Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," casting a jaundiced eye on news magazines every time we visit the doctor!
I took my daughter The Spare to the orthodontist last week, and Newsweek had a story about how the governor of West Virginia is trying to pull that poor, backward state out of its miserable status as the hillbilly cesspool of America.
Sorry, I didn't get very far reading that. I might have worked myself into a rage. I admire Buzzard Billy for having the stomach to read and blog about it.
Do you think I'll live long enough to see a fair and balanced assessment of West Virginia? Me neither.
Yesterday, after several days of acute suffering, I broke down and went to see the doctor about my poison ivy. This attack was different from any I'd ever had before -- a lot worse -- but come on, it's only poison ivy, right?
Mr. Johnson holds the health benefits around here, and his job is a slowly sinking ship that will eventually tank like the Titanic.
So I asked the nurse how much my family doctor charges for appointments to people who pay out-of-pocket. Turns out his rates run from $22 (which is just about the current co-pay) to $130.
I can tell you right now that if I thought I'd be out $130, plus medication, for this poison ivy, I would never have gone to the doctor. But it wasn't a long appointment, maybe 10 minutes. So he probably would have charged about $75. And although he didn't come right out and say I was on the verge of a serious medical event, he did commend me for coming in for help.
Anyway, to digress, I'm sitting in the doctor's waiting room, digesting the charges we may face for his services, and there's another Newsweek glaring at me. This one's cover story is, Stress Is Good for You.
Talk about a one-two punch! West Virginia is bad for you. Stress is good for you. What's with Newsweek?
Okay, I'm no fancy Newsweek reporter. But take it from me:
1. West Virginia is a beautiful state with a wide variety of people, just the same sort of people you might find in -- oh, I don't know -- Maryland.
2. Stress is bad for you. Bad. You feel bad when you are stressed. That's why you drink, that's why you eat chocolate, that's why you hyperventilate. Did I say that stress is a bad thing? It is.
Note to Newsweek: Maybe you ought to have a swimsuit issue. You might get that right.