Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Sometimes, You Can't Win"

“Earl’s not going to the lecture.”

This announcement was proclaimed, more loudly than necessary in my opinion, by one of the facilitators at the cardiac rehab program I attend named Lauren. The program isn’t named Lauren, the facilitator is. But you probably figured that out for yourself. Sorry for the redundancy.

Here’s the thing. Every post-heart surgery person is required to attend a rehab program – I prefer saying “rehab” rather than “cardiac rehab”; it sounds more “Hollywood” – for thirty-six sessions, which run three times a week. This means that, to complete the program, you have to go for twelve weeks, though, in reality, it’s longer, because the program closes down on Bank Holidays. I’m not actually sure why that is. Maybe somewhere in the building there’s a Blood Bank.

Along with the cardio-vascular rehabilitational activities, the program also includes a series of lectures, structured to be of particular interest to us as a result of, what they call in rehab, our “event.” It sounds like a rock concert. Only the headliner’s a surgeon and the audience is attached to a heart-lung machine.

Among the lecture topics are: “Anatomy and Physiology of Heart Disease”, “Cholesterol – the Silent Killer”, “Super-Foods And The Foods That Will Clog Up Your Arteries And Kill You”, and “Know Your Life-Saving Medications.” Many of these lectures have caused me to leave them more fearful of my survival than when I went in.

They were probably just being thorough.

There are eight of these inspirational lectures in all. This means that, if you attend the rehab program for, roughly, twelve weeks, by the ninth week, you will notice the lecture topics cycling around for a second time.

I am currently in my ninth week of rehab. Hearing that the day’s lecture topic was: “Stress Management – And You Better Manage It, Or Else”, I reported that I would not be attending, as I had already enjoyed that lecture. From this announcement came Lauren’s “Earl’s not going to the lecture.”

Blasted out to the entire room.

I was instantly mortified. I imagined what my fellow rehabbers were thinking:

“Who does he think he is?”

“Too good for the lectures, eh?”

“ Mr. ‘Big Shot.’ Too busy to attend a ‘Stress Management’ lecture. That’s what the lecture’s about, Jerk Face.”

I immediately jumped in to explain.

“Earl’s already been to that lecture”, I announced, as loudly as Lauren had pronounced, “Earl’s not going to the lecture” and possibly louder.

To her credit, Lauren amended her pronouncement, saying, “He’s right. He already attended that lecture.”

Though it was in a noticeably quieter voice.


From a literal standpoint, “Earl’s not going to the lecture” is factually correct. I wasn’t going the lecture. Lauren had not said anything wrong. As far as it went. It just didn’t go far enough. Her pronouncement, “Earl’s not going to the lecture” lacked contextual completeness, leaving those who heard it with an incorrect impression of who I am.

I don’t skip lectures. I just don’t go back to lectures I have already attended.

You see the difference? It’s a big one.

For a stickler.

Sadly, I had been forced into a “lose-lose” situation.

I had corrected the record, so people wouldn’t think I was too good to attend the lectures, and by so doing, I had revealed myself as a stickler.

I hate Lauren.

(Secret: No, I don't.)
In answer to a recent commenter, the distinctive laugh on "Taxi's" laugh track belongs to one of "Taxi's" creators, Jim Brooks. "Ah-ah-ah." I heard once that he used it to prime to live studio audience into laughter. That's why it generally comes before the audience's laugh. It's also what allows you to hear it so distinctly.

Keep the questions coming. Sometimes, I actually know the answers.

1 comment:

Brian Scully said...

I don't know, Earl, sounds like it was a pretty stressful situation there... maybe you should go to the lecture.