from each other.
For reasons I don't understand, all 5 times they were in the same telemetry room.
There is nothing special about this room. It's a generic room on the 7th floor, facing the nurses station, but no more or less so than any other room. Different nurses have come and gone. But patients keep smoking weed in there.
Room 7310 is truly one of the great mysteries of the universe.
Theory: Various mathematical models have been used to postulate the motions of planets, galaxies, neutrinos, baseballs, and other objects of varying mass. However, the movements of certain objects are less predictable. An ongoing study into the variable location over time of one of these items has revealed, to date, no clear pattern for its movement.
Methods: In 2000 an unidentified hospital staff member placed a 24 oz plastic flask of Nestle Coffeemate (Hazelnut flavor) into a nursing station refrigerator on the 8th floor of Local Hospital. A regional neurologist has casually noted the movements of the flask of proto-dairy product at intermittent intervals over time while scavenging for Diet Coke. The flask has been consistently identified over time by it's original expiration date (February, 2002) stamped on the rim.
Findings: The Coffeemate bottle has now been in the refrigerator for over 10 years. Careful observation (okay, lifting and shaking it a little from time-to-time) showed that its weight gradually decreased in the first several months of it's presence, then stabilized. While weight can vary depending on local gravity, the Earth's gravitational force has not changed substantially during this time, nor has the hospital been relocated to a planet with lesser gravity. The contents have not been directly inspected by the author during this time.
The bottle has remained on the same shelf (center shelf, refrigerator door) since its original placement. Its specific location on the shelf has varied (sometimes next to the Ranch dressing, at other times between the ketchup and mustard, and once briefly near a bottle of banana-based ketchup that a Filipino traveling nurse brought). Overall its location has been reasonably predictable within the limitations of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Schrodinger's cat.
Results: It's still there.
Discussion: There have been a number of postulates to explain this sort of object persistence. While local changes in Brownian kinetics or gravity are possible, the most likely cause of the flask's roughly unchanged location is attributable to the nature of Homo Sapiens. This local species appears to be disinterested in removing objects that are not the direct property of a given individual. Therefore, it's likely that only the specific animal which originally placed the Coffeemate on the shelf will be inclined to retrieve it, regardless of its current condition.
Its persistence, in spite of clearly being empty for several years, is likely due to one or more of the following possibilities:
1. The original owner no longer works at the hospital, or at least not on that floor. 2. The original owner has forgotten it's theirs, and therefore isn't touching it. 3. People are lazy.
It should be noted that item #3 is actually a unifying theorem for #1 & #2.
In conclusion, the author would like to note that I didn't put it there either, and so I ain't touching the freakin' bottle. The last time I tried to do something nice like that I almost got my hand chewed off by a rabid oncology nurse.
The following was left on Mary's voicemail yesterday:
"Hi, it's about 2:05 and I have a 2:00 appointment with Dr. Grumpy, and I'm trying to get there. I'm on the freeway and my son is driving me, so we just passed 24th street and WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING! DIDN'T YOU SEE THAT TRUCK? WHY DON'T YOU PAY ATTENTION NEXT TIME! ARE YOU BLIND? I KNEW I SHOULDN'T HAVE LET YOUR FATHER TEACH YOU TO DRIVE!"
There was one sweltering Summer where the classroom's air conditioner was hyperactive, and we measured it at 60°F in there. It was an unpleasantly humid, high 90's °F outside.
So we'd walk to school in shorts & T-shirts, and put on sweatpants and sweatshirts before going into lecture. It was silly. We had to keep warm clothes in our lockers outside the classroom, and during lectures would slug down hot coffee, tea, and cocoa to keep warm.
We called building maintenance repeatedly to complain, without success. I remember at one point a frustrated guy actually dialed them during a lecture, and screamed "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW COLD IT IS IN HERE?" into the phone.
The next day we got to class to find they'd hung up a large wall thermometer, so we could see how cold it was (59°F).
3 days ago you developed right-sided weakness and slurred speech, which you attributed to "a pinched nerve in my low back."
Yesterday you came to Grumpyville for a funeral.
This morning at the ceremony your friends noticed you were dragging your right leg & unable to sign the memory book, and suggested you come to Local Hospital (conveniently located down the street from Local Cemetery).
So you limped over here "just to get checked out" before going back to Boondockville.
And now you're angry at me because you got admitted, and demanding I pay for any food in your fridge that goes bad in your absence.
The week after Halloween is the ideal time to prove the theory of evolution.
Certain species of bugs have developed a really bad taste so predators won't eat them (at least, that's what I've read. I haven't personally done insect taste tests).
Did they actually evolve in that direction? What is the evidence?
Let's look in Dr. Grumpy's break room:
Post Halloween day #1: Everyone brings their leftover candy to the office. We put it in a big bowl in the break room. We are too damn sick of candy to touch it.
Post Halloween days #2-3: Predators (okay, me, Pissy, and the staff) arrive. The choicest (i.e., chocolate) items disappear first. Reese's PB cups, M&Ms, Milky Way, Snickers, Kit-Kats, Twixt, Butterfingers, Three Musketeers.
Post Halloween days #4-5: Other stuff starts to go. Skittles, Laffy Taffy, Smarties, Runts, Starbursts.
Post Halloween days #6 and on: This is when we find the survivors. Just like the unpalatable bugs, some candy types will sit there for quite a while. Candy Corn, Tootsie Rolls, Circus Peanuts, and those horrible taffy things in black and orange wrappers (the latter, I suspect, were only made once in the 1960's and have since just been re-gifted. I think people who got them as kids now give them out as adults, and the cycle continues).
Granted, I have no evidence to suggest that Darwin's staff dumped leftover candy at the office. If they did, however I'd suspect that's more likely to have led him to the theory of evolution than a trip to the Galapagos.
For more background on truly horrible Halloween candies, read this.
Since the overpaid crybabies of the NBA have decided to indefinitely postpone their season, I thought I'd bring you a summary of my athletic career. Which I didn't get paid for at all.
In the mid-80's my college roommate suckered me into playing for the Catholic Newman Center's intramural basketball team at BSU. This was because he couldn't find a 5th Catholic guy willing to play. So I was a ringer.
None of us had any reasonable basketball experience, and had never even met before the first game. In spite of this, we put together an impressive record during the 5 game season:
Game 1: Lost, 83-10 (a record that I'm told still stands at BSU).
Game 2: Lost, 75-15 (obviously, we were improving on both offense and defense).
Game 3: Forfeited, because we only had 4 guys show up.
Game 4: Forfeited, because we only had 3 guys show up.
Game 5: Disqualified because we'd forfeited 2 previous games.
This blog is entirely for entertainment purposes. All posts about patients may be fictional, or be my experience, or were submitted by a reader, or any combination of the above. Factual statements may or may not be accurate.
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Dr. Grumpy is for hire! Need an article written (humorous, medical, or otherwise) or want to commission a genuine Grumpy piece for your newspaper/magazine/toilet paper roll? Contact me to discuss subjects. You can reach me at the email address below, or through my Linked-In profile.
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Cast of Characters:
Annie: My Phenomenal MA Mary: My Awesome Secretary Ed: The office fish Dr. Pissy: The guy I share an office with Mrs. Grumpy:My Boss (also the world's greatest school nurse) Frank, Craig, and Marie:The Grumpy Tribe Snowball & Mello: The Grumpy Dogs
Questions? Comments? Biting sarcasm? Write to: pagingdrgrumpy [at] gmail [dot] com
Note: I do not answer medical questions. If you are having a medical issue, see your own doctor. For all you know I'm really a Mongolian yak herder and have no medical training at all except in issues regarding the care and feeding of Mongolian yaks.