Thursday, August 25th, 2011
A good friend of mine is Chilean. This is, of course, tres exotique, and by all measures should score me impressive brownie points for my magnanimous tolerance of ridiculous foreign cultures.
Oh, don’t get me wrong – Chile is, by all accounts, a beautiful and welcoming country with much to offer in terms of art, history and folklore. And they have some tasty cheap wine. But it is also a country where someone who gets a facelift – and is rendered brain dead by a careless anesthesiologist – doesn’t even get free parking out of the deal.
Yes, this actually happened to a relative of my Chilean friend. The woman in question lived for 20 years as a vegetable until she died – with nary a dollar of support (or an apology) from the doctor or hospital in question.
Aside from the irony of looking fabulous as she drooled, this is a perfect illustration of the kind of thing that can happen in countries where the laws that protect consumers and patients are written on the back of an empanada.
Trust me, I’m no fan of lawsuits – I remember seeing a Phil Donahue episode in the 80’s where a couple sued for $5 million in emotional distress after discovering what they thought was a condom in a loaf of Wonder Bread. (It was the tip of a rubber glove, something every member of the TV audience wanted to jam up their butts at that point.)
And I do believe that awards should be capped. There was a comedian who said, “I wish somebody would have told me that I could work really hard in school for 16 or 18 years and then make $30,000 for the rest of my life…or spill hot coffee on my cooch.”
But until countries like Chile institute a litany of laws that protect people from stupid, careless or unscrupulous individuals like that anesthesiologist, I will continue to consider them ridiculous.
Fortunately, we live in the United States, the greatest nation on earth, where that kind of thing could never happen.
Well, of course, there was that banking crisis thingy.
And the BP oil spill.
Oh, and the tobacco industry advertising to kids.
True, there was Worldcom.
And Halliburton overcharging in Iraq.
Sure, there was Roche Pharmaceutical withholding an AIDS drug to countries that couldn’t pay enough.
And Goldman Sachs betting against the mortgage backed securities it was selling.
And Bernie Madoff.
But God bless America!
I hear Chile is lovely this time of year. I wonder if I could sell ceviche from a cart?
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Friday, August 19th, 2011
My mother has been in the hospital. For five months now. What started out as a simple (!) open heart surgery has turned into Bedpanpalooza 2011, a festival for which I did not purchase a ticket.
And quite frankly, this does not bode well for our planet.
Those of you who’ve read my first memoir Where’s My Wand know that Mother – who I referred to as General Patton in pedal pushers, and a woman who Lemon Pledged the paneling weekly – is a dynamo of epic proportions. She’s like the Energizer Bunny with a crystal meth issue. Her work ethic is more impressive than a hooker’s during fleet week. Her zest for life would make a host of Disney characters want to put a bullet in their heads. Bossy, opinionated and brilliant, she has never been the type to be sidelined by anything.
But she has been sidelined by this. Which means that the Earth has clearly tilted on its axis.
And that makes me wonder: what other horrifying, unforeseen events could occur?
Guess I’d better refresh my dodge ball skills before that asteroid headed for Earth hits me in the crotch. Guess I should learn to appreciate the title “President Kardashian”. Guess it’s time to start hoarding hotel shampoo bottles so I have something to sell when the dollar is devalued and martial law takes effect.
Sure, there are those naysayers who would contend that the earth hasn’t tilted on its axis, that nothing terrible is going to happen. They would claim that my mother is simply getting older. And that human bodies don’t last forever.
But that is patently ridiculous. Some people never slow down. Some people outlive us all. Some people are there for us, through thick and thin, in perfect health and mind, to bask in the glow of our accomplishments and comfort us in times of sorrow. Some people are such good friends, parents and life teachers that they’re far too important and valuable, and needed to be sidelined.
I mean, I’m sure I can learn to live with a dumb slut in the White House. After all, with that asteroid headed this way, how long can it last?
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