Being sensitive to humor is a tricky business; there is always a way out for the humorist -- "It was just a joke." However, associating Jews with hypochondria risks pathologizing Jews for taking their pain, trauma, and fears seriously.
I don't mind placating my son on small matters. I still let him suck on a pacifier when he goes to bed. If he wants a Band-Aid for a mosquito bite, I'll allow him that. He's going to spend a long time in a harsh world.
Every bump and bruise, every ache, and every extra flutter of my heart (I get anxious fairly easily) seems to merit a text to my oncologist, who luckily always responds and calms me down. But am I right to over-worry about my health after under-worrying and getting such a scary diagnosis?
Who cannot applaud Angelina Jolie for going public with her medical issues and her decision to have a double mastectomy after learning she carried a genetic mutation that could dramatically increase her odds of breast and ovarian cancer?
One night after Larry David and I both had bad shows, we went back to his apartment to give each other a comic pep talk, which consisted of who could feel less doomed by finding the most fault with the audience and who had the worst spot.
A physician will consider many variables such as a person's age, past history, associated medical problems and symptoms. The Internet is impersonal and does not currently take these other factors into account.
As a physician, I fear missing a serious illness in somebody who happens to be hypochondriacal. The best approach has been to take complaints seriously, do a complete history and physical, and allow plenty of time for discussion.