This past Monday was a sad night for me: no “24” on Fox, and no more installments in the works until the (inevitably disappointing) movie comes out. Watching Jack Bauer’s derring-do with my sons has been one of my can’t-miss-it rituals for nearly a decade. I’m well aware that this cannot have been healthy, or moral, but it was exciting and, at times, awfully amusing.
Over the last several years, one of the best parts of watching “24” was following along with Dave Barry’s “24 Blog”. Barry is one of the world’s most amusing fellows, and his running commentary each week on 24’s plot (such as it was) was hilarious. Here’s a sample from his post on the March 29th episode, one whose storyline was particularly ludicrous:
The terrorists are transporting the Lethal Atomic Rods of Doom into Manhattan aboard an inflatable boat. Jack tried to stop them by engaging in a gunfight, during which more shots were fired than in all of World War II; unfortunately the police never showed up to help because this battle took place in a remote, deserted, desolate and uninhabited part of New York City, namely Brooklyn. During the fight Jack got shot and now has a collapsed lung, which for a human would be serious but for Jack is the medical equivalent of dandruff.
You’re reading a healthcare blog, and so you can be forgiven for wondering where all this is heading. Well, Barry has a perspective on our healthcare system that’s as warped as it is unique. I’ve previously shared with you his gut-splitting description of his own colonoscopy, and he has a new book, called I’ll Mature When I’m Dead, that contains several essays relevant to medicine. For example, consider his piece entitled “The State of Healthcare – and my Forefinger;” the Miami Herald recently published an excerpt. Here’s a short passage:
The next big players in medicine were the ancient Greeks, who believed that disease was caused by an imbalance of the body’s four “humours”: blood, bile, phlegm and sarcasm. This made for some really disgusting treatments, especially if you were diagnosed as being phlegm-deficient, in which case you had to have a transfusion from a compatible loogie donor.
As I review my recent posts, I see a preponderance of heavy topics (fraudulent stents, Paul Levy’s troubles, the crisis in primary care). And then there’s that damn pipe that won’t stop spewing black smoke into the Gulf of Mexico. In our crazy world, we need to cherish folks like Dave Barry, who help us focus, just often enough, on the absurd.