God had to set this one up; I’m convinced of it. 

I took a friend to the doctor’s today. He’s having a miserable time of it. There’s a cyst in between two vertebrae and it is either pressing on the spinal nerve or is causing one of the vertebrae to do that. We, he and I, are at the age where elective surgery should be given copious amounts of thought, especially spinal surgery, so while he’s thinking copiously, the doctor suggested an epidural. Best case scenario the cocktail injection will reduce the inflammation long enough that everything else will fall back into place. Worst case scenario, he’ll be numb for a bit and be able to move around somewhat normally–and then have surgery.

This story is only relevant in that it puts us into the doctor’s office where God was busily at work. My friend disappears to the inner depths of the office. In the near empty Friday afternoon waiting room sits a woman, looking a little worse for wear. She was talking, but I wasn’t quite sure to whom. Maybe the guy five chairs from her, maybe to herself. She’s not well, in pain, and will probably be back here in two weeks for herself discussing surgery, or so she tells. Then she blurts out: “And now this!”

It wasn’t at all clear what “this” was until the door from the hallway swung open and through it rolled an older man who looked very, very much the worse for wear. He was quite thin. His glasses were a bit askew, as was his nose, which sported a band aid, also askew, not quite covering a wound on the aforesaid askew nose, but but coming close.  And he was angry. 

“The doctor told me to take four of these and you gave me a prescription that says two!” he broadcast to the receptionist who of course did hand him the prescription but didn’t write it. Then with a flourish of information that amounted to more than was necessary for us in the audience, in raised voice he told the already put-upon young lady this: “I feel crappy. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I just shit my pants!” The young lady, almost at a loss for words said quietly, “I’m sorry…..” words that sounded like they might have more coming after them, but ended up instead tailing off over the counter and landing quietly on the floor next to his wheel chair. Then “Nose Askew” muttered in a stage whisper this non-sequitur: ” I hate it when people lie to me.”

He then exits to the hallway, the man from the opening scene who was either part of the woman’s conversation or a stage prop, opening the door for the wheel chair to exit.

The door is now closed for no more than 15 seconds when enters the husband of the woman talking to someone or no one. She is now definitely talking to someone–him. “Don’t you come near me. Don’t talk to me. Don’t touch me. Just leave me alone. In fact, get outta here!” He’s apparently heard this before so instead of leaving he wanders over to the table next to me to look for a magazine and sits down. It is now his wife who exits. In no more than 15 seconds, the metronome count apparently chosen for this number, she re-enters, walks over to him,gives him a kiss, and goes back across the waiting room and seats herself. No magazine involved. He then leaves my side and moves to her side. Meanwhile the third player, the listener, has evaporated. In all the coming and going, I lost him. But no matter, he’s not part of scene three and scene three is what it’s all about.

Husband and wife have this conversation.

Wife: How are we going to pay for this?

Husband: I just gave him four thousand dollars (he holds up four fingers in case she didn’t hear him).

Wife: He needs nine. (For transparency sake, I can’t be sure if that was nine thousand more or five thousand more for a total of nine. Whichever it was, it was way more than any of them had. Then too remember her impending surgery.) “Where’s he gonna get that? (Voice rising).

Husband: He’ll have to go to that guy where he got the first 9. (It is the “that guy” that begins to make the conversation’s heat ratchet up several notches. I can only assume “that guy” doesn’t work at the bank. This hunch of mine is now confirmed…

Wife: NO HE CAN’T. THAT GUY CHARGES WAY TOO MUCH. (In Brooklyn we called the “way too much” charge “the vig.” It is the usurious interest rate charged by street bookies, money lenders, mafia wise-guys. It was serious money collected when due by people who were serious about getting paid back.) She storms out.

Then as if for a curtain call the wheel chair man who is undoubtedly her father, and the woman re-enter to join the man. They collect the re-written prescription for “four not two” and all exit together.

As we also said in Brooklyn, “You can’t make this stuff up!” The truth in that, this production occurring the afternoon after the White House threw a party for the half-passage of the new health insurance law, is clear. This was prophesy. Here for their bows were three Americans already financially crippled by the failings of the insurance laws, three people who could have been pointed out by virtually every news organ in the country as examples of those who would then, crippled and down, be stomped on by the legislation the party-throwers now hoped to pass in the Senate.

They looked like hell. Their health, already bad, was deteriorating in front of my eyes from the stress of yet having to deal with solving the financial end of their health crisis. Their “and now this” would have added to it another “and now this,” one that was legislative not medical.

This playlett had to have been staged for me by God as prophesy so that I would be the prophet to go forth from the insurance desert and preach the sermon to you… How else could it have been that my friend needed me to take him to the doctor for an appointment that would have me there to see and hear the above not-ready-for-prime-time reality show?

It had do be devinely ordained….because you can’t make this stuff up–unless of course you are the leaders of the executive and legislature majorities in the United States Government.

God help us.




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