"I would trust citizen journalism as much as I would trust citizen surgery." -Morley Safer, in a speech after receiving the Fred Friendly first amendment award from Quinnipiac University
Well hi there, Mister Rhyskear, nice to meet you! I'm Ms. Ratchett, I'm the head administrator, a position I share with about a hundred other self-appointed men and women, here at the Greater Midwestern Citizen's Generalizated Hospital! Let me show you around!
I'm sure after you meet a few of our "doctors" (one of the stipulations of a recent out-of-court settlement requires that "employees" of the hospital put these terms, as well as "nurses," "medicine," and "treatment," amongst others, when used in reference to hospital "employees" and "services," in scare quotes - I won't bore you with the details of that one, future-"patient") you'll be ready to give up the ghost of that boring, old, conventional, and may I say really old treatment you're used to, so that you can trust us with the health of all your parts, inside and out!
Actually, the idea that most of your parts are "inside" is just something trained doctors have spoon-fed you for so long that you've come to believe it's true! Who would have thunk!
While we make our way through the lobby - ignore the pop-ups, they're just part of our current pay structure - let me tell you a bit more about what we do here! By freeing ourselves of the ridiculous impediments to practicing medicine that have held society back for centuries, we've been able to expand coverage in exciting new ways! Our "staff" spend literally hours studying doctor programs, both in their full, televised formats, as well as in "good-parts" compilations on YouTube and Hulu, before ever stepping foot in our facility.
At that point, of course, we basically let them do whatever they please, but you'll find that the successful ones, the ones that actually "treat" "patients," are almost as well-informed as their TV-counterparts! And plenty of the less naturally gifted "doctors" spend enough time shadowing the big men on campus (that's another of our innovations - we call this place a "campus" - isn't that fun? Totally original idea. Promise.) that they end up sounding and looking almost exactly the same, in the end!
Right now we're passing by our ear nose and throat division; we call it the Echo Chamber, or the E.C. for short. Why? You know, come to think of it, I'm not sure! I googled it once, and I think maybe Mr. Echo was our first, no a major, no just the biggest recent donor? Or else that was the name of the American Indian tribe that used to live on this land.
Anyway, we're very proud of the E.C. - "doctor" Silverman has used the resources there to develop an absolutely revolutionary technique to attune your hearing. He can get it to a level previously not thought possible in our species, one where you'll be able to hear a hundred different voices, each with their own "unique" intonation, word-order, and lisps, for each opinion you were used to hearing before the procedure. It's a little daunting at first, but don't worry, you'll get used to it; after all, they're all saying the same thing.
Look to your left and you'll see our Lolcatz division, entirely devoted to interpreting the speech of our feline friends. It's a relatively new specialty, but we're proud to say that we've already discovered that cats, apparently, love cheeseburgers. And using "z" when they mean "s." Fascinating stuff.
Did you see - oh- there he goes around the corner - did you catch him? Lucky you - he doesn't actually come in all that often. That's "doctor" darkwizardsithlord, one of our most esteemed "colleagues." The work he can do from the basement of his parents' home is just astounding.
He once successfully attached the fate of the auto industry to Bristol Palin's pediatric records and managed to keep it from dying on the table with a series of transfusions from next season's Grey's Anatomy scripts. Now this is just a rumor - before my time, you understand - but I've heard that he successfully predicted the exact contours of Miley Cyrus' hipbone months before the Annie Leibovitz pictures. I know, it left me speechless, too.
It's not just our "doctors" that make Citizens Generalizated special, though. Our machinery is top-of-the-line! Our aggregator can analyze case-histories from as far away as Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. Did you know that we "operated" on two different sets of conjoined twins just this month? One of them (should I say two?) was all the way from India! Or maybe it was Pakistan. Uzbekistan? One of those over-there countries. We also "oversaw" four face transplants. Our technology is so up-to-the-minute that we have the capability to take credit for literally anything happening in the world of medicine.
But it's about more than just our "qualifications," it's about how much we care. Most of the "doctors" "working" here have given all the "skills" they have, as well as their social lives, paying jobs, and even their own health, just to have the privilege of seeing their names on our roster.
"Doctor" Pinky spends so much time in our "labs" (funded by a generous donation from the Wiki group) that his pigment has completely stopped functioning. He can't even go outside anymore without breaking into a sweaty frenzy, foaming at the mouth, and getting a really, really bad sunburn. Oh, your concern is very sweet, but don't worry about him - he found out on WebMD that he probably has adult-onset albinism, or maybe a slight case of rickets.
So can we look forward to your patronage here at Citizen's Generelizated, Mister Rhyskear? No? Well I'm sorry to hear that you're choosing a health-care system that single-handedly perpetrated 9/11 just for the insurance benefits over our esteemed...wait, sorry, I'm getting a page...it says here that you no longer have another option in health care. Isn't that great? The power of democracy in action, if you ask me. So when will you be checking in?
Follow Jilly Gagnon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jillygagnon