The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

Meaninglessness & CNN

Well, now I'm distracted again. Saturday I was trucking right along, doing what I usually do, namely contemplate the meaninglessness of existence. That is, I was thinking how I was OK with the meaninglessness of existence as long as it (the existence) continued unabated and without any serious dips in quality. And then CNN reports that 34.6 pounds of possibly weapons-grade uranium was found in a Turkish taxi.

You'd think someone out there WANTS us to worry, wouldn't you?
34.6 pounds of U-235 here, 34.6 pounds of U-235 there, & pretty soon, holy crap, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

As many of you know I have a naturally distractible constitution. I take pills for it and nice doctors help me find ways to cope with irrational anxieties and fears BUT THIS ISN'T ONE OF THE IRRATIONAL ONES.

So I am coping away anyhow, ha, ha, thinking about taxi driving. There's nothing like a cab story to make me think of my own old cab driving days.

I drove for one of Seattle's big taxi companies back in the eighties when cab driving in Seattle sucked. I don't like to say the name of the cab company 'cause they still might have hard feelings about it all, but their cabs were green.

In those days I was even crazier than I am now and the dispatchers knew it so they didn't bother me too much. They let me sleep in my cab all I wanted and gave most of the good business to the one or two sane drivers. But sometimes the dispatchers would wake me up, if they had something that really seemed urgent, because they knew that I was kind of geeky and that on account of that they could trust me to find most any address.

So one day when I was up in North Seattle I was told over the radio to go to Stevens hospital in Edmonds and "get the package." Even though I'd never been to Stevens, the dispatcher was sure that I could find it. It was wonderful to inspire such confidence and I drove out there glowing with pride for being so useful.

I wondered what it would be this time. Once it had been a cornea. I had wondered what the recipient would say if he/she knew that the cab driver that brought it to the hospital was a homeless man who couldn't, himself, afford cab fare. Sometimes I carried blood samples for AIDS testing. Once it was a mystery organ in an ice chest. The most important package I ever hauled was a heart monitor that I drove 100 miles to where it was needed for a child's surgery.

I loved the hospital package runs. Not only was I performing a valuable and possibly life-saving service, but also vouchers paid for the trips in advance and the passengers never started an argument.

Well, the package at Stevens turned out to be a bag of excrement bound for the Swedish Hospital pharmacy.

Now, I had enough sense to ask the people sending it what the Swedish Hospital needed with a bag of excrement. I mean, couldn't they provide their own, etc. But I was firmly told that the Swedish Hospital pharmacy would know what to do with it, and not to worry myself about it. So I shut up and took the bag and my voucher and headed south.

I made good time, so I was fairly happy when I set the bag on the counter at Swedish and announced, "package from Stevens." Then the pharmacist opened the package, looked in, and shouted at me, "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SH*T??!!

Damn my hide. I told him, "That, the hell, is exactly what that is." Then I tried to settle him by telling him, not to worry, it was paid for.

Speaking of not worrying ... of course any geek could tell you instantly that there was no way that could have been 34.6 pounds of U-235 in that Turkish cab, or the stuff would've been too hot to handle. Literally.

Now I wonder, why did they say it might have been bound for Iraq, when all the signs were it was going to Syria? It was found near the Syrian border. You don't have to go through Syria to get to Iraq from Turkey.

You'd think someone out there WANTS us to worry, wouldn't you?

© Dr. Wes Browning:
2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

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