The Accomplishment Syndrome
By Gene Goldfarb
I found out today that Joe
has a brother who’s a doctor.
I quickly imagine him to be
a little smarter, a little taller,
a little leaner than Joe,
with a fixed, calm stare,
steely eyes focused on the distant,
and saying things like:
I venture that is a distinct possibility.
He would hold a pipe by the bowl
and tamp down the cherry blend
tobacco with his pipe-holding thumb,
sucking on the stem, but never
actually smoking, and he’d say in a
low voice: Nasty habit, you know!
He would wear a white lab coat
with his name and hospital
affiliation stitched on in blue.
He would wear it on the floor,
in the hospital cafeteria when
dining, especially alone, he’d
wear it in the parking lot when
getting into his car, and even at the
concert, museums, and the ballpark,
he’d wear it at home, every room.
And when he’d go to bed at night,
he’d take it off and fold it neatly
over the back of a chair.
He’s a doctor after all,
not a lunatic.