Keep checking this site. This site changes as often as the Drudge Report or a bot-driven tweet, almost. I expect to be publishing new things all the time, until my personal Statute of Limitations for Octogenarians expires. Besides, catching and correcting typos and other boo-boos is ongoing. I just now fixed three more. You could find keeping tabs on whether I finally recognized and rectified your favorite erratum is as exciting as any cosmic dominion computer game.
DARWIN'S GOT RELIGION!
In the over 80 years of my 86 that I’ve been drawing flash fountain pen sketches – I mean from 15-90 seconds -- of classmates, and anybody else in the same room, I must have done at least 10 or 20,000 of them, my best guess. I never bothered counting. When I was in full swing, it was a rare lecture or conference or committee or church service that I would walk away from without 2- 8 more heads.
Looking back, I am not crowing over having drawn so many so fast, and so well. More puzzled than proud, I’m asking myself, why? Why on earth did I do that?
I had been drawing since before I can remember, probably since toddlerhood, just like all children do at that stage. Later when kids my age had graduated to more mature activities like baseball and hotrods and hanging out, I was still drawing classmates, as surviving 7th grade classmates, seasoned octogenarians now, tell me they still remember, though I don’t. Why would I remember? Drawing was so natural, like breathing or doodling or ogling girls, or like dribbling basketballs, which seemed oddly unnatural to me. When I was older it began to dawn on me that drawing people all the time was seriously non-mainstream. But by then sketching heads had taken on a life of its own and I couldn’t stop.
Normally conscientious and perceptive children (I’m not talking about rebels) go to school, and youth to medical school (which I did), to learn and also to make lifetime friendships of classmates. Learning I took seriously, maybe too seriously, but as to the kids around me, it never occurred to me to interact with them other than to get their faces on paper. People were put on this planet, I seem to have thought, for sketching, nothing else. Reviewing these sketches in preparing this essay, I have become aware, and embarrassed, that drawing their visages brought me closer to quiet joy than their friendship could have, or in any case did. I suffered some sort of autism, is my diagnosis, only partly facetious.
Herein is just a nanofraction of these flash sketches.
DARWIN'S GOT PHILOSOPHY!
I am settled on a park bench, soothed by the susurrous summer background hum of bulrushes in the pond and dragonflies on lily pads, many muffled iPod ear buds and – am I imagining it? -- fingers being dragged across a thousand iPads. Professor Plagno, a tenured Platonist with more than a dash of agnosticism, which he espouses possessively, has just strolled up, right on time. Bowing, he says, “Greetings, Dr. Wes, my dear Loma Linda University physician old-time Seventh-day Adventist gormless Genesis-1 creationist.”
“I’m always honored.” says I, making room for him on the bench. “Shall we continue our dialog as Plato and Socrates, or go with Abbott and Costello this time?”
NOTE: clicking the above links will take you to pages on THIS site. All six of the dialogs are also separately published together at a separate web site especially for these dialogs: http://www.parkbench.platonicdialogs.com/index.html (click)
• In accordance with FCC, NSE, EPA, FDA, NFA, DNA, UFO regulations, be it known that this e-facility is a vaguely owned subsidiary of Al-Geezera, Inc, and is closely monitored by Smart Cremation, Inc.
• Latest hearing-aided failure of communication:
SHE: "I just came back from getting cat food."
ME:"...from GETTING TATTOOED?"
• You're not surprised he's being sued for virtual sexual harassment or is it sexism? He didn't retouch her enough.
• Anything carried to its logical conclusion is... you wouldn't want to go there, buddy!
• My favorite desert is lemon harangue pie. In your face. Let’s do lunch.
• I'm so old I remember when men sought wisdom. Now, smarts. Don't suppose a wisePhone would sell.
• NEW; I'm so old I've granted myself a senility waiver on political correctitude and gender-free sensitivity, but not 19th century civility, nor the Ten Commandments which are eternal.
• He that sows wild quotes reaps the wind.
• After going through the cafeteria line, school kids are pitching the Michelle-mandated school lunch, 2 pieces of cauliflower and cheese, into the trash can. Now that's sad, sad the kids aren't appreciative of Michelle's trying to bring culture into their lives to prepare them for book signings and Artist Receptions, where 2 pieces of cauliflower and cheese (and chardonnay) are de rigueur. Food stamps accepted.
• To be or not to be, what does it matter? That -- That's the question now, after thoroughly postmodern Hillary.
• Aged executives may retain token respect, even a token office. But no clout.
• The push to make disbelief of Global Warming illegal is proving more sustainable than Global Warming itself.
• Sustainable the planet may turn out not to be, but a tattoo is.
• It's so sad, so very sad that Caitlyn Brucia Jenner can never experience the miracle of an abortion.
• Kerry must be batty to so consistently cave.
A Story of Hemodialysis from Long Ago
This is an old doc’s tale, but something of a shaggy dog story, from long ago.
I was a young research fellow in the Nephrology research Laboratory at Washington University school of medicine. Our major function was basic research in kidney physiology in health and disease. But we also did clinical consultations, and, in emergencies, hemodialysis, the primitive harrowing way. Thereby hangs this story.
On this particular night the patient we were dialyzing was Jessie, a thirty-something man who, while hunting in the Ozarks, had accidentally shot himself in the right thigh with his shotgun at close range, rendering his thigh muscles a huge mass of well shredded raw hamburger. Hamburger may be tasty but is poison to the kidneys, shutting them down completely resulting in sudden (“acute”) uremia, more frequently fatal than not if left alone.
Jessie was a model husband and father, exemplary citizen, and churchgoer, soft-tongued, virtuous, a deacon of the local Baptist church. But as his BUN rose higher and higher, he changed. He changed from being saintly to demoniac. Now he was screaming unintelligibly, mostly obscenities, many directed at his wife. Dumbfounded, she could only sob. Only after sedation and application of mild restraints could he be wheeled on a gurney to the makeshift basement dialysis area, while his sobbing wife waited at his bedside.
Three old ladies lay in beds,
Lips wrinkled, skin gone thin
By years and cancer, shreds
Of human beings, while again
The sun comes up.
Silver and gold have I none;
I turn your squeaky beds
To your windows, to the sun.
[Written after morning rounds,
fifty years ago, when I was an
internist and beds were squeaky.]
OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE HALL
I’ve driven by the place, driving the freeway, but never stopped, never been inside. Driving fast, I glance over at the sprawling complex of buildings. The main tower appears to be two or three times taller than my old hospital, but it can’t have halls as long as the ones where I used to make rounds. I see no grounds at all. Instead, two or three huge parking structures where the lovely grounds used to be. No zoo. But what I’m really seeing are two anxious families of dear old gentlemen, each at the end of his life – one group seems to be armed -- positioned at opposite ends of an endless hall. READ MORE...
Last night we were watching a TV nature program on flowers. Jasmine, sweat pea, bleeding heart. A fully spread red rose. The orchids, oh, the orchids! All the zoomings-in on petal and bract, spathe and spadix; quivering pistils and arrays of prongs, threads, fibrils, tendrils arched or erect, packets and finials powdery or wet with nectar, hidden and cloaked or flaunted. Petals: textures as leathery as a saddle or as translucent as her peignoir; suggestive, private, sensuous…forbidden. Beards, ruffles, frills; fractals and fugues, confounding or merry and playful. Colors deadeningly intense defeating the digital color gamut, or only hinted by the the delicacy of a dream. Passion flowers and primroses, orchids and daisies; nasturtiums and rhododendron. Astilbes. Hollyhock. Bugbane, bee-wort. Suddenly the narrator stopped and blurted that old question: “Why are flowers so beautiful?” READ MORE...
For thirty years we lived in Ohio in the middle of a dense woods, with a horde of raccoons, but for the first five or ten years we didn’t know it. We had our suspicions. Sonja did, anyway. In retrospect – for the rest of our lives we’ll be rethinking and feeling it – we sensed they’re out there, in the trees, way up there. Up there in the trees, mostly hidden in the maple leaves -- that cluster of odd caterpillar balls in the crotches of limbs – what is it? Why do we feel we are being spied on?
Then en mass they descended, as often hind-first as headfirst, from the trees. READ MORE...