Skin Tests & Biopsies


Honesty.  A very close relative of mine was quoted in the Boston Globe last week on the issue of honesty. 

 

This Tuesday is election day here in Minnesota.  Next Tuesday I see my dermatologist.  I have an annual skin test.  Last year I had my second biopsy to determine if something was a skin cancer.  In anticipation of the visit this week, I thought of the different relationship I had with my dermatologist, compared to the other medical professionals in my life.  My dentist I met at the age of 14.  We rode the bus to high school together.  We ran track together.  We went to the same college.  He is really honest.  We joined the same fraternity.  I had gone to the same college as my two dentists before that.  And the dentist of my youth, my grandmother worked for.    

 

My opthamologist is the son of my parents’ opthamologist and we rode the bus to high school together at the age of 14.  We ran cross country together.  He is as honest as they come.  I met my internal medicine physician in high school.  He too is a classmate.  Until last year, we had been on the same curling team together for maybe 12 years.  He is as honest as a man can be.  I met my lawyer at the age of 14.  We had been curling team together for more than 12 years.  And even he is very honest.  

 

Over the last year, I think I saw my dermatologist walking on Summit Avenue.  It sure looked like him.  I am sure he could afford the neighborhood.  He never really recognized me, perhaps due to the clothes I wore, as twice he said nothing but a perfunctory hello.  My sister went to him once.  I don’t think she trusted him because the skin test involved getting completely naked.  He is from France and when it comes to nudity, she does not trust the motives of Frenchmen.  And I always wonder if that biopsy under consideration, which came out of my pocket and not that of insurance, has a relationship to a need or if he is just trying to pay the office rent.  

 

Today is election day here in Minnesota, speaking of “under consideration.”  I swore off televison and radio yesterday.  I had been over-served by all of the political ads and my blood level was reaching the toxic stage.  Instead I read a bit, about Thomas Jefferson.  It struck me this morning how far America has fallen as a nation on discussion of ideals and national identity.  I was disappointment in the choice I was offered between the two major candidates.  For all the feigned excitement reported by the media, I was not excited by the thought of having to cast a vote for one of these guys.  Obama had my vote until he kicked 3 reporters off a plane last week when their newspapers endorsed the other candidate.  Then I saw Frontline last night and I could see that Obama has been doing nothing but giving the same old speech from the time he was a representative in the Illinois legislature.  One speech about hope.  Over and over again. And Mccain seemed like a broken record from an age when people bought 78s.

 

It seemed appropriate that for two generations of people that have grown up hearing the same “top 40” songs over and over, year after year, watching re-runs of “I Love Lucy” and the “The Brady Bunch” over and over, seeing and hearing politcal ads over and over, that it came down to this.  Neither of these candidates have offered much more than a broken record, withered tape, or a scratched DVD to the issues of the day.  And I cannot vote for either of them.  They have handlers that have stolen any sense of honesty that they once had.  And this nation as a result has become as artificial as the process that required a sum of $1 billion to campaign.  The rules were set requring radio and television stations to offer commmercial time at their lowest rates in adverstising and letting the candidates jump to the head of the line above the car dealer who buys time at higher rates throughout the year.  That is the process, and how it is we get the lowest common denominator.   

 

I think it was April in 2005 that I went to bed as disappointed as I ever had been in my life over election results.  This followed the election of the current Pope Benedict XVI.  He had done and said a lot of things in the prior administration that deserved scorn.  One was his quote that perhaps there were too many Roman Catholics in the world and it was time to trim the number back.  He had defrocked theologians over the age of 85, men who had spent a lifetime in pursuit of the study of God.  One of the first repercussions of his election was the change, the request for a resignation, in the editor of America magazine.  In essence, he kicked the editor off the plane.  Even a free press seemed to be at risk in the reign of this German.   It was only this year in April that I decided that he was not my enemy, that he actually believed in discourse on ideas, when his predecessor had not.  When it came to the issue of honesty, without the results of a biopsy, I came to see he was not as phony as a politician. 

 

Band wagons.  A lot of people liked to jump on band wagons, amidst all the hoopla.  My father had a job that sure taught this to people in his industry.  But it was all about issue of honesty and the destination where the bandwagon was going.

  

I was headed to the polls.  I just would not vote for Obama or McCain.   I just heard too many scratches, or the record seemed broken.   My feelings were probably more a result of the process, the system, than anything I personally felt against the candidates who were cast into their roles.  And I felt the same way about both of them as I did about the rationale for the biopsy with the dermatologist.  The story this Tuesday was gonna be reported to be about skin tests.  For my money, it was all about what was under the skin.  Until now, it was my about my money, but if I believed campaign promises the biopsies would soon be funded by tax monies.  I wondered if these doctor visits were not a lot like going to the polls, where I wondered what I really was in need of, or what the world was really in need of?  And I wondered if I soon would be able to choose a doctor that I trusted? 

Trying to profit with all of those, laying the foundation for the new police state, building the best police state ever, Google, Apple and Yahoo all collaborate for profit against the principles concerning the human rights that I was born into, in the Bill of Rights. And me along with them.

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