Sunday, September 20, 2015

Failure to Take the Scenario Seriously

"The medical school at the huge London hospital where I now work uses role-playing . . . to select the doctors of the future. The nervous candidates must show their ability to break bad news by telling an actor that their cat has just been run over by a car. Failure to take the scenario seriously, I am told, results in immediate rejection."

I am your doctor of the future today. 
How are you feeling this yesterday evening?
I am not a counsellor but a huntsman,
And the wilderness of the future's my woods.

What big pets you have! What big houses you have!
Yes, you got it. Red Riding Hood ate the wolf.
All along she was the huntsman, he hunted.
Reverse he and she if you like, no matter.

It's the doctor, who's made of ticky-tacky,
In the boxes, little boxes, and they're all
Just as mean as me in violent ganglands
Of late nineties Moscow. The nineties tried it,

And died trying. Boasts aside, no one captures
The zeitgeist, which is the haunt of the future.
We absorb the body blows as the blown waves
Absorb the winds of change. It's all wilderness.

That's why your cat was run over by a car.
What hadn't happened, ever, became what had,
And that was the signature of the future
Autographing the tragedy of your past.

I'm so sorry. Your approach 
Was truly original.
But doctoring's not for you.
The future changes the past,
Resistlessly and always,
And that's all we ever know
Of change or beauty or death.

What pompous jerks you people are. I'd be glad
If your cat was dead not half alive instead.

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