Nose Jobs, and entitlements

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View 744 Friday, October 05, 2012

I’m taking a fond look at my nose and hoping it will still be here at dinner time.

Back in August the dermatologists took two biopsies from my face. One was from a sore spot on my right cheek that I have had for years, and which they’ve sliced away at several times, and which is still a big red mark. The other was from the end of my nose, which looks just fine, but every now and then has a small problem seemingly fixed by freezing.

When the results came in they decided to do nothing about the cheek spot, but they found cancer cells on my nose. There is an expert at Kaiser who fixes such things by slicing open the nose, peeling out the bad cells, and putting the whole thing back when he’s done. He is also, I am told, also in demand for cosmetic plastic surgery, which is why it took a month to get an appointment.

That was for yesterday, but he had some kind of emergency yesterday, and it was rescheduled for just after lunch today. And I have to say that I’ve been sort of down and out all week thinking about this.

So if you’ve got any reservoir of well wishing, you can send some of it my way.

Now no one is worried about all this except me. Everyone seems to think it’s routine and preventive and no further treatment will be needed, and that’s the way to bet it, but it seems I don’t have as much control over my emotional makeup as I like to think I have.

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Comment on entitlements:

Of course every entitlement for anyone is an obligation placed on someone else. Few seem to think about that when they argue about the importance of entitlements. And after all, if we want Big Bird, and Bunny Inspectors, and armed Department of Education enforcers, and free lunches, and expanded food stamp programs, we don’t really have to raise taxes: we can borrow the money and laet another generation worry about it. As I get older I realize that the obligations won’t apply to me longer than the rest of my life, which is likely less than on yours.

The notion that democracies tend to vote themselves largess from the public treasury – that is, to vote for entitlements for themselves – is called by some critics “the Tytler Calumny” because there is some question as to who first said this or put it in a particular way. Since the concept has been around since Aristotle, whether or not a particular person said it in a particular way seems irrelevant: the question is, is it true? Is this one way that democracies perish, by spending themselves into situations they can’t get out of without disastrous remedies that may be worse than the disease?

At some point I will publish a definitive study on who said what, but the question is, is spending for largesse to the people – food stamps, free lunches in schools, medical care, etc. – something to worry about? When the economy is good, it often is not. For a man to love his country his country ought to be lovely, and public generosity is sometimes – not always – a good sign of opulence which makes everyone feel better.

But sometimes entitlements tend to corrupt.

More another time. Time for a walk, and after that, The Nose.

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1350: Well, I still have a nose, along with a moderate sized bandage that I can see with my right eye but not my left, which worried  me until I saw in the mirror that it was put on sort of asymmetrically. Everything was close to the surface and Dr. Adams thinks he got it all. It’s called a MOHS procedure, and that’s well enough known that there’s a small clinic suite with that name in the Kaiser building that houses dermatology and pediatrics. They also had a flu shot suite so we got that out of the way while we were there. So it’s over, my nose hurts like crazy and it’s likely to get worse, but I can stop worrying that I’ll end up like Freud with his iron jaw.

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No big parade for Los Angeles. They decided to move Endeavor from LAX to the Science Center by towing it along surface streets, and to do that on the 12-mile route they chose they had to cut down about 400 trees. The local inhabitants of the route didn’t like that, but our mayor assured them they’d get “the mother of all parades.” That turns out not to be the case. No one will be allowed on the sidewalks, and much of the event will happen late at night.  Or that’s the plan; some have said they’ll have a party and a parade whether the city fathers like it or not. “But it’s a safety issue,” say the anonymous bureaucratic authorities who have told the mayor he can’t have his party.

Perhaps there will be an Occupy Endeavor movement, and an LA Science Party movement, and who knows what else. Los Angeles has some of the highest taxes and worst government in the nation – our streets are in utter disrepair, we charge fees for emergency responses which are generally late, and you can talk to the School Board by appointment 6 months in advance at which point you get 2 minutes – so we’re all used to this sort of thing, but this is a bit more amusing than the usual clutter we get from our political masters. Perhaps there will be a flash crowd.

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