Sunday, August 8, 2010

Case Study #32

Dear fervent followers of this online repository for the treatment of the twisted and needy,

I must once again convey my utter dismay at what would seem to be my lack of interest in keeping you breathlessly updated with the goings on at our fine medical establishment. It appears that it has been over a month since my last submission, which would normally send any reader into a tizzy requiring medicinal assistance, but in my defense I must posit a few delimiting factors.

Firstly, as many of you are aware and have kindly sent sympathy cards concerning, there is still this tawdry mess surrounding my ongoing legal situation in Paris. Things there have become entirely complicated, especially since the goat has chosen to go with a new legal team, headed by the illustrious but slightly vicious Lisa Wines who will stop at nothing to ensure her clients receive daily treats of the gourmet variety, lots of grass to run about on, and healthy retirement funds. We are working with Miss Wines, and shall keep you posted, gag orders permitting.

Secondly, I have been stewing over a patient submission that has caused me some alarm, mainly in the fretting about how to properly respond. You see, as most of my patients realize, when I respond to the critical needs of my acolytes, I generally heap generous amounts of lightness and folly on my words, thereby allowing the bitterness of my actual advice to be less unpleasant. However, I occasionally receive emails wherein it’s not clear if the sender is “in on the game”, so to speak. This latest missive falls into that category.

As you can see by the sad tale presented below, this person has been suffering miserably, encountering maltreatment, disregard, and, worst of all, non-validation. It is quite daunting. Only toward the end is there a bit of fun, but by then my tears were many. How, exactly, does one respond to this without causing further harm and the lessening of kinship among the family of man? Quite a quandary.

So I kept pushing the email aside, procrastinating with practiced ease, until my faithful assistant, Lanae, grew tired of having to dust around the neglected printout whilst she tidied my office nightly. Snatching up the paper, she thrust it into my startled face, and proffered her ultimatum: “Answer this, NOW, or I will never bring sushi into this office again!”

I trembled in fear, and then booted up my netbook.

Herewith, the original submission:


Dr. Brian,

I feel a little strange writing to you about a problem that is actually
true and I'm not trying to be funny. But I could see where it might seem
funny to other people. Here goes:

I retired from the Postal Service about 8 months ago, after working there for 24 1/2 years. During that time I got a work related injury which causes the post office to treat you worse and try to make you quit or wish you were dead. But no matter what they did to me or where they sent me, I'd always end up back up with the position and the supervisor I'd begun with (who by the way always seemed to hate me but I'm not sure why.) This was not my choice by the way.

Well, to get to the point--when it came time to retire I was working two different positions at two different post offices (1/2 day at each place) and one of the places was the position with the supervisor who didn't like me. On my last day with the good old U.S.P.S., neither place gave me a retirement party. Even the stupid little plaque everybody has given to them by the postmaster on their last day--my evil supervisor MAILED to me, instead of having the postmaster give it to me. They had a big party for another lady that retired on the same day, but didn't include me in on it. Some people signed a card and one lady bought me a little gift. That was it. I was pissed but I tried to put it behind me because well I didn't have to go back there any more and that was worth it. Right?

Well recently I've started having bad dreams about the whole thing. Weird things happen in these dreams. Last night the evil supervisor finds out I'm upset about the lack of a retirement party, and buys everyone at the workplace Happy Meals and says this is my party. I tried to eat the hamburger in the dream but it made me feel sick and I couldn't finish it. I left feeling just as bad about the whole thing as I ever had.

What do you suggest I do to get over this? It's not the party 'per se' I'm mad about, it's the obvious slap in the face...

Hatin' the P.O.


And thusly, my response, because the thought of never receiving hand-carried sushi again is something that I just can’t live with:

Dear Hatin’,

Well, now. After careful analysis, I feel I must get right to the point. It seems that the reason you have endured such outrageous behavior on the part of your former co-workers and management staff is simply this: You are actually the last surviving member of the royal family of Crustalina, a tiny but immensely wealthy nation where there is lots of sunshine and everyone keeps their yards very tidy.

Due to a murky political situation that took place many years ago, you were sent to live in obscurity until those responsible for the murkiness could be located and deported, making the streets safe once again. For your own safety, you were not informed of your illustrious lineage. However, word eventually got out, as it always does, resulting in the abusive and neglectful actions on the part of your fellow postal people: They were simply insanely jealous of the fact that you would one day get to wear diamond-drenched crowns and participate in festive pageants where people get to toss fruit about.

Now, I’m sure you are tempted to look askance at my interpretation of your plight, which is quite understandable, so let me show you in greater detail how I came to this conclusion. We shall closely examine your own words, and I will then translate.

after working there for 24 1/2 years”

This time frame, believe it or not, is an exact duration referred to in your exile papers from long ago. It seems that you must toil this length of time in an atrocious working environment, so that you can better understand the plight of the common people. This was one of the demands of the “murky people”. (They also fought to have your diet consist solely of papayas, but this requirement was tossed aside as simply preposterous and boring.)

I got a work related injury which causes the post office to treat you worse and try to make you quit or wish you were dead.”

This was another conditional demand from the murky people. How could you, as supreme ruler of the entire land, understand the proper way to build charitable hospitals if you had never lived in one, however briefly, and had to consume tasteless, institutional pudding while people prodded you with things? Ergo, the physical trauma and endless hours of boredom while various body parts were urged to recover.

This was not my choice by the way.”

Of course it wasn’t, this much is clear. The murky people are just mean and demanding. There’s no getting around it.

neither place gave me a retirement party.”

How could they even begin to dream of coming up with an adequate celebration, knowing that you would soon be in your palace, where even a simple event like afternoon tea would greatly outshine any festivities your close-minded heathen co-workers could plan? So instead, they all went bowling, where you have to shove your feet in shoes where so many other feet have been, making you uncomfortable with this unsanitary thought regardless of the beer intake.

Even the stupid little plaque.”

It IS a stupid little plaque. You have statues in your honor back in Crustalina. A measly wooden board pales in comparison.

one lady bought me a little gift”

This person is actually in the employ of the government you will soon rule, having been sent into exile with you to keep an eye on things. The gift was a subtle acknowledgement of your royalty. Be sure to reward this person with land and livestock when you return home.

Weird things happen in these dreams.”

This is why I have a thriving medical practice. If people didn’t have odd nocturnal visitations, half my clients would be well-adjusted and not sending me monthly checks.

I tried to eat the hamburger in the dream but it made me feel sick”

It’s because the people of Crustalina are vegetarians. (Okay, there’s some seafood consumed from time to time, as such things can’t be avoided when you live in an island nation, but all the travel brochures say “meatless”, so we’ll go with that.)

the obvious slap in the face”

Trouble yourself notly about the slappage. All of your travails are about to become pointless, as there will soon be a knock on the door, and a royal page will present you with a proclamation that all stipulations of your exile have been met, and the people of Crustalina are lining the streets, awaiting your glorious return.

Until then, comfort yourself with this: Once back on the throne, with all the resources of the land at your disposal, you can then exact revenge on those who chose to act unkindly in your past. After all, with a quarter century spent in the postal service, I’m sure you can deliver just the right package to settle the score…


Dr. Brian

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