Monday, September 28, 2020


My regular readers know that I'm not a member of any organizations, nor do I have a particularly high opinion of them.

It was Groucho Marx who said "I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member" and I'll agree with that.

So recently, my reader SMOD (who belongs to the American Academy of Neurology) showed me this survey they sent him:



To comment on a few:

"Ability to network with other neurology professionals."

This is DEFINITELY not an enticement. If I really wanted to do this I could go to drug-company sponsored dinners or hospital meetings. There's a reason I don't: neurologists are, in general, social freaks. You could write a textbook about all the personality pathology that occurs in this field. We fight over reflex hammers, FFS. You think I want to hang out with other members of this tribe? There's a reason I'm in solo practice.

"Free or reduced rates on AAN products, services, or conferences."

The last time I went to a conference was when my job paid for it, which was 1998. If I'm going to blow a mortgage payment (or two) on plane tickets and hotel rooms, I'd rather have it be something I can do for fun with my family, and not to drag my ass to a darkened conference room to hear about possible breakthroughs using chupacabra urine-derived proteins for the treatment of MS. In 1998 I went to a bunch of those sessions, many standing room only, and I don't think any of the research I heard actually bore fruit in the long run. I'll take a beach chair and umbrella drink, thanks.

As far as AAN products go... at my last meeting (admittedly, this was a long time ago, so maybe you don't do this now) there was a booth selling AAN-themed T-shirts, baseball caps, coffee mugs, and reflex hammers. I'll pass, even with a discount.

"Distinction, prestige, and/or added credibility of being an AAN member."

This is, far and away, my favorite item that you've asked people to rate. I'd be checking the box under "was not aware of." I mean, to me this is like saying you belong to the Gilligan's Island Fan Club for the effect it has on the general public. People either aren't aware there was such a thing or they pity you for being so proud that you belong to it. There are a lot of ways to earn respect, like being a good doctor, citizen, or parent. Giving back to your community. Helping the less fortunate. But hanging a sign in your office that says you're an AAN member is only going to matter to drug reps, who will use the info to cull favor for you to prescribe their latest and greatest.

One could also point out that being an AAN member isn't something that's visibly obvious, like some sort of aura, that makes people take notice so you get a better table or they clear a path as you come through. Perhaps that's why you might purchase an AAN T-shirt or baseball cap, but not sure that's going to help. Out in public people could take it to mean anything, like Anal Aficionados of Nebraska.

"Distinction, prestige, and/or added credibility" in medicine, as in life, are earned by actions, not by paying a $495 annual fee. If you think otherwise, then you probably wouldn't want me as a member, either.

- Thank you, SMOD!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

I guess I won't send him a letter.

 Seen on a new patient information form:

Monday, September 21, 2020


Dr. Grumpy: "Have you had any surgeries?"

Mr. Chole: "I had my gallbladder out."

Mrs. Chole: "Wait, I thought I was the one that had my gallbladder out?"

Mr. Chole: "No, it was definitely me. Remember? I had to miss your sister's wedding?"

Mrs. Chole: "Like you regretted that, anyway. But I thought that was for a business trip, and I had my gallbladder out at Christmas that year because your mother cooked that horribly greasy turkey and made me sick."

Mr. Chole: "At least she could cook. I'm pretty sure I'm the one that had it out, though."

Mrs. Chole: "No, it was me. I have the scar to prove it. See?"

(pulls up her shirt)

Mr. Chole: "Let's ask the doctor. Dr. Grumpy, which of us had our gallbladder out?" 

(pulls up his shirt)

Dr. Grumpy: "Uh, I'd say you both did. Can you please put your shirts down?"

(they both pull their shirts down)

Mr. Chole: "Anyway, besides that, I didn't have any other surgeries."

Mrs. Chole: "Your mother still couldn't cook."

Monday, September 14, 2020

Seen in a chart


Tuesday, September 8, 2020


Hi, it's Frank, reporting from Local Grocery.

Since my dorm is closed and I'm doing college online, I've kept my job bagging groceries and collecting carts for the time being.

One of the things we do are the occasional grocery carry-outs, where we lug stuff out and load bags into cars. Generally the only people who need this are the older customers or those with disabilities, though we offer it to all.

It's not a hard part of the job, and certainly we don't ask for tips (in fact, there are signs telling customers not to tip us) but if the rare person hands us a dollar or two, we thank them.

I spent the Labor Day weekend working all 3 days, and Monday afternoon I was assigned to the parking lot. It was roughly 100 degrees, and Grumpyville's usual late-summer mosquito-laden humidity. While I was collecting carts from a corral in the back of the lot, some guy pulled up and asked me to help him swap out a few of the big white propane tanks.

He had 4 of them in his trunk, and as anyone who's had to carry them knows, they're heavy. It took me 2 trips, carrying a pair of them each time, to get them up to the exchange rack at the side of the store. He went inside and paid for 4 more, so I got the keys from the manager and rolled out 4 full ones for him. Then I carried those back to his car (which he had near the back of the lot for whatever reason). This took another 2 trips, and the full ones are, obviously, heavier.

After I put them in his trunk I asked if there was anything else I could help him with. He said no, so I wished him a good day and went back to the cart corral to pick up where I'd left off. A minute later he came over and said "Hey, kid, thank you for doing that, I know they're heavy" and handed me a folded $20 bill. I was gratefully surprised, and said "thank you" as I shoved it in my pocket.

I pushed a line of carts back into the store and the rest of my shift was uneventful. I wasn't expecting the extra money, but it would certainly come in handy since I need some new parts for my computer.

When I got home I went to transfer it to my wallet.

Upon unfolding it, it was a fake $20 bill, with a picture of Yogi Bear on it.

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