Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pardon if I seem a bit skeptical...

A search of epic proportions for a six-year-old boy who appeared to float away in a big silver balloon took an odd turn when the youngster, reported missing by a sibling, was found safe and sound in a box in the attic of the family home.  Immediately questions were raised concerning the possibility of a hoax; did the family stage the entire event for media attention?  Sounds preposterous, to be sure; I mean, what sort of family would desire that kind of attention?  Perhaps a family that is actively seeking it's own reality show on cable?  Or one that starred in an episode of "Wife Swap"?  Or one that gleefully takes small children on video-taped storm-chasing jaunts lookind to run into a tornado or two?  Hmmmm.  Let us ponder...

My superior has a favorite saying:  "Nothing is as it seems".  Just when you think you have something figured out the truth jumps in your face and makes everyone feel like an ass.  Case in point: Patty Hearst.  Oh, how we worried, but the picture of her packing heat in a bank job helped clear the air.  How about the grieving Menendez brothers?  Could you fathom the pain of losing your parents, even if you did it?  How about the pain of a woman losing sons in a carjacking?  Susan Smith seemed to leave out some important details on that case.  Richard Strandlof, AKA Rick Duncan, has been reaping the rewards of being a sacrificial hero for one's country...too bad he never served.  Finally, two words: Milli Vanilli.  Need I say more?

In that same vein I have discovered several truths regarding reality vs. fantasy during my tenure in the Emergency Room.  Here's a few: First, if you don't want to be a victim of gun violence make sure you get up in everyone's business, because every poor soul shot up full of holes (that could talk) insisted that they were "mindin' their own bidness."  Second, there are countless men and women who are allergic to Tylenol and Motrin and simply can't tolerate anything except Lortab, and most have missing teeth and several tatoos. Third, more people require notes excusing them from work on sunny days than on rainy days, and on sunny Fridays the entire community seems to suffer from migraine headaches, which can only be treated by Lortab because of a nasty tylenol and motrin allergy.  Oh, and they need a note for work.

Perhaps I have become a bit jaded...okay, the heck with perhaps.  I have a wary eye.  How sad, one might think, to be skeptical, but I have never emailed my bank account to a prince in Nairobi no matter how much I might have stood to gain.  My children probably would have preferred a Pollyanna for a father; instead they got a detective-wannabe who can pick apart their stories like a vulture on a carcass.  It's fun.  For me, anyway.

This skepticism has served me well as a Catholic.  While others with itchy ears throughout history chase this prophet and that miracle worker, I simply fall back on the authority of the Church, a far better detective of all things spiritual than I could ever aspire to be.  While this has been a blessing to me, it has created some tension between myself and those I know seeking contemporary miracles.  For instance, I have no opinion on the validity of Medjugorje.  Alan Ames seems a charlatan to me.  Anne, the ubiquitous Irish housewife, sounds great, but...I just can't be sure.  Weeping statues, miraculous cures, images of Jesus on grilled cheese...all these and more cause my leery left eybrow to rise and wrinkle my brow.  I certainly respect the right of my brothers and sisters to believe what they'd like, but I'll wait for the final word from Mother Church.  While others seem to see a miracle under every rock, I just...don't.

Of course, maybe that's just because one hasn't happened to me...?  Things that make you go hmmmmm...

1 comment:

  1. You are HYSTERICALLY funny, and witty, and love the part about "shot up with holes", and I can just picture you with the left eyebrow raised in doubt!!!!


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