Unlike the accounts-payable folks at Medicare — who shelled out something on the order of $100 million over the past decade to pay fraudulent claims bearing the ID numbers of dead physicians — the vast MinnPost public knows a dead doctor when it sees one.
And in its collective wisdom it chose, as the best way to tell if your doctor is dead, the two entries (from Betsy Hodges and Michael Norman) that your genial host took it upon himself to combine into one.
The winning submission, which garners each entrant a vividly vivacious MinnPost T-shirt, was:
You can tell your doctor is dead if his hands are reeeaaally cold during that cough test.
I know my doctor isn’t dead when I can tell the difference between her, the stirrups, and the speculum.
At this point in the proceedings your genial host habitually throws down next week’s challenge. Instead, however, like the plowman of yore, today your genial host homeward plods his weary way, and leaves the world to darkness.
This was the last Verse or Worse.
Your genial host hastens to assure conspiracy theorists that the closing of this peculiar chapter in the history of world literature is unrelated to the financially risky and completely unauthorized decision he made last week, combining those two contest submissions into one and promising to award two excessively victorious MinnPost T-shirts if (as indeed occurred) the resulting entry turned out to be the winner.
No, his superiors were less interested in that than in the sad fact that the number of MinnPosterites plodding alongside your genial host week after week was far less than the number of dead doctors bilking Medicare.
So this Thursday at 5:01 p.m., your genial host won’t be sorting through the week’s contest submissions, having entered MinnPost’s giant refrigerated waiting room, its giant presidential-campaign-coverage headquarters, its giant combination file room and mausoleum, etc.
Instead, he’ll be home, happily picking candy out of a box with his toes.
In the words of John Denver: It’s goodbye again. See you out there on the fringe.