The Medical Mafia

Being in film studies, my daughter has had several classes that necessitate watching movies. Some are classics while others are less popular, but each demonstrates a specific point they discuss in class. Where was this major when I was in school? I got rooked. My education consisted of nothing this cool.

Earlier this semester, she came home and asked if I wanted to watch The Godfather with her. Um… YES! One of my favorites. It is so funny to see a child of this instant gratification generation try to sit and watch a three-hour plot unfold slowly. They can’t do it! Even when I explained parts of the story to her, she looked at me like I had four heads and went back to considering sticking a fork in her eye. Oh well, I had fun.

While I don’t condone the Corleone business methodology, I love the family aspects of the movie: Connie’s wedding, Michael’s dogged protection of Vito in the hospital, the “do anything for each other spirit” that binds them together. They even bring others into the family – like Tom Hagen, and go “to the mattresses” – meaning that when they need to go to war, they bring everyone together!

I think they teach this concept in medical school. Seriously… recent experience tells me that the medical community is bound together in a family as thick as any crime syndicate.

Since reaching 50, I’ve been trying to demonstrate some self-care. I’m in good health but I’m trying to document it by visiting doctors recommended for a man my age.

That’s my new favorite phrase – “for a man your age.”

That beloved phrase is usually uttered by a man or woman younger than me who has attained a much higher level of education. Doctors are supposed to be sagely, benevolent old men with white hair. When did they all get younger than me?

My first experience took me to a cardiologist because of family heart history. That led to a stress test, a clean bill of health, but a daily pill regimen. This was followed by an annual physical. (I supposed calling it annual is a bit of a misnomer when the last two were 2016 and 2007.) I scheduled the appointment three months in advance and thought I might actually see my Primary Care Physician. But I’m not sure he exists. I think he is somewhat ethereal and expecting to see him is a bit like walking into a church and expecting to see God.

Although the Physician’s Assistant was about the same age as my oldest daughter, she was very good and thorough. Again, I got a clean bill of health and thought I’d be on my way. Wrong. As I was hopping off the papered table, the PA started doling out cards like a blackjack dealer.

“You need to see this doctor, this doctor, and have an annual this, an annual that…”

The medical mafia at work – taking care of the family. They might all have different names, but they’re working together for sure.

This is my biggest concern. In trying to take back my self-care, I’ve opened up a massive can of worms that leads to a total body mole-check and a colonoscopy by two other physicians no doubt related to my make-believe primary care physician.

I’m coming to grips with the amount of my naked body medically-trained personnel are about to see. But where will it end? Do they have another “ologist” in the family? What other internal or external part of me will be poked, prodded, or surveyed? And can I keep from making terrible dad jokes while I sit exposed?

Only time will tell.


Great and Unmatched Wisdom

Sometimes a day starts out normal until a nugget of wisdom bursts forth from the heavens. It might start with a profound statement during a conversation with a friend, a quote from a TED Talk, or a meme shared on social media. When we see it and recognize it for what it is, we must stop to ponder its worth, then seek ways to apply it to our life. (Before you push share, run it through Snopes to make sure, though.)

Rarely does great and unmatched wisdom come when expected. One who has such merit typically doesn’t just put it on display. Rather, they humbly use their gift for the benefit of others. Think of the wisest people through history who we are still quoting:

Confucius, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus, Winston Churchill, Maya Angelou, and King Solomon. If they had only had Twitter they could have changed the world even more radically. How many likes and retweets this gem from Socrates would have gotten?

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.


Wisdom is deliberate, not reactive. It is the patient application of experience, good judgment, and knowledge. It is also something you either have or you don’t; you can’t buy a wisdom development kit online and flex new wisdom in 30-60 days. In great men and women, wisdom isn’t flaunted, simply applied when necessary.

Often, such wisdom is the “behind-the-scenes type” that we’ll never see. It is the wise single mother somehow making ends meet or the small business owner keeping people employed when others would fold. The wisest people may not be leading in the polls, they may just be living life a little richer than the rest of us.

There was but one pearl of great and unmatched wisdom dispensed yesterday. It didn’t come from Twitter or Washington, DC, where wisdom tends to drown. No, it came from my dentist. He seems a humble man and I appreciate his desire to impart his wisdom on me because it will be used for my good (and now hopefully yours.)

Angelically framed by the bright light behind his head, he spoke behind a mask of brilliance proclaiming that I need to:

“continue to brush the teeth you want to keep.”

  Friends, that is great and unmatched wisdom we can all use.