Smile Politely

Twittering away at health care reform

My column last week was to be about health care reform, but it just didn’t happen. I suspect the same fate awaits health care reform in Amer

Truth is, this column writes itself. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It just means the column has a mind of its own.

Writing is a constant battle to elicit something personal enough to be interesting, but not so narcissistic as to put people off.

Trying to be amusing and yet not too self-referential.

Obviously failing on both counts so far.

I keep distilling down, editing away, the inessential, until all that is left are the piths and gists that poetry requires. Or a tweet.

I’ve been reading The Gift, Creativity and the Artist…, by Lewis Hyde, because of David Foster Wallace. I’m still not over his death.

Native Americans gave gifts generously, but the idea was that one should re-gift, give away the gift.  Otherwise, it turned poisonous.

Those who invaded and conquered this land didn’t understand. They accumulated the gifts. They kept them for themselves, inventing capitali

The book relates to the gifts and talents of the artist, as well as the muse.  I’m not sure exactly how.  Not that far along.

“Things get done (with) the odd sense we didn’t do them. Labor sets its own pace, accompanied by idleness, leisure, sleep.” The Gift, Lewis Hyde

I can identify with that, especially the last part.  “I’m working!  It just looks like I’m lying here on the couch watching Scrubs.”

The American people have been slaves to health insurance for so long that, as much as I revere Obama, I don’t believe that change mantra is

People without health insurance seem to be losers, freaks, or lazy. I remained a UI nondegree grad student well past 30, just for the insura

When I subbed recently at Urbana HS, the secretary called me “Mr. No Health Insurance” with a sneer.

Why are Americans so stuck on themselves?  We don’t have the best health care (or the lowest birth mortality rate) in the world by a long sh

Letters in Gazette decried health care plans. “Not a right.” “Socialism.” “US the only country researching and creating drugs.”

Recent New Yorker article re: unnecessary, expensive med tests paralleled my experience. It’s a profit system.  Obama made his staff read it

Still, when I self-diagnosed that I wanted to start taking finasteride based on new studies, it took a major effort to get a prescription

Dubious PSA tests; a Star Trek-like CT-scan, a painful biopsy.  Nurse calls: “Tests were completely negative! Congrats!”  The bill: $8000

So I got the prescription.  But it did not feel like care to me.  It certainly wasn’t a gift.

I would be much happier with less, more pithy health care than all this diddling around.  I demand Twittercare. 

“A work of art is a gift, not a commodity.  Where there is no gift, there is no art.” Lewis Hyde

I find myself reducing my ideas for columns into tweets. It’s like making a reduction sauce on Top Chef.  Each tweet a column, thesis, novel

So I ordered my finasteride from India by way of Canada for 25% of the cost in the U.S. I worried, “Maybe it’s just Skittles?”

Not to worry, the doctor told me.  The US didn’t develop finasteride.  India did.

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