I received an email from my employer today.

Despite the ominous darkness that crawled in as the mouse hovered over the OPEN button, despite the introspective question, “Have you neurons to waste?” I opened the darn thing.

Unsurprisingly, it was the usual regrettably composed, long-winded missive, the type of panic-correspondence sent prior to visits from a hospital accreditation body that shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons.

If those reasons aren’t obvious to you, google “Joint Commission” (hereforewithin referred to as JC).

*JC is not an abbreviation for Jesus Christ (although Joint Commission would love to have the reader believe that they are a holy, celestial body). Rather, this shrunken form of the term is an example of millennial reduction, a purposeful shortening of any expression that bears too many syllables.

Anyway, top hits in your Google search may include

  1. A yawnfestic exploration of JC’s seventy-year (too) long existence
  2. Phonetic spellings of every single one of their name changes, a cover-up for Joint Commission’s dissociative identity disorder
  3. The apocalyptic question: CAN JOINT COMMISSION SHUT DOWN A HOSPITAL

I am sure my employer frantically types this very question into the search engine, every three years, clogs up the networks, stops internet traffic, so they can get an answer, the same bloody answer.


Your hospital will not shut down. Instead, JC will subject the hospital to the sort of extreme torture meted out only by the likes of Unit 731.

JC. Will. Not. Shut. The. Hospital. Down.


PANIC EMAILS can shut a hospital down. Yes, panic emails can incite such angst that Self-Induced Worker Paralysis Syndrome sets in.

*During the prodromal stage of SIWPS a lone index finger remains barely mobile, allowing the worker to call in to The Sickline (think Sex Chat Line for perpetually ill people). Millennials call this process FMLA.

*Quiet Quitting is similar to SIWP, except that the worker actually shows up to work as a zombie. Quiet Quitting is a new concept and millennials are currently refining it.

My employer, blinded by JC’s Nth Coming, knowingly ignored all the above and clicked SEND.


The hallways have been cleared of all your shit, if you haven’t noticed. Actually, we have noticed. It’s literally the only thing we have noticed. We haven’t noticed you vomiting emails at us, alternating between condescending and patronizing tones; inspecting our uniforms, removing all evidence of humanity; handing us robotic scripts to recite; killing innocent cockroaches … BUT we have definitely noticed the hallways, so pristine that, for the first time, windows!, our solitary source of Vitamin D, are finally visible.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, the email continued.

This is a gentle reminder to …

Perhaps it was the the Arial Font, how the letters crawled across the page like insects (Wingdings is more fitting for rubbish communication), maybe I was reminded of the earlier cockroach interaction. I don’t know, but something, something caused my eyes to erupt all over the sterile computer.

I might not have been so upset ordinarily, but mind you, on my way to work, I had narrowly missed being smithereened by an aggressive schoolbus driver, I heard the sound of screaming toddlers from the bus, and rationalized that the poor fellow might have been trying to escape Guantanamo; I then got into a mild spat with a parking attendant because I couldn’t decide what time I’d be able to pick up my car; he cursed at me in spanish, and I got even angrier at myself for not having completed Spanish I.

And then there was the cockroach.

To be fair to the clog industry, their shoes are usually comfortable … except in the event that one needs to display any degree of athletic prowess.

Like in the instance of dodging a dead cockroach in a hospital stairwell.

This poor creature was likely a victim of panic fumigation (JC is known to perform Kremlin-style sweeps of hallways and crevices in search of vermin) , but I hated its lifelessness nonetheless, for in death, it had found an escape from the torture chamber.

I jumped over the half-rotten body, successfully avoiding the splatter of exoskeleton, but sacrificed my previously-sprained ankle in the process. The result of impact was an “Owwww!

Limping and yowling stoically, I made my way back to the email machine, and then there was the gentle reminder to:

Be nice


Waste shit

The gentle broke me.

A Pandora’s Box of superlatives and questions opened up. What was the next stage after gentle? Harsh? Draconian? Or shall we explore the other rungs of gentle: gentler, gentlest? Had employer meant genteel, instead?

Of course the relativity of the word also deserved consideration. Suppose my employer’s version of gentle was Armageddon? Where does one go from there?

I imagined that yelling at adults may not be an option (this practice is abhorred by the JC, who has aptly termed it lateral violence), I wondered if employer would have me taken out by a hitman, or incinerated by a dragon instead, Dracarys!

I felt a millennial emotion for the first time ever. Triggered.

Gentle reminder had likely been typed one-handed, AR-47 clutched in other hand; my employer was at war with the people.

I started to type a reply, a protest, a rebellious “F@$k …”

“The next patient is here!” Draft saved. Eye splatter erased. Millennial emotions suppressed.

I wasted the next piece of plastic shit and gently recited the script:

“Hello Mr. Burke, I’ll be taking care of you today!”

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