Thursday, February 09, 2006

On living and working

Neil Young was on Fresh Air today talking about his recent aneurysm and subsequent treatment. In diagnosing the problem, the doctor told Young, “You’ve got nothing to worry about, you’ve probably had this for 100 years. But I’ve got a big problem. It’s very dangerous, and I’ve got to get it out right away.”

That exchange — the patient being fine but the doctor having a problem — reminded me of that line in the last few chapters of “The World According to Garp,” where Garp defines a writer as a doctor that only deals with terminal cases. A patient is a human and guaranteed nothing, and therefore has nothing to worry about. But a doctor is a worker and responsible for another life, and therefore needs to be very careful.

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