Book VII: Dick and the horrible, disgusting growth
A global warming parable
Originally published Sept. 5, 2007
And he was, for the most part, right. Dick continued living his happy life, eating whatever he wanted, drinking to excess, smoking like a chimney and taking whatever drug passed in front of his face.
One morning in the shower, Dick noticed an odd growth where there wasn’t an odd growth before.
That day Dick went to a doctor and asked “hey doctor, what’s with this weird growth and why does seem to be getting bigger?”
The doctor was perplexed, but he was almost positive the growth was dangerous.
“It’s just not normal,” said the doctor. “And it looks dangerous if we let it go unchecked.”
“In fact,” he said, “judging by the tests we ran, if you don’t stop abusing your body, this will only get worse and it may lead to catastrophic failures of your whole system.”
He then prescribed Dick percocets, vicodins, viagra, ambien and requip, because he received a bonus for every script he wrote.
Dick felt fine though, and decided the doctor was just being an alarmist who was trying just to milk more money out his HMO. So like any responsible person, Dick saw a second doctor.
By the time the second doctor could see him, the growth had gotten bigger. The second doctor again ran tests but was also unsure as to the exact cause of the growth, but agreed with the first that if Dick didn’t stop dumping all those chemicals into his body, it would only get worse.
Then he wrote Dick a prescription for welbutonal, propecia and lunesta because he too got paid by the script.
Again though, Dick thought about his wallet and how much he enjoyed his lifestyle and decided to get a third opinion.
And so it went, with doctor after doctor telling him that the growth may have some genetic roots, but was certainly exacerbated by the obviously poisonous lifestyle he was living. Then they would write him prescriptions for whatever new pill whose logo appeared on their pen.
Meanwhile, Dick felt worse and worse. He had a constant fever. It was slight, at first, but seemed to be getting worse. It was barely noticeable in the beginning, but since then, even the places on his body that used to stay pretty cool were pouring sweat and constantly seemed damp.
Eight doctors told Dick essentially the same thing and provided him with at least 25 different prescriptions, including some weird estrogen replacement drug. The doctors disagreed whether it was the drugs, the drinking, the smoking or the eating – or simple genetics – that caused the problem, but they all agreed that stopping all of those horrible things was bound to at least help him if not start to shrink the growth.
But Dick still was not convinced. He enjoyed it all so much. Though, admittedly, it wasn’t as much fun as it used to be and now seemed more like an addiction than a simple choice. But no matter, this had to be the way.
Then, one doctor, just as the growth started to become too big to hide, shrugged and told Dick “Yeah, it’s probably all the crap you put in your body, but what are you gonna do, right? You might as well just have your fun because if you don’t someone else will.”
Then he wrote him a prescription for methadone and oxycontin and giggled.
But even that wasn’t what Dick wanted to hear. It challenged his whole way of thinking. Surely there had to be more doctors in town.
Finally, one day, Dick went to the place where he bought all of his wonderful, but expensive vices and discovered that the business had just hired a doctor.
Dick showed the doctor his growth, though by this time it was so big anybody who looked at him could see it.
“No, that’s perfectly natural,” the store doctor said. “I don’t see anything abnormal. These things come and go. Don’t worry about it.”
Convinced that he’d seen every doctor in town, Dick weighed his results.
Nine out of 10 doctors told him the growth was dangerous and recommended cutting back on his vices. The other told him it was nothing to worry about.
Naturally, Dick went with the one who told him what he wanted to hear. It was the easiest path and who cares about a total system collapse anyway? Anyone who thought the other way was probably a brainwashed moron anyway.
The moral of the story is that when nine out of 10 scientists all agree, only a Dick doesn’t choose the option that might save his life.