Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Gentrification Preferes Blands, Pt. 1. (The Baer Truth.)

"Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted."- Hesketh Pearson

Hello Blogiteers!

I find myself in a conundrum of sorts these days, and it's quite frustrating.

Things appear to be going well on the whole, and that kind of stuff tends to throw a flaming curveball in regards to my snarkitude, if you know what I mean. Sure, I like it when things are all happy and sparkly, but it's definitely a hindrance when it comes to writing one of my saturnly venomous screeds. Nobody wants a fluffy piece from me, they want that skin-stripping kindness I've become infamous for, and that requires idiots to feed the machine.

Granted, it sometimes seems that the PAS provides a never-ending stream of them, ranging from Amy Silverman to Peter Bugg, but you can only hit that cache so many times before you get sick and tired of playing with the same chew-toy.  And in the case of my perennial favorite artsy punching-bag, the aforementioned Mr. Bugg, it seems that the SMOCA grant money he was awarded for his note by note *rip-off of another artists work was seemingly never utilized to bring said copied art project to completion.  *[allegedly] 

According to Sara Cochran, [then SMoCA interim director and curator] Peter was later hired on the strength of the following: "He presented an impressive number of original and exciting ideas for connecting with SMoCA’s loyal audience and reaching out to build new audiences who may not yet know that they need contemporary art in their lives."

Re-reading this puff-piece quote with my stereotypical cynicism, I find this particular tidbit hilarious.

Not only does he have said alleged reputation for blatant plagiarism, his knack for dropping the ball is so well known that its rumored he's in the running to be the next quarterback for the Patriots, as evidenced by his inability to bring it to fruition. Maybe the next time he [allegedly] copies somebody else's project, he'll hopefully replicate their work ethic as well.

A truly ethical professional can dream, I guess...

Speaking of the exact opposite of a true professional, [at least when it comes to dealing with her readers and insubordinates, anyway] it seems that somehow I managed to slip around Amy Silverman's all-seeing Eye of Sauron and get my name in the ol' Phoenix New Times* despite my previous assertions that they're still the Pennysaver with Porn at best.

Seriously, pick one up and count the number of ads versus actual content, and you'll understand why they remind me of a coffeehouse newsletter. The most recent one I condescended to view happened to be 1/3rd as thick as it was just a few years ago, and it's painfully obvious that their ongoing demographic really has a thing for strip clubs, car stereos, and shoddily written articles from ASU's outgoing Walter Cronkite School of Journalism's "not quite there yet" class.

It does strike as amazing however, that she's managed to keep that rag on the merest of life support, so I will give her that, but your strongest skill set as an editor shouldn't be where the art of dark necromancy comes into play. Your job is to shape the written word, not go do body shots with Anubis, even if you do share similar views on fashion and makeup tips. Just saying.  

Gah. No need to pontificate any longer in regards to Editorzilla and the twits whom she pettily lords over, or the hipster impotence of SMOCA's human Xerox. When a plane crash is imminent, the best thing to do is cover your head, clear your karma, and brace yourself for the inevitable. This Artbitch desperately needs some new scratching posts, and that right quick.

Speaking of which, and to nobody's surprise, my complaint against my former doctor was dismissed by BOMEX with no explanation. Sure, I did get a nice form letter signed by their head shill regarding their "decision" but as to why that asinine decision was made, I'm still out in the cold.

Apparently, asking why there should there be an answer given (from an agency who claims to protect the public) is the new rude. After all, I'm only the one whose life and job were horrendously affected, and it's not like their mission isn't to protect the doctors who sign their paychecks, a fact made evident when you look at how they handle things. As I've oft noted before, it's never a good idea to let a skulk of hungry foxes guard the henhouse, unless your ongoing craft project has an immediate need for slightly sticky feathers and bones.

You may remember that initially, I praised BOMEX investigator Leah Rossow's dedication to her job, but it seems that my sense of optimism at finding a competent worker within their gargantuan bureaucracy devoted to whitewashing the truth was both baseless and premature, given the eventual outcome, which as I noted- was unsurprising.

I guess the old saying is true after all: everybody has a price, and in Mrs. Russow's case, it seems hers allegedly comes in the form of a low-wage paycheck. To be clear, this isn't a case of the stereotypical "he said / she said"- all the salient and unprincipled behavior that my doctor displayed was well documented, and yet... she was given a hall pass to eventually go maim or possibly kill someone with her obvious incompetence*. *[Allegedly]

But as I stated in my last screed, I really am done with this. I've publically said my piece, stated my case, and moved on. However, it's also true that I rarely leave monuments of ineptitude standing without taking one last parting salvo, which in this case- was an email directed at Mrs. Russow and her apparent acceptance of ignoring the obvious.

To quote myself:

"Thanks for proving my point that BOMEX is bought and paid for. I guess hurting your patients is perfectly fine when you know that the so called regulators are in your pocket.

BTW, the blog posts, where you're mentioned has over 5k hits, and I've answered over 200 emails regarding my case.

Not surprisingly, they all agree that Dr. Paar should be held accountable, but when the people you're supposed to investigate pay you, objectivity is questionable at best.

Go read the blogs, as they are hilarious. 

Ironically,  I actually wrote nice things in regards to your dedication, but I guess I'll have to alter that in a future piece, as you've shown where your loyalties lie- protecting the doctors, insidious actions be damned.

There is one query I do have though that only you can answer, and that is this:
How much did it take for you to be bought off?

And how do you sleep knowing that you put patients at risk? You, and the agency that puts profit over patients can go to Hell, which is ironic, since you've helped so many victims remain there.

Morally bankrupt. 
Devoid of ethics.
And lining your pockets on a base of suffering, 

May you live in interesting times,
Wayne Michael Reich"

Personally, I think I come off as rather warm and fuzzy. Much like one of those noxious caterpillars you used to see on the so-called "Learning Channel" before every show started using "Boss" in it's title, regardless whether the content was about cakes, white trash, or mermaids. And don't even get me started on those homophobic twits from "Duck Dynasty" or the horrendous stage moms from "Toddlers and Tiaras"- we'll be here for days.

I tell you.

So what's a slowly evening-out Artbitch to do? Well, if you're me, you talk to people like I'm known to do incessantly, and you pay attention to the stuff that filters through the world of the Internet. It's sort of analogous to being a spider in the middle of a web, waiting on it's next meal.

Normally, that's how it usually goes, but unfortunately. this time around there were a few spanners thrown in the ol' works, and they were huge ones. First: mainly due to my neuropathy, I was dismissed from my new job, [btw, I would have made the same decision if I were in their place] then I got sick. Really sick. Take nausea, fold in flu-like symptoms, intersperse in a highly-puzzling series of head rushes and waves of exhaustion that literally are bringing me to my knees.

Top off by adding in the usual depression that goes with being unemployed, and what you'll have is quite possibly the worst cookies ever, no matter how many chocolate chips you've supplemented to the mix. So given all that, it's not too surprising I've been way behind the 8 ball lately in regards to what's been going on in the PAS- after all. it's kind of difficult to run with the herd when you're unable to get off the couch without cursing whatever God you're presently blaming your issues on.

Stupid Krom. And after all those nice things I've said about you to Conan? That just hurts, bro.

Blasphemy aside, it's been exhausting trying to respond to all that's been happening in (and to) my life the last couple of weeks, so you'll have to forgive me for trying to circumvent some of the crush, as quite honestly- a lot of it is either beyond my influence or my experience. And since I've managed to land a new job recently despite my ongoing health issues, my free time has been somewhat crunched.

So, what's up?

There's a massive brouhaha involving a proposed BID District currently in downtown, and the most recent debacle concerned a seditious comment by RoRo landowner Erick Baer where he allegedly called the artistic community "parasites"- two items that you'd think would provide adequate grist for the Artbitch to mill into delightfully acidic snarkbread, but surprisingly this time around, I'm going to defer to the people already on the field of battle, and I'll endeavor to keep my rationalization short.

In the case of the BID issue, quite simply put- I'm a novice when it comes to the arena of local politics, the structuring of such initiatives, and what the required process is in order to create one, so any input I have would essentially boil down to a word-bite at best, personal embarrassment at worst. Besides, Jon Talton [http://roguecolumnist.typepad.com/] is way better at this kind of thing than I am, so my normally ravenous ego has no issue getting out of the way to let my betters do what they do best with effortless grace.

Addressing the next issue, the alleged comment by Erick Baer, the situation gets a tad bit murkier, depending on who you talk to. Some claim his remark was taken out of context, others claim it runs exactly as it reads. So which is it, exactly?

Well, lets add some framework to my take on what's going on and start with the basics: Mr. Baer owns the following properties within the RoRo- a single family residence rental property at 809 N. 6th St., and a vacant lot at 815 N. 6th St.. The most truthful assessment I could apply to Baer is that he falls within the parameters of a "long-term community investor"- that is someone who goes into a area, buys a property to renovate. and then sells it far down the road when the market conditions are favorable, basically betting on a win from what others would consider a loss- all perfectly ethical and reasonable, depending on your modus operandi and inherent objective.

As stated in an article via the *Phoenix New Times, Baer made his assertion to the Arizona Senate Finance Committee in regards to the proposed (and eventually defeated) Roosevelt Row BID application. To quote from the article: "Roosevelt Row property owner Erick Baer submitted a public comment to the Senate Finance Committee describing Roosevelt Row artists as "parasites that think everything is free."

To be quite honest, when I first heard that, my blood instantly boiled, and a plan for getting him to willingly get inside my 1974 Ford van/mobile abattoir began to gel. My first thought was to tell him there's an artist squatting on his vacant lot, say I'd be more than happy to drive him there, and watch the fun ensue when I *bust out my spattering smock and freshly sharpened matching chainsaw with it's super-convenient insulated drink cozy.
*[A simple joke. A cup cozy on a chainsaw would be highly impractical.]

But this is the new and improved Artbitch, V2.5, and these days, I'm trying ever so hard to not go off half-cocked. Besides... have you priced quicklime lately? It's almost high enough to make a man reconsider his hobby of killing clown hookers on the weekend.

Almost. A mans gotta have his down time, you know.

So, my first step was to draft an open letter, but due to a miscommunication on my part, I wound up sending it to the wrong people, which they addressed almost immediately- curtly, I might add. Oops.

"Hi there!
This message is for Erik Baer-

I write a *blog dedicated to the Phoenix Art Scene, and as such, am currently in the midst of a piece regarding the merging of both the business and artistic development going on downtown.

Recently, you referred to the art community as "parasites", a statement that for obvious reasons, has offended a wide swath of people. Now, while its well-established that I'm pro-art scene, I'm also known for being pro-accuracy when it comes to getting the details right. 

So to that end, I'd like to offer you the chance to either clarify or expand on your pov, and the best way to do that is to get it from the source, not the internet or offended masses, who to be fair- may not be willing to provide the balanced overlook this subject demands.

(Disclaimer: I'm harsh, but I don't selectively edit, I don't misquote to score points, and your response, whatever it may be, will go straight from your mouth to my pixelated page as is.)

Now, I am aware that you may not be interested or comfortable in broaching this topic, but at the moment, I've received over 100 emails regarding your comment, and just recently had a very animated lunch with several key players in the scene asking me to write something in response.

While this subject does intrigue me on several levels, I'd rather have all sides represented before I start crafting, for as I said, Im all about getting it right.

If the concept of telling your side interests you, please feel free to peruse past blogs at the web address above, or please read the published magazine articles at my personal site: http://waynemichaelreich.com

(Just click on the "Media" link, and follow the path.)

In closing, I thank you for your time and hopeful future consideration.

Wayne Michael Reich

The response? Well, I did send it to the wrong people due to the fact I sometimes have the brain of a goldfish, so naturally, I heard nothing back. But thankfully, the stars sometimes align and reward you while overlooking your past idiocy, because Karma likes to shake it up every now and then.

It just happened that a few days later, I was cruising the ol' Facebook and literally "bumped" into him on a thread regarding Donald's Trumps gaggle of gold-digger wives- I know, I know, who cares about immigrants doing yet another job Americans won't do, but it did allow the possibility of he and I getting together for a polite conversation.

After posting my main email address, I waited for a follow-up, and got.... nothing. No big woop, life is busy, people have other issues to deal with, and it's not like I exert a great deal of influence within the grand scheme of things, so why would someone who seemed rather vehement towards the PAS and it's Creatives be open to talking to me anyway? Looking at it from another perspective, I can understand perfectly well why some people wouldn't want to have coffee with me, as for some in the scene, it would be like sitting down with Lucifer himself- especially if I've already written about you.

And I'm also certain that "Googling" me probably doesn't show me in the best light, either.

Let's face it, while I'm no Walter Winchell, I'm hardly a Gretchen Carlson either- I do possess some chops, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this, now would you? So trying to be as tactful as possible, I sent another query via Facebook, and hoped for the best, which never came. These are the days where you seriously just want to gorge on ice cream in your pajamas while watching Milla Jovovich kill zombies, because it's fairly obvious nobody thinks you're pretty anymore.

So, since [at that time] I couldn't get my info directly from the source, playing devil's advocate to surmise what he meant seemed to be the only logical way to go.

The truth is that if wasn't for the artists powerfully transforming RoRo into the creative center it's poised to become, some of these carpet-bagging profiteers from Portland wouldn't be here in the first place, a fact that's being willfully overlooked by the developers and others of their ilk, such as their PR guys. It's ironically insulting that they love the art scene enough to use it as a marketing point, and as a milking station for selling themselves as being community-based, but they don't see the slur in snidely deriding what was built long before their collective arrogance arrived, which is quite simply infuriating.

I have no issue with someone who's playing the market, hoping their land purchase/white elephant will eventually payoff, or anyone wanting to develop a specific area, but when that decision is intertwined with disrespect for the people who are partially responsible for their good fortune, it raises my hackles something fierce. Without the Artists, there IS NO ART SCENE, period. And treating the most vital part of the machine as either unnecessary or as sponging is sheer conceit, at best and worst.

The majority of the non-local developers and speculators hoping for a big payday and nothing else, are in essence, the lowest form of cultural vulture, feeding off, as well as on, the hard work of the artists they scorn.

None of the Creatives I know are artsy free-loading bedbugs, they're passionate people who bust their asses at a level that demands respect, no matter what the imported from Portland leeches think. In my humble opinion, anyone casually deriding the entire creative community when they're currently nursing off their teat like a starving calf, is in my humble pov, possessing an intellect more suited to a Trump rally, which is to say that they're most likely hovering academically somewhere just above a baked potato.

But as I said, this is the new and improved Artbitch, V2.5, and I'm trying to exude less cynicism these days, which to be quite honest- is getting damn near nigh impossible in this, the irreparably jaded era of 24/7 belittling and skepticism. However, even with that pessimistic bulwark in front of me, I'm still fairly optimistic that the good outweighs the bad in the end.

Apparently, that luminous outlook rubbed off on somebody connected to the universe's head office, and I was sent an early *Santiago Day gift, in the form of an unexpected Facebook communique from the aforementioned Erick Baer, wherein he requested a chat to discuss the issue at hand.
*[Google it.]

Personally, I was hoping Baer would turn out to be someone I could really dislike- it's been a slow summer for me after all, and this gig doesn't really work unless I have someone to eviscerate. The most ideal situation for me is that I would have found find him *running a Ding Dong counterfeiting ring out of a hollow volcano, surrounded by underpaid dancing minions.
*[That's a joke. Please don't sue me, we all know that a hollow tree is where the pastries get made.]

However, when I arrived for our sit-down at The Grand on Central, that wasn't the case- in his sixties, blunt, and incredibly energetic, Baer struck me (in my humble opinion) as a fairly straight shooter, and wasted no time explaining how the blow-up all happened. He's also a founding member of Downtown Voices, [www.downtownvoices.org] a Phoenix-specific advocacy group.

And even worse, he admits he did say that, right off the freaking bat.

Goddamnit. Son of a yak herding inbred, I was hoping for a demagogue, and instead, got someone who didn't duck or shy away from my rather pointed questions. With this kind of open discourse, it's only a matter of time before I start posting recipes and life-hack tips. For instance, did you know you can use clothespins as toothbrush holde...

NONONONONO! I'm the Artbitch, and I'm gonna get ruthless here, no matter what.

Except... Baer spent quite some time explaining his frustration with the defeated BID proposal, making a strong case regarding [in his words] several "vagaries" within its structure, along with alleging that the process itself isn't truly transparent, the notification procedure strikes as somewhat selective, and that the appeals process is deliberately complicated and bureaucratic to deter dissent.

Continuing, he echoes opinions I've voiced numerous times over the years: that [my take] Phoenix tries on identities like a high school girl wanting to impress people, that there's no sense of gravitas or authenticity as presented by the new developments, and that the Arts community would benefit greatly from a true advocate in their corner, not someone who's in "bed" with the developers.

"They want Utopia" he says, "but have no idea what it signifies."

If the BID allegations are accurate, I do think these are issues that should merit further investigation, but this is so out of my skill-set, that it requires someone who truly understands the politics and intricacies of the situation, and that person is so not me, if I were to be brutally honest- I'm a snark, not a diplomat, and this can of worms would eat my face if I dared to step up into it's ring,

As I stated earlier: "I'm a novice when it comes to the arena of local politics, the structuring of such initiatives, and what the required process is in order to create one, so any input I have would essentially boil down to a word-bite at best, personal embarrassment at worst."

Regardless of my walking the waffling line, the conversation was interesting to say the very least, especially in regards to one of the aforementioned properties he owns, that being the vacant lot, which he's half-jokingly suggested should be named "Parasite Park", after the street-art someone [we all know who, wink, wink] plastered all over it. A graphic btw, that Baer claims both he and his wife actually liked, mainly for it's superior attention to detail. 

So to the artist responsible- kudos, you done good.

As it turns out, vacant lots in Phoenix are taxed at double the rate of developed properties, PHXs rationale being that they necessitate a larger share of city services, such as police, fire, etc., by dint of not being fully realized. Now whether or not this is statistically true, it still presents as a tad bit hypocritical, considering the City of Phoenix allegedly owns over 800 similar lots themselves. Past the tragic issues regarding the homeless and an occasional brush fire, I can't really see this as a concern past the claim of a blighted urban landscape, which while a truly valid point, is not as simplistic as it sounds.

Especially when the city taxing you for it is essentially doing the same thing as you, and even more annoying when your property has been put up for sale as Baer has done, and you don't get any takers. Just an aside I thought was interesting, given the fact that Downtown Phoenix is being swallowed up by developments that look as if they were designed by a Bauhaus student with a fetish for architecture that looks like a shoebox got busy with a WalMart behind a Taco Bell dumpster, an issue I'll cover in the next blog, btw.

Back to the brouhaha. As our three hour conversation unfolds, Baer expresses both remorse and shock at the controversy that his "heat of the moment" remark generated, for as he puts it: "In the grand scheme of things, I'm small potatoes, I'm really nobody." In fact, the blowback spurred on mostly by the earlier referenced article via the Phoenix New Times- a commentary that [according to Baer] didn't feel that it was necessary to grant him the opportunity to expound upon his incendiary statement took him totally by surprise.

There's a truly valid reason I gleefully call the PNT the "Pennysaver with Porn", and it's not just because it's catchy as all f**k. No, the explanation lies within the fact that if they spent less time trying to stir the pot and more time getting all sides of a story, maybe they wouldn't have to sell so much ad space to businesses you can't take your kids to, as you awkwardly avoid the question of where you really go every Wednesday night after work.

Let me be clear- I'm NOT blaming the writer of this piece- if anything, I'm betting dollars to donuts that the bad call on the details can be laid at their editors *feet, as it's just the kind of salacious detail that they drool over.  
*[hooves, talons, tentacles, what have you]

Darn. And my aversion therapy regimen was going so well.  Oops. My bad. Back to the narrative.

Baer, as I stated earlier, comes off as a straight shooter, an attitude I can easily relate to, given my penchant for being blunt. And directness seems to be a trait that Baer possesses in buckets, if not truckloads. Another attribute I tend to like in a person, no matter what side they're on. In the end, I'm just a big softy, I guess.

As our talk progresses, Baer informs that his real issue truly lies with a few specific individuals who as he put it rather succinctly, claim to represent the PAS, of whom he flatly states: "nobody voted for them to be the Art King and Queen, and they sure as Hell don't speak for me.". Those familiar with the PAS already know who I'm talking about, and despite my past screed regarding one of those people specifically, I really don't have too much interaction with them in the circles I run in, nor do I really pay either much mind. Different levels of the food chain and all that, you understand. Come to think of it, I'm not really sure if I have a level, so much as a niche that others overlook.

Now before you go burning me in effigy or sticking pins in a likeness adorned with a lock of my luxuriant ponytail, pause to remember that I'm just the messenger, and that my health insurance is non-existent, so take a moment and think before you start sending me the usual barrage of hate mail, snarky comments tossed out at art openings, and veiled threats passed via Chinese whispers.

Continuing, Baer hones in on what he claims he meant to say originally. before he,  "phrased it badly due to my being so damn aggravated by some of the people involved." I'll give you two guesses as to whom those persons might just be.

Just two simple speculations. Key word here is two. Dos. Twosome. Duo. A pair. A set. Two of a kind. Uno times Dos. You get the idea, methinks.

By way of disclaimer, I have heard that said persons don't think much of me, if at all, but to be fair- that tidbit did come fifth hand, and they've never been anything less than professional when I've run into them publicly, so for all I know, they could either have a shrine to my destruction hidden in a hall closet, or both could be huge, yet closeted, Artbitch fans.

A snarky boy who's just looking for his forever family can dream I guess, but the reality is more likely that they have no actual idea who I am. [See "small fish, big mouth."] Not that I'm taking sides or anything. After all, I don't want to wind up buried alive under the reclaimed wood floor-boards of a combination vegan coffee boutique and art gallery, and I'm way too set in my habits to start hanging out in a Starbucks anytime soon.

As I said earlier, I'm just the messenger, and this isn't Sparta, so let's all step back from the pit full of earth, water, and the piled corpses of Xerse's unfortunately mouthy emissaries, before we all do something I'll regret.

But... it does have relevance to something I've been grousing about for years, and that is this- we have way too many cooks in the kitchen in regards to the PAS, and some of those can only boil in a bag, if you know what I mean. Don't misinterpret my take, it's truly heartening to see so many 602 cheerleaders as of late, but let's be real for a moment- some are here for community, some are here for charity, and some are here strictly for the commemorative plaques.

Granted, a strong argument could be made for my inclusion into one, if not all three, of these sub-groups, depending on your pov, but I've never claimed to speak for anyone but me. I have my own corner of the artistic turf, and I defend it like a man obsessed, but I've never assumed that anybody respects that or what I try to do. In my opinion, there's really no clear and unifying leader who speaks for and within the PAS, but there sure are a lot of generals who think they're in charge, no matter what the in proximity evidence or gentry may say.

And yes, I can already hear the smug detractors rallying cry: "well then, why aren't you more politically involved on the local level then, oh great internet snark?", and my retort is as basic as you can get- quite simply, I've always been an irritant to committees and agendas, and it's usually more effective if I remain in the shadows. While I can lead, I absolutely abhor being the one who has to herd the cats, and my main skill-set has always been in serving as advocate, fixer, and occasional 2nd lieutenant.

As an aside, if anybody requires concrete proof that our artistic starship isn't helmed by Captain Kirk but his fated to die redshirts instead, all we need do is look at the "success" of the PAS with a truly dispassionate eye.  Ready for a fun pros and cons list, faithful readers?

- PRO: Roosevelt was named one of the "coolest streets in America".
- CON: It's as edgy as a glass of warm milk, and has been so gentrified, it's essentially a vanilla wafer come to life, who just wants to brag endlessly about how natural his fake lawn looks.

- PRO: Our "arts district" was also named "one of the top ten art districts in America."
http://ktar.com/story/92043/phoenixs-roosevelt-row-named-among-best-art-districts-in-the-country/ ]
- CON: Please explain how this can be, since FF is nothing more than a rolling street party, hardly any art gets sold, the Creatives in this town still require day jobs in order to survive, add in the lack of serious promotion of the PAS, a dearth of knowledgeable media exposure of what we do past a crap-sack of a free newspaper that even Circle K won't carry, and to top it all off, could someone satisfactorily defend why we're only open two nights a month?

Sorry, but in order to truly be taken seriously, maybe we should stop patting ourselves on the back over every middling achievement, and should ramp it up like the other cities, and for once- go kick some serious ass in regards to showcasing the talent we have and what it can do. Don't think I'm blaspheming, but I'm pretty sure NYC doesn't even knows we're alive in relation to being on the Arts map.
[Please send hate mail and death threats to the usual place, thank you.]

- PRO: The new developments will put Phoenix on the map as a city in upward transition.

- CON: Yes... because lifting architectural inspirations directly from Portland and LA will do so much to define our uniqueness in regards to other cities, because nothing screams "distinctive" louder than purposely making sure your downtown looks just like everybody else's, everywhere else.

I'm not sure who the architects designing these abominations are, but it's high time that somebody takes away their cad programs and architectural LEGO sets until they can design something that's truly and perceptibly Phoenix, as wrested from the ethereal to the corporeal. And while some of these new developments are touted as a means to raise our national visibility, they're also akin to a strangler fig being set loose in a verdant garden. We may not notice at first that our community is being forced out, but we'll definitely become aware of it down the road, another issue I'll address in the next part of this blog.

Sorry. Sometimes tangents take me away like a pack of hungry pterodactyls. My sincerest apologies. Back to the original plot. Asked how he would phrase his declaration given the perspective of hindsight, Baer quickly responds with: "If I had to say it again, I'd say the BID process is itself parasitic- I'm truly sorry for the unintended offense, which was not directed at the community itself, but those certain unelected people who claim to represent it." Wrapping it up, Baer exits on this statement: "There's room for the People, there's room for the Artists, but there's no room for the Bureaucrats."

But isn't there, though?

Especially given that they seem to be the ones truly controlling the path and destiny of our future, devoid of any knowledge of what makes our creative nucleus tick. I recently ran into one of these beige-walkers being shepherded around the PAS by two of our local and I might add, kick-ass Creatives who had taken it upon themselves to show this individual (who's involved with the *tax-break seeking Circles development) to showcase what exactly the PAS has to offer and what it represents. *[They didn't get it by the way. Schadenfreude rocks.]

Two things: first, I'm proud of how the two Creatives involved took it upon themselves to attempt an education upon the clueless, and I heartily applaud them. Personally, I feel it's an overly optimistic endeavor, due to the fact the deal is done, the ink is dry, and if these developers couldn't be bothered to do the merest of research in regards to where they're building, why would they care now? If one looks at the situation with an unbiased eye, it's fairly obvious we're all being played like an Ozark harp, and we're dancing to their tune- not ours.

And second: I think that Baer's comment (poorly phrased as it was), does raise a valid if somewhat uncomfortable point, and that's this: who exactly is looking out for the PAS, and what is their plan to stop the presently occurring strangulation of what's been built? Does it consist of digging in our heels for an inspiring, yet hopeless last stand, or praying for a deus ex machina that saves all that's established?

But that's for the next installment of "As Our World Burns", methinks.
And when I come back...

I run in Circles, discuss GIPLETS and gravy, and wonder why Phoenix needs to burrow in Portland's closet when we have an entire wardrobe of our own to choose from.

“You must never feel badly about making mistakes ... as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.”
- Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Bugg’s Strife Pt.4 (Paar-ty Foul.)

“There are so many ways of being despicable it makes one head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other peoples pain.”- James Baldwin

Hello Blogiteers!
How are you? That’s just spiffy.

I for one, am feeling much better these days, finally having my pain meds being reinstated the crucial key in my overall feeling of well-being, thanks to a doctor who didn’t learn his bedside manner from Cruella DeVille.

Granted, I could be wrong- it has shockingly happened before.
Once or twice in regards to choosing a doctor, anyways.

Speaking of which, it’s time to start wrapping up my tale of an [*allegedly] heartless medical malinger, that being the one and thankfully only, Dr. Gypsy Faith Paar. Granted, her physician credentials may be sound, but judging from my personal and I might add painful, experience- I’d have to opine strongly that her interpersonal skills could use a few major tweaks.

Think about rebuilding Atlantis exactly like it used to be, and you’ll get where I’m going with this. If I were to paint an analogy of what I think of those said skills, it would be akin to being forced to eat an entire pallet of PEEPS. Sure, in the beginning it’s all sugar and squishiness, but halfway through, you realize you have made a severe error in judgment, and you’re the only one who’s going to actually suffer.

Personally, I’ve been fortunate enough not to have ever been disabled by the melancholy that follows a marshmallow-based sugar binge, but I’d assume that at best, it’s highly unpleasant.

Which reminds me… if you remember my last little screed, I introduced a new player on the field, that being Paradise Family Medicines office manager. Theresa O’Brien, whom in essence, I less than charitably described as a “human Sham-Wow”- a harsh assessment that I still stand behind.

Theresa’s job is a thankless one to be sure- she’s the first point of contact for patients who have a grievance, and she’s the one who also gets to clean up whatever mess that may have been purposely overlooked by the doctors she works for, those being the highly esteemed Dr. Paul R. Coulombe and Dr. Anthony J. Katz, two experienced physicians who while having the ability to be regarded without fault by their peers, somehow lack the capacity to return phone messages in relation to their staff.

To be fair, it’s probably really hard to get a signal when you’re out on the golf course ignoring concerns regarding your employees, so I guess I should cut them some slack. Therefore, I do have a diminutive amount of empathy towards her plight… an exceedingly diminutive amount, I might add.

Because in the end, she’s also the human speed bump getting in my way regarding settling this issue amicably. As I’ve noted in previous writings, it’s almost impossible to hold a doctor to account for what they’ve done or haven’t done, due to the fact that both the doctors office and their regulatory agency [AKA: BOMEX] will generally, and I’m quoting myself here;

 place the protection of the doctor long before the safeguarding of the patient, and both actively whitewash the issue for the benefit of the practice to the detriment of the public that filed the complaint in the first place. And both in the long run, present as morally bankrupt.

How comforting. The foxes not only guard the henhouse, they’re also the ones in charge of staffing it as well. I’m sure that’s for the best, right? After all, what screams “safeguarding of the patient” more than definitively deciding without public input that potential ones must never get to ascertain what a doctors been accused rightly or wrongly of?

Yep. Nothing to see here folks, move along. Just be obedient little cattle, and make sure to pay us exorbitantly (and repeatedly) for that six minute visit we made you wait 45 minutes for. Sheesh. I never thought I’d live to see the day where La Cosa Nostra could be presented as the nice guys by way of a straightforward comparison.

At least the mob is somewhat honest- violent to be sure, but at least when they make an effort to cause great physical harm to you, it’s by design, and not outright alleged negligence. No matter what you may assume of their practices, even the most stalwart outsider has to begrudgingly admit they at least show love for their craft, which is more than I can say for my former physician.

One might tend to think that after twelve years of “practicing” she’d have acquired some form of competence in regards to proper bedside manner, but you’d be wrong. All kidding aside. I’ve had better treatment at the hands of a drunken mob of JorĊgumo*, and those wenches are just straight up bitches.*[Google it. It’s so worth the effort.]

Being the thorough sort, I followed up on my complaint to Theresa concerning Mrs. Paar with the only other option accessible to me, that being the bloated, lethargic (and completely owned by physicians) agency that actively shields doctors from public perusal, the aforementioned BOMEX.

Eagle-eyed readers may have caught the exceedingly subtle indication that I don’t entirely trust this alleged patient protection agency, and that personal belief was reinforced after discussing my concerns with Leah Russow, one of their investigators- now, before I enlighten you on why this is, let me start by saying Leah was a delight to chat with, despite the seriousness of my reason for contacting her in the first place- courteous, professional, and obliviously dedicated to her job.  

But in the same sense, so is Captain Phasma, and her bosses are Sith-lords, so I think we all know how that level of management tends to view disruptions in the workplace. I originally was going to let Theresa’s “investigation” of my claims stand, believing that only the most monolithic cretin lacking both basic humanity and common sense would fail to see why Mrs. Paar’s behavior was so reprehensible, and sadly in that respect, I was right.

Apparently, not only was said alleged monolithic cretin readily available, it was also purportedly taking growth hormone and using Crown Victorias as free weights, as evidenced by the only email Theresa ever sent to me regarding my legitimate grievance:

From: Teresa O'Brien <tjobrien61@hotmail.com>
To: "*********@yahoo.com" <*********@yahoo.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 7:52 PM
Subject: Paradise Valley Family Medicine

Mr. Reich:

We have investigated your concerns and have found the care and treatment provided by Dr. Paar to be appropriate. We will provide copies of your medical records to your new physicians upon completion of a medical records release form.

Teresa O'Brien
Paradise Valley Family Medicine

Hmm. Odd. No reason to why she thought that was, nor is there any reference to the several complaints I discovered online about Dr. Paar that mirrored my personal experience, and had brought to her attention. It’s almost as if she was hoping that her highly evident ass-covering response would make me go away. I do have to admire the bravery, if not the outright chutzpah, in declaring that you investigated yourself, and shockingly… found nothing wrong.

Given that display of failed professionalism, I might have been somewhat bubbling over with annoyance, and fueled by such- fired off the following email-

From: ********* <*********@yahoo.com>
To: Teresa O'Brien <tjobrien61@hotmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 9:35 PM
Subject: RE: Paradise Valley Family Medicine

Mrs. O'Brien-

"We've investigated ourselves and found we did nothing wrong."

What a shock. Nobody who's heard of what your doctor did thinks’ what she did was appropriate, but you feel otherwise.

Tells me I'm dying, doesn't explain why, doesn’t explain my blood-work, offers no comfort, and walks out without a further word, leaving me a total emotional wreck, as evidenced by your receptionist and the other patients in the lobby.

This sits well with you?

Of course it does. You're morally rudderless, after all. 

You will have your legal representation contact me as I will be pursuing action against your practice, and I will pursue all legal avenues of settling this matter to my satisfaction. And as an aside, I see that your offer of refunding my money was nothing more than lip service.

If you had no intention of doing the right thing, you shouldn't have stated otherwise. May I suggest that in the future, you think before you offer false platitudes. Your doctor has a charted history of this type of behavior, yet you choose to ignore it.

I doubt the court and social media will, but we'll see. I cannot wait to see what else remains to be discovered- I'm getting all tingly just thinking about it. In closing, you are at best, nothing more than a spineless cog in a medically - themed Ponzi scheme.

And sending me an email rather than a phone call?
Supreme cowardice.

But then again, it's what I've come to expect.

May you live in interesting times,

Sigh… I’m starting to think that I need to get cards printed up with how I handle lies, incompetence and sheer malingering, and hand them out to all the new people that I meet. I’m pretty sure it would save a lot of time and effort when the subject of what the best response would be if somebody decides to come at me, regardless of whether it’s from malice or ineptitude.

Think of the stirring motto on the Welsh Flag: “Y Ddraig Goch Ddyry Cychwyn” which is sometimes attributed as either “the red dragon advances”, or “the red dragon should go forward”- no matter which version you ascribe to, there’s still a big, red, fiercely ticked-off dragon coming for you, and there’s no way that’s ever going to end good, even if you do think Smaug is all shades of awesome.

But there is an upside to all of this- if you’ve ever wondered what a chicken wing feels like right before it’s stripped clean, you’re about to have that masochistic itch scratched, and that right quick.

In Mrs. Paar’s case, that would be the filing of a formal complaint with BOMEX, not that I thought it would truly make any difference, but what the hey- life is all about rolling the dice, right? Granted, there were a few heartening early developments, such as Leah asking me for all the emails I sent Theresa, but that joy was short-lived, when Leah offered up details about the process that I did not know about, despite my previous dealings with this alleged protector of the people.

As I've noted in previous scrawlings, patients have zero rights when it comes to knowing what the end result is after they file a complaint against any doctor, which in my opinion, is bulls**t, plain and simple. If I can easily find out how many food code violations my local McDonalds has accrued, logic should hold that the same standard should apply to anyone who's been given the colossal responsibility of maintaining my internal organs and the meat-suit that surrounds them.

But logic is no bulwark against the greed that has corrupted modern medicine, and it certainly is no match against the agency that places the value of a doctor’s reputation above that of their patient’s lives. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, as it were. Cynically speaking, this shouldn't come as a shock- money has long been the new model of Hippocrates for most doctors, and they're going to make certain that their green river never stops flowing, no matter what or whom gets in the way.

This perversion of their sacred oath even extends into yet another pillar of our values, that being the Law. Granted, the current incarnation of our legal system favors the powerful and the wealthy as it always has, but even with all that- it has been known to actually work the way it should every now and then.  I know, I know…I was shocked myself.

But when it comes to suing a doctor... you might as well be attacking a tank with a pool noodle.

Typically, unless a doctor has killed you, or maimed you to a heinous degree, no lawyer will take your case or even act on your behalf, as it isn't financially worth their time. Nobility, thy name is not lawyer. In essence, the system is rigged- overseen by people for whom it's in their best interest to keep things nice and quiet.  

So how does one hit 21 against a dealer who's not only holding all the aces in their back pocket as well as up their sleeves? Well, the answer to this conundrum is quite simple...you won't.

Silly little patient, your value is in being a financial asset only, not a moral one. And when it comes to personal ethics these days, you'd have better luck getting Donald Trump to front a Selena cover band before you'd see the majority of physicians today showing truly genuine remorse over their mistakes. In fact, BOMEX is under NO moral or legal obligation to bring past transgressions' to light, even if cut of the same cloth.

Think about that for a second- even if your doctor has made the same fatal mistake twice, this "protection agency" isn't allowed BY LAW to inform any one of that fact, nor is it subject to lawful subpoena if you're trying to see if such events have occurred previously in regards to ongoing or future litigation, no matter how egregious. By way of example, you'd be offered more protection from the court system that tickets your neighbor for not cleaning up after their dog long before the agency that's tasked with safeguarding your life.

Granted, while both deal with steaming plies of fecal material, only one group of clerks gets to actually brag about what they do for a living. My guess is that when questioned at parties, BOMEX's hamstrung investigators probably just tell everyone they're in charge of overseeing Flint's water supply, as overall, it seems like you wouldn't suffer the embarrassment of having to defend how you earn your paycheck nearly as much.

Please tell me again how this agency protects patients when you now know that their charter demands the contradictory. Go ahead... I could really use the laugh.  What isn't funny is the knowledge that scores of patients have not only been most certainly harmed by this self-serving corruption of the public trust, but that there may be an unchecked pool of potentially dangerous and highly incompetent hacks mangling medicine who are protected wholesale.

Oddly, I don't find this comforting, but it sits just fine with BOMEX, apparently.

Now, you would think that once a doctor has been reported, they'd try to remain low-key and not rock the boat, but that would require both concern and intelligence- two factors easily discarded when one is keenly aware that your actions will never see the light of public record, or face any consequences for the same. So what does a true professional do when faced with such a complaint?

Well, if you're my ex-doctor, you proceed to double down on your previously documented course of density and lash out. At this point remember, I had been informed that Mrs. Paar had recused herself as my doctor and while she was no longer my acting physician, she could make decisions regarding my care under the auspices of a 30 day period. Rarely is this clause exercised by most departing doctors, but this she did, and with all the decorum of a feral chipmunk, I might add.

As a means to keep my condition under a semblance of control, I'm "on" a wide variety of varied medications - as expected, insulin falls within that category, but I also require two different drugs to ease symptoms of  diabetic-related nerve-pain (also know as neuropathy) which when left unchecked, makes catching your spawn-hammer in a vise seem a pleasant diversion.

One of these medications is the highly addictive and tightly controlled opiate known as Oxy-Contin, which in regards to my need is (fortunately) an exceedingly low dose- hardly enough to drop a toddler, but still handy nonetheless. Typically, I can make a 30 day supply last almost three months, as for me, it's more or less an edge smoother in regards to the daily pain I experience.

The go-to workhorse in my bag of tricks is Pregobalin, more commonly known by its brand name, Lyrica. What this particular medication does better than any of the others I've tried is not only tone down the nerve misfires that cause my constant pain, but on the best days- can beat that bitch flatter than a pancake. Now for clarity, Lyrica is NOT a narcotic, nor is it generally addictive, although the packaging warnings say it can be.  And while it can have severe side effects that can cause injury or death, I've never had any. In fact, I've been taking it six years with zero issues.

Here's where it gets fun- it's also bloody expensive, typically costing $200.00 for a 30 day supply, or $2400.00 per year. For someone like myself who currently doesn't have medical insurance, it would be impossible for me to take this drug without the fact I'm on an aid program from the manufacturer who dispenses it to me for free after meeting certain guidelines.

Damn Socialism giving away free stuff, and all that. The way I receive this drug is by FedEX, and when it comes, I have to be there to sign for it, as it is a controlled substance. As you may imagine, since I'm working during the day, more often than not I miss them, and have to arrange a pick-up at one of their numerous distribution centers, usually within 24 hours of said attempted delivery.

In this last instance, the delivery happened on a Thursday, I picked it up Friday afternoon, and while it seemed the packing envelope was lighter than normal, I attributed it to the fact being that it was a 30 day supply this time around [See previous blog] rather than the standard 90. Note to self: next time, rip open the damn envelope and check. When I got home later that night, I discovered to my confusion that not only was the packaging different, so was the prescribed dose.

With a sense of slowly dawning horror, I realized that Mrs. Paar had reduced my dosage of 225mg twice daily to 100mg. Knowing that the 450mg daily dose was barely cutting it (hence the need for the Oxy as a backup) this made no sense whatsoever, and since her office was now closed until the following Monday, there was also no way to ascertain why she made the decision to change my six year protocol of treatment without either asking me or more importantly- informing me

I'm not really sure what the math comes to, but isn't that an almost 75% reduction of the painkiller that barely works? I'm no doctor, but then again neither is Mrs. Paar, if she thought that this loomed large as a good idea. So trying to remain calm, I take close to my normal dose (4 pills instead of two) and ride out the discomfort of being under-medicated, and call her office first thing Monday, where I am sadly once again connected to their human Sham-Wow, Theresa.

Actually. let's make that the Chinese-made dollar-store version of a Sham-Wow- this woman couldn't clean up after a sea-sick Tardigrade*, much less settle an issue that requires the utmost in tact and basic humanity. [*Google it. they're truly fascinating.] If ever comes the time for an award for sheer deflection while mouthing useless platitudes, Theresa will stand out from the pack by several arm lengths.

In fact, I'm pretty sure she'll set the bar so high God will bang his head on it at some point. After putting forth some impressive verbal gymnastics, Theresa informs that the reason for reducing my Lyrica was that Mrs. Paar was "concerned" about its effect on my "failing" kidneys.

Hmmm. Interesting… she's "concerned" about the long-term effects of a drug I've been taking six years with no side effects, but not at all concerned about the highly addictive narcotic she also prescribed that can allegedly cause damage? That seems odd, does it not? But it gets better. Not only does she reduce the medication with a proven track record, she neglects to prescribe new meds to take its place.

That's some sheer f**king genius going on there "doc"- not  only are you highly incompetent at delivering bad news, you apparently think that crippling pain is the gift that keeps on giving.

Come Christmas, I'm gonna get you something nice to return the favor. I'm not sure what form my appreciation should take, but I'm thinking that something along a two week sabbatical strapped to a ravenous fire-ant mound while slathered with honey would be a good place to start. Not because I'm an angry person per se, (although I have valid cause to be) it's just so that Bleach Job Barbie would have a personal insight into the pain bus she threw me under without so much as an actual thought to, or any input from, the person it would directly affect- that person being me.

As I'm dealing with the additional news that I'm going to be buying a ticket for the pain train, Theresa glibly asks "what kind of pain I'm in", as an alleged means to gauge just how much false concern she needs to project over the phone. What kind of pain am I in, you ask? Well…

I can tell you it's not "happy" pain, the kind where you see a long lost friend again, or "fun" pain like when you're having really good sex, or even "gleeful" pain where you find yourself tied to a chair while an Asian dominatrix wearing thigh boots tells you how you've been disobedient and are going to be punished the way a naughty boy should.

But perhaps I've said too much.

Getting back on track, WHO CARES WHAT KIND OF PAIN I’M IN? it's pain- it’s the reason why I take pain medication and came to see that malingering masquerader in the first place. By Odin's beard, you're more useless than Charlie Sheen at a Mormon longhouse, and if I didn't know better, I'd opine you got the job strictly on your innate ability to mimic a Pakistani call center, minus the social skills and ability to understand English, you cretinous twat.

I swear if this human Sham-wow gets any denser, they're eventually going to seal her in a 55 gallon oil drum and bury it inside a salt mine. I'm not entirely sure where idiocy like this is produced, but somebody needs to call and inform that it’s ok to "smoke them if you got them", if you catch my suggestion.

So to recap: essential and useful meds cut 75%, highly addictive medication left unmolested, and no back-up prescription prescribed- all without a single consultation or discussion with me, the actual F***ING PATIENT. And this, as Theresa so brusquely described in her only missive, is "appropriate"?

I shudder to think what "inappropriate" might portend- odds are it involves breaking three biblical laws and involves a dyslexic wombat wearing latex thigh-highs. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not my idea of a good Tuesday, and the fact I try not to judge.

As the call wraps up with no serious attempt on Theresa’s part to do something pro-active about my quickly-ratcheting pain level, I let her know that I’m going to pursue legal action, and her response is…. crickets. Smug ones. Like Pharma-douche level, is what I’m getting at here, which is oddly appropriate, given the situation. After all, why be even mildly concerned when you know you can’t and won’t be held liable for your incompetence?

I swear- if I had known of all the feuds I could have settled permanently without fear of reprisal, I would have gone to med school long before becoming an artist- the mere thought of exploiting sanctioned idiocy for my own personal gain makes me positively tingly, if truth be told.

Thus begins almost four months of a personal living hell, punctuated with bouts of relentless insomnia, weight loss, the searing blistering pain of a thousand red-hot knives stabbing me over every square inch of my body, along with the unforeseen loss of my new job as well, due to physical issues affecting my skills, helped in no small part by Mrs. Paar’s lack of concern.

 Now despite all this, there was an upside to be had: at least none of my horrendously debilitating pain would be borne by Mrs. Paar’s delicate as fairy wings conscience, which as one may surmise, did alleviate some stress off my engulfed by nerve-fire shoulders.

Zen. It’s there if you look for it. All you gotta do… is really believe.

But as we wind down to the end of my opus regarding Gypsy Faith Paar and her allegedly obvious inadequacies as both a competent doctor and part-time human being, one question looms, and it’s a nagging one that’s always bugged me: have you ever heard the phrase, “practicing barista” or even “practicing janitor”?

And if you were to ponder my hypothetical query for a mere moment further, has there ever been a time in your life where you’ve uttered the words: “That’s my best friend Sergio, he’s a “practicing” pizza delivery guy” in all seriousness? Of course not, since we all know Sergio’s a practicing male stripper, but that’s beside the point.

Hell, we even give freshmen senators the benefit of the doubt- we don’t simply infer they’re “practicing” selling their votes, we take for granted that they’re already well on their way to being professional scumbags, and give them their due credit. So why do they always say a doctor is “practicing” their craft, yet rarely (if ever) apply that term to any other discipline outside of the Law?

Now, an optimist might suggest that the term suggests both fields are ever-changing, so that there can never exist a point where you’re not “practicing” some new-found knowledge that requires incorporation into your established skill-set, but that’s undeservedly noble for my jaded world-view, and it’s also wildly inaccurate when set against all the other trades- after all, no matter what you do, there’s always something new to learn in regards to your chosen endeavor, and that never ends…

Ever. So why all the calculated humble-bragging? Please note, I did say “calculated”, for a reason.

In my experience, most (not all) doctors are supremely arrogant, the level hovering somewhere between washed-up 70’s rock star and opera diva. But they’re also keenly aware that such a persona doesn’t play well among us mere mortals, hence the pathological inference that their reason for becoming doctors was altruistically driven, a noble desire to make a difference in the amount of human suffering- something Mrs. Paar does attempt, but much like her alleged bedside manner, can’t really seem to get the hang of, no matter how many times she may “practice” it.

The inherent cynicism I possess dryly notes that when it comes right down to the brass tacks, the majority of anguish these specific doctors ease up is mainly the type that affects their bank account- no more, no less. No matter whether they’re good or bad, concerned or not, the one thing that they always regard long before their patients is the money and the title- the rest is extraneous.

Need proof? Just look at Mrs. Paars response to me after she informed me I was “dying before her eyes”- there was no follow-up advice, no concern in how I would take the news, no, she immediately let me know that payment was still expected, but at least it would be “discounted”, bless her frigid little heart. Remember, she did work her peroxide-fueled ass off for almost six minutes, and that’s what I relly needed to focus on at that moment… her future BMW payment.

Now I know what you’re thinking:

“Gee all you’ve really done is point out over this four story arc is that at worst, she’s allegedly unprofessional, possibly petty, and may share some of the characteristics of the iceberg that took out the Titanic, but just when, oh great and terrible Artbitch, are you going to highlight her so-called “incompetence”?”

You ask. I deliver, and it’s just shy of awesomely epic, if I do say so myself.
And I do. And I shall. Repeatedly.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally managed to secure an appointment with a new GP and as immediately bring their assistant up to speed with a short (for me, anyway) recapping of the events that had transpired. To say they were incredulous would be under-selling it by miles, but even so, they take down all my info, including the lab tests Mrs. Paar supposedly consulted in making her assessment of my imminent demise.

Leaving so she could brief my soon-to-be doctor when he gets done with the patient before me, I’m there for roughly 15 minutes or so wondering whom it was that decided that all the consultation rooms in AZ had to be painted beige and decked out with mass-produced southwest posters depicting pottery and Navajo blankets.

Seriously. Is there a committee or something I don’t know about?
A question for another time, I guess.

When my new doctor comes in, two things strike immediate: this dude is tall, and he looks pissed. If this were the “Bachelorette”, not only would I have not been given a rose, it looks as if my parting gift would have been jammed down my throat sideways using my own snapped-off legs to do so. Great. I’m off to a fine start and I haven’t even gotten to the “hello, I’m Wayne” part, which let’s be honest- is typically where it usually starts going south for me.

Holding my lab tests in his hand he says, and I’m paraphrasing here:

“Hi, I’m Doctor  *****- first, I’m reestablishing your pain protocols immediately, as there was no medical need to reduce them in the first place, and second- you’re not dying. Ok, you are… but at pretty much the same rate as the rest of us, I’m happy to say.

Also, your kidneys and liver are not, I repeat, NOT in failure- your kidney numbers are at 51, failure numbers are around 10, and across the board, these are the numbers I’d expect to see in a diabetic man your age. If anything, your labs signify a slight amount of tweaking is required, but not much else. As for your liver…. well, there’s nothing in these recent labs that indicate any other issue than what I’d expect to see.”

Wait a minute. Hold the phone. WTF? Are you telling me that after four months of sheer fucking physical and mental anguish, that other than pain that can be eventually medicated down, I’m essentially fine?

[inner monologue]
Ok, get a grip… you will not, I repeat, NOT get in your car, stop off at your storage unit, pick up your lucky chainsaw with matching splattering smock and go pay Mrs. Paar a visit at her office. Why?

Well, first- because violence isn’t the answer, second- because if I plan this, the truly ugly word
“pre-mediated” gets tossed around the courtroom, and third- my smock is still at the cleaners, and they’ve been asking way too many questions lately. And besides… it’s Monday, and we have a heavy week ahead- it’s much too busy to have to bother with picking up some much-needed, and ultimately necessary, quicklime. Not to mention establishing a believable alibi on top of it all.

In the end, it all comes down to free time, and sadly, I’m just swamped.

“In fact,” says my newest BFF, “there’s not only no current notation in your records regarding an issue with your liver, none of these labs has any recent bearing on your liver health at all- I have no idea how she even came to this conclusion, as it would be like me having to go to an event in California, and deciding to park my car in New York.”

[Inner monologue. Again.]
Hmmm. You know, if I drove pretty fast with the windows rolled down, I’m pretty sure my smock would be mostly dry by the time I got there….

Nonono- this isn’t a productive train of thought, and I have to approach this the way a Creative like myself should- with an artistic bent. Normally, that would involve running scenarios through my psyche wherein I devise karmic balance utilizing that age-old gambit of dyspeptic wombats, but I’ve been told that in the long run, they eat way too much and that they’re terrible conversationalists.

Sigh. C'est la vie.

So. Not only has bleach-brained Barbie caused me great emotional distress by leading me to believe that I'm dying, not only has she help advance physical pain which has severely impacted my life, she's also managed with all her years of alleged dark side training to aim her Death Star at my metaphorical Alderran and miss not by inches, but by light-years, hitting the totally innocent Tattooine instead, by way of pop culture example.

Damn Sith Lords. Always screwing up the weekend.

But to quote the human Sham-Wow, she: "found the care and treatment provided by Dr. Paar to be appropriate.", and therefore, I apparently have no right to be upset, or expect humanistic reparation for my suffering and emotional distress.

So what's an angry, vengeful, and obviously completely justified Artbitch to do?

I can't find a lawyer to take my complaint to its logical zenith, although all those I contacted agreed (rather directly) that she needed to be sued out of existence. It’s also obvious her ass-covering  bosses could care less if Mrs. Paar maims somebody as evidenced by their silence, and only God knows if BOMEX will do the job it claims to do.* [*Allegedly]

Granted, there's a ton of vigilante scenarios manifesting, most of which end with the punch line
"Goodbye, Mr. Bond", but as I stated earlier, violence isn't the answer- although the version involving Wile E. Coyote and his arsenal of ACME products should be. The thought of my ex-doctor being flattened by a giant anvil falling from the sky as she’s attempting to tell the Roadrunner he’s dying does strike as funny, but in the end, is essentially pointless.

After all, she'd just re-inflate her head with an air-pump, and I'd be right back where I started- angry and feeling powerless against a rigged system.

But that feeling is nothing but ether and smoke- I can do something, and that's spread the word about this [allegedly] uncaring, unqualified, unethical and utterly soulless practitioner, and thanks to the vast lands of the Internet, I not only can do this once, I can do it FOREVER. While I sleep. Bathe. Take in a Milla Jovovich movie. Or anything else I choose to do, 24/7. That's the beauty of the digital age- there will never not be a time where this series of screeds doesn’t pop up in regards to her name or whatever unfortunate practice hires her.

I may not have taken her metaphorically out, but I have left a wound that will never heal, and that's almost good enough for me. Plus, it's gonna itch like crazy, so that's just extra icing on the cupcake of barbed bitterness. Misdiagnosis. Mental torture. Misery. And for the privilege of being subjected to all of this dross, you get to pay exorbitantly, and they get to avert responsibility.* [*Allegedly]

That kids, is what us cynics like to call one f***ed-up deck of cards.

But there is an addendum I'd like to point out to both Mrs. Paar and her alleged Renfield if they're reading this right now.* [*They very well may be, since I send them emails regarding these postings, because at my core, I am a people person, and after all.. who doesn’t like seeing their name in print?]

The grand total of people who've read [until now] is in the thousands, and I've personally responded to over 250 emails- granted, that's not anywhere near Kate Upton numbers, but it's still pretty damn significant nonetheless. At the very least, there are now scores of people who will at least hopefully reconsider going to her, or the practice that puzzlingly keeps her around, despite easily searchable complaints.

Google. Apparently, it's just not for downloading naked Halle Berry photos and seeing how truly important you aren't. Not that I've ever checked, as that's just beyond self- absorbed, and as we all know, I hardly ever talk about me. And I have no idea where all those pictures of Halle Berry on my laptop came from- it’s a mystery. One that sadly, will never be solved. Scooby- Doo and the gang be damned.

So, I'm done. That's it. I've purged my soul and more importantly, my life of this alleged peroxided parasite, and that's the truly healthy part. But even better, I took a cue from my former doctor, and now know that all I've written wasn't only necessary...

It was appropriate.

"The mistakes of doctors are innumerable. They err as a rule out of optimism as to the treatment, and pessimism as to the outcome.” - Marcel Proust, Sodom and Gomorrah

“Shabelsky: Doctors are the same as lawyers, the sole difference being that lawyers only rob you, but doctors rob you and kill you too...” - Anton Chekov, Ivanov