Commentary by Dr. Ludwig "Needles" von Quirk, NuTH0uSe Chief of Staph

Attention, all Nutcases. The caretakers of this merry institution have, at last, appointed a professional administrator to personally oversee your care. The executive search committee discovered me - Dr. Ludwig "Needles" von Quirk - quietly closing a small malpractice in another state, burning files and mumbling rants about a pending hearing before a medical review board. They considered themselves fortunate to find a practitioner with my mail order credentials who was anxious to relocate as soon as possible. They doubted they could afford me but the contract negotiations took mere seconds. The only perks I demanded were a pouch of opium, an unregistered handgun and a small sheep dressed in women's clothing - all of which were readily available in the inmates' lost-and-found bin.

So, I'm here and I'm in charge.

First, let me assure you that I am committed, too. I'm committed to upholding the same low standards that have kept this madhouse operating barely within budget for years.

That's not to say there will not be changes around here. Change scares people. Hell, I scare people. Yet I'm sure that, over time, any trepidation you feel about me will be overcome - most likely by a sense of uncontrollable angst.

Think of me, not as your chief administrator, but as a paternal figure in your home away from home. For I certainly think of you as I do my own children - the worthless brats, always wanting something.

You may hear rumors about my past - none of which are true, except for any I have instructed my moles among you to disseminate. For example, I have never "lost" a patient. Any patient under my care reported missing was, I assure you, intentionally misplaced.

We'll have more opportunities to chat. In the meantime, think happy thoughts - and know that I am watching. Always watching,


Sometimes, it's just a matter of size

Misdiagnosis is a hazard of my profession. So I commit an occasional oopsie. I can live with that. Yet a story about one of my blunders has been circulating among you rabble and stirring up discontent faster than our nurses can pass out free pharmaceutical samples. So, I think it would be reassuring for you Nutcases to hear me set the record askew about what happened.

After a careful examination and failed attempts at other possible remedies such as exercise and diet, I informed a patient complaining of migraine headaches only one likely, though extreme, cure might work - castration. He failed to understand the casual connection, though I admit I don't quite get it myself. Yet I assured him several studies indicated a high percentage of positive results and reminded him just who had the diploma from night medical school. Out of pain and desperation, he submitted to the surgery.

The operation, I am proud to say, was a success. But the ingrate returned to complain of relentless depression that he attributed to his obsessing over the loss of his manhood.

I suggested a scalpel free approach. I referred him to my tailor. "Let him give you a whole new look, at my expense," I offered. "To look good is to feel good, you know."

He agreed.

To his amazement, the tailor merely looked him over and promised that his new suit would be ready within a week.

"Don't you need to take my measurements," my patient asked.

"I know your measurements just by looking at you," the tailor explained. "You wear shirts with a 16-inch neck, size 34 underwear, size 34 pants with a 32-inch in-seam, size 9 shoes and the same size socks."

"That's incredible! You got everything right except the underwear size. I wear a 32, not a 34."

The tailor scanned him again. "Hmmmm, no. You are mistaken. You wear size 34 underwear."

"Hey, listen. I've bought underwear for myself for years. I know that I am a 32."

"That's impossible," the tailor said. "If you wore size 32 underwear, it would put too much pressure on your groin. You would suffer from terrible migraine headaches."