INSECTS


            Some three millennia or more back in time someone wrote: “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.” Who is godly? Is your physician? Your lawyer? Your financial advisor? Your teacher, or professor? How about your pastor, preacher, or priest?

            Kathi, my late wife was spotting. She had been through menopause. She had discussed this with close friends and felt she shouldn’t worry. It continued and eventually I talked to a knowledgeable friend who insisted she should see her doctor. She then went to her family doctor. He told her she had cervical cancer. He sent her to a gynecologist. The gynecologist sent her to a cancer doctor. This “specialist” wanted her to take thirty radium treatments over a six week period. I asked what the result to that would be. He said, “thirty percent of our patients are still alive after five years.”

            A young friend, while we were driving down the road, received a call from the school where his son was in the third grade. His son had been suspended for cussing his teacher. Turned out it was worse than that; he had told her to perform oral sex on him but he used the vernacular: he told her to “.... .. ....” (You fill in the blanks.).Shocked? So was I. I wondered how they could suspend a child when Indiana law says he must be a student until he is 16 years of age. At the school I asked the women behind the counter and the principal if there was a law against spanking. There is none. I wondered why the child wasn’t spanked instead of suspended. I got no answer.

            Since then I have thought about it. I wonder if I have discovered the answer: The authorities at the school spank a child; the wrong child. His parents resent someone spanking their child. They decide to sue. They get a lawyer, who sees a chance to make some easy money, and sues the school corporation which is insured. The insurance company has deep pockets. Insurance companies usually settle rather than go to court as it is cheaper to settle than it is to fight the case which they will likely lose anyway. (Juries usually have more sympathy for citizens than they do for wealthy insurance companies.) What is the result of all this? The school corporations learn not to spank. Notice please that the decision not to spank wasn’t made for the good of the child but for financial considerations. The law says the child must go to school and the parents pay taxes to support the school corporation but the child is kicked out of school for a week and any spanking is left up to the parents. The parents are the only ones that don’t get their money’s worth.

            How about my late wife? The truth is that my wife’s doctor correctly diagnosed the cancer and he could have treated her. It may come as a surprise to you but in my youth that is what would have happened. But, of course, that was the days when doctors still made house calls and before specialization. (I yet recall a conversation back then when I was told specialization was where the money was.) Your family doctor took care of everything except surgery.

           I am a die-hard Chicago Cub fan. I remember Ferguson Jenkins winning 20 or more games for the cubs for six straight seasons. Of course then you had a 4 starting pitcher rotation instead of the 5 pitcher rotation of today. I still remember opening the local paper to the sports page, when I was a boy, and reading that Bob Feller had just pitched his 10th one-hitter. He ended up with 12 along with 3 no hitters. He was one of “The Big Four” along with Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, and Mike Garcia; a four pitcher rotation.

           Now we have a five pitcher rotation; i.e. five starting pitchers along with long relievers, set-up men and closers: specialists. God help us. I cringe when it’s the late innings of a close game, the cubs are up by one and the manager comes out of the dugout and walks to the mound. There goes my pitcher. You see its near the end of the game and the pitcher who started and has pitched seven plus innings and only given up two runs, is right handed and the next batter is left handed. Can’t have that. So the pitcher is taken out and replaced by a left handed relief pitcher to face this left handed batter. You see, you have to play the percentages; left handed batters have a harder time hitting left handed pitchers, and, anyway the starter has thrown a hundred pitches and we must get him out of there. Who was that pitcher who pitched and won a double header years ago? I guess we have gotten smarter these days!

           Have you ever been in a floating crap game? Do you want to lose your money in a hurry? Get in a crap game and play nothing but the odds. After a shooter or two gets hot and makes several straight passes you’ll be able to go home broke in a hurry. When you have a pitcher in a game and he has pitched several innings you know what you have got. Bring in a reliever and you don’t know what you’ll get. It could be his best day or his worse day or something in between. The only wise thing to do is stay with what you have but we certainly can’t do that; we have to play the odds, we must specialize. So we bring in a new pitcher, he loads the bases, we change pitchers again and this next one gives up a grand-slam home run.

           Someone named Robert A Heilein said:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

 

Do you ascribe to specialization? Myself, I prefer to be a human being, who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly. Do you somehow think it is better to live as an INSECT?