Home / General / No one would attend them if I could.

No one would attend them if I could.


SEK is meeting with a FORMER STUDENT at his apartment complex to discuss a letter of recommendation.  Because SEK’s porch occupies his office while his complex paints his porch, FORMER STUDENT and SEK decide to take advantage of the weather and discuss medical applications out by the pool.

SEK: Med school won’t be easy blah blah blah you need to demonstrate your work ethic blah blah bl—


SEK: I recognize that voice.

Indeed he does.  Three POLICE CARS pull up next to the pool, followed by a FIRE TRUCK and an AMBULANCE.  He and his student watch as the POLICE rush into an upstairs apartment while the FIREFIGHTERS remain by the ground with a stretcher.

FORMER STUDENT: That happen a lot here?

SEK: First time since I’ve moved in.  Wonder what happened?

A group of CHILDREN approach the FIREFIGHTERS down by the stairs for autographs.  SEK didn’t know FIREFIGHTERS gave out autographs.

SEK: I didn’t know firefighters gave out autographs.

The FIREFIGHTERS each take out a business card, autograph the back, and hand them to the CHILDREN.  The CHILDREN exit.

SEK: But they obviously do.

The FIREFIGHTERS grab the strecher and carry it up the stairs.  SEK and his former student sit transfixed.  More POLICE begin to mull about the bottom of the stairs.  Ten minutes pass.  Suddenly, the door of the apartment slams open and the FIREFIGHTERS carry the stretcher back down.  On it is a WOMAN HANDCUFFED TO THE STRETCHER.


That is all SEK and FORMER STUDENT can hear from their position.  The POLICE and FIREFIGHTERS escort her to an ambulance, and as quickly as they all arrived, they’re gone.

FORMER STUDENT: What just happened?

SEK: I have no clue.

FORMER STUDENT: But it did.  We just saw that.

SEK: That we did.

FORMER STUDENT: You just can’t hold “normal” office hours, can you?

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  • DocAmazing

    I think the lady ran out of her anticonjunction medication.

    • Bill Murray

      or does she have conjunctivitis? That pink eye is contagious and will have us all being red in no time

    • timb

      for the win

  • Linnaeus

    I like how you write this post as if it’s a screenplay.

    • SEK

      I love writing screenplays, though. If I had my druthers, everything I write would either be a screenplay or a Zork parody.

      • Linnaeus

        The Zork parody is pretty funny, I gotta say.

        • SEK

          Like all great comedy, it came from a place of great pain: I’m a Jew AND a Mets fan AND was writing a dissertation. (That said, the BoingBoing link netted me about $700 in Amazon money, which essentially funded my purchases for that chapter and the next, so if it was pain, it was well, well worth it.)

      • Njorl

        “I don’t know which was more disturbing, his description of the inner core reincarnated souls’ sex orgy, or the fact that the whole thing was written in screenplay format. ” – Jose Chung

    • timb

      I thought it read as a moment from HHGTG

  • ADM

    I don’t understand your posts, SEK. Not trying to be a jerk or anything – I honestly don’t get your stuff.

    But that link about buying kitty litter at 4am was very funny.

    • SEK

      My office hours have tended to be more eventful than those of the average professor, and my student made a funny was the only point of this. I suppose I should’ve included that link in the original post, but it seems gratuitous at this point. (Seriously, Google “professor office sex” and you’ll see what I mean.)

      • SEK

        (I added the link, which should help with confusion.)

      • ADM

        So these are true stories? Not some kind of 11-dimensional metaphors for something or other?

        Guess seeing some woman handcuffed to a stretcher taken away by celebrity-firefighters would be a curious sight.

        Was it anything like this?


        • SEK

          I can’t watch Youtube on my laptop, and my desktop’s in my office/porch and inaccessible, so I don’t know if it was anything like that … but yes, these are all true stories. I always assume people are aware that despite basically being your average academic shut-in, I manage to live an improbable life, but that’s probably not the best assumption.

  • kingtoots

    An ex-paramedic I knew said that 80% of the cases he was called on were psychiatric in nature. That’s why he quit. He thought he would be johnny and roy as the day is long and all he ended up doing was trying to convince people not to hurt themselves usually with the most inefficient thing possible (shoes, butter knives).

    Because of the low energy and the fact that cops were there and that someone without any apparent injury was handcuffed on a stretcher, it sounds like these guys got a call (domestic disturbance) about someone trying to hurt themselves.

    • SEK

      That was actually my guess, too. I tried to include FORMER STUDENT’s punchline without mocking the poor woman on the stretcher, as the former was the point of the post, but wonder whether I didn’t miss the mark.

      • kingtoots

        It sounded as though you were kind of shocked at the reaction of the cops and firemen. The last thing that these guys like to do are these kind of call outs. They are obliged to do these things but the likelihood of someone actually hurting themselves is vanishingly small but they have to be there anyway. Don’t know why there were so many cops but that is usually decided by the guys back at dispatch. As with most things in the modern world decisions are guided by obscure by-laws that usually don’t make any sense because they are concerned about the 99 percentile event.

        As for the autographs, I don’t know any guys who do this but it isn’t totally unforeseen given the general climate surrounding cops and firefighters after 911. I guess they can class it under community outreach.

        Don’t get me wrong, I liked the story and it was well told.

    • Halloween Jack

      I know a nurse who completely burned out on psych work for about the same reason. Attempted suicides and cutters would get admitted to her unit, get on their meds, and immediately go into denial about what they’d done, and take it out on the staff. Then they’d go home, stop taking their meds, and the whole cycle would repeat.

  • Only half-kidding: Thought it might have been this grim & sad event.

    (I’d only seen the headline & didn’t know the details or location beyond somewhere in Southern Calif.)

    • SEK

      Like a lowly professor could afford to live in Long Beach … and I’m also glad that wasn’t what it was. I taught literary journalism for five years and have law enforcement contacts — you have to teach kids how to “work the blotter” — but I haven’t pulled out anything. All of which is only to say, I do feel guilty for trying to squeeze my former student’s punchline into what’s a tragedy of some sort. I was aiming for the absurdity but might’ve missed the heart of it.

      • Andrew R.

        For what it’s worth, Scott, I didn’t get any sense at all that the amusement was at the expense of the woman taken out on the stretcher.

        Seriously, please please please keep posting your zany antics. The posts make me wish that I were a non-tenure-track lecturer in SoCal than here in Unnamed Southern State.

        (And, more generally, you’ve got more clever in your little toe than I do in my whole body, which is something that makes all of your posts a joy and a delight.)

      • Njorl

        “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.” -Mel Brooks

  • Either Sarah Palin lives in your apartment complex or that was a fan who watched a recording of her speeches one too many times.

    Also (too):

    More POLICE begin to mull ^mill about the bottom of the stairs.

    Please ignore the above correction if the officers really were thinking carefully or preparing an alcoholic beverage.

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    FORMER STUDENT: That happen a lot here?

    SEK: First time since I’ve moved in. Wonder what happened?

    Lucky you.

    I actually live in one of the more notorious areas of this small town. The two houses across the street (Affectionately titled “The Druggie House” and The Angry House”) have been the scene of much excitement over the past 3 years I’ve lived here.

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