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January 25, 2015 / 5 Shevat, 5775
 
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You’re On Your Own

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The real reason people give speeches about names is that:

A. There aren’t really a lot of parshios that talk about brissim, and

B. They want to hammer the name into people’s minds so they remember when they come home and their spouse asks, “So what’s the name?”  People always ask you when you come home: “What’s the baby’s name?”  “Do you know their other kids’ names?  Are you making a list?”  They just want to make sure you were really at the bris.  It’s like when you’re a kid and you’re late to school, and you say you had a bris, but the Rebbe doesn’t believe you, so he goes, “Oh, yeah?  What’s the name?”

“I don’t remember.  Bagel?”

 

Dear Mordechai,

My medical insurance just changed, for reasons I don’t care to discuss.  Do you have any good recommendations for doctors?

Shut Down

Dear Shut,

Not really.  I just found out this week that my doctor was niftar.

I’m not kidding.  It’s a very awkward thing to find out.  I don’t know what to do now.  I’m like, “So should I keep doing what he told me to do, or is everything I know a lie?”  I’m going to be the guy at the shiva going, “Yeah, but did he say anything about what I should do?  Any dying words?  ‘Tell Mordechai he should…’ dead.”

You always assume your doctor’s going to outlive you.  Who am I going to go to for my annual checkup every 3-4 years?

It’s really not funny.  He was a nice guy.  Every time he saw me, he asked how I was feeling, how I was doing, and if I could turn my head and cough.  (I always could.)  But I never once asked him any of these things.  And if I did, out of habit, it was just to make conversation.  I definitely didn’t take notes.

But my point was that he knew all the tricks to stay healthy, and he still died.

Of course, just because he died doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good doctor.  Everyone goes eventually.  Doctors are just a stall.  It could even be that his health wasn’t his own department.  Maybe he had his own doctor.

Or maybe not.  A lot of doctors treat themselves.  It’s not like dentists, who really can’t treat themselves.  They need to do it in front of a mirror, while holding that tiny dentist mirror and trying to see what’s going on in the tiny mirror by use of the big mirror, all while operating a drill.  And I assume this is even harder after the laughing gas.

But being your own physician is a lot easier.  In fact, it’s easier than being someone else’s physician, because the hardest part of being a physician, I’d think, is the part where you ask people to describe their pain, using words, and then you have to translate those words into real physical pictures in your medical textbooks while they wait in the little room.  Whereas the hardest part of being your own physician is the part where you put the freezing cold stethoscope in the middle of your back.  While coughing.  That’s pretty awkward.  Especially if your next patient comes in.

But you can’t really worry about things like death, or you’ll never settle on a doctor.  People are very picky when it comes to doctors.  You don’t want a doctor who’s older than you, because he might die before you.  You don’t want a doctor who’s younger than you, because you’re sure that he has no idea what he’s doing.  You were at his bris.  You want a doctor who is actually secretly younger than you, but looks older than you.  Stress will do that to a person.

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