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The Doctor Was In

“War makes masochists of us all” – Brittain, Testament of Youth


Hi, welcome back. Good to see you again. We’re pleased you’re on time but we’re afraid there’s been a slight problem with Dr. Clinch.

Dr. Clinch’s slight problem

I was taking a well-deserved three-hour lunch and decided to stop by the house. As I pulled into my driveway I saw my wife on the well-maintained front lawn, looking through a sack full of mail. Now we subscribe to a fair amount of periodicals to keep up with global and local affairs and our family’s spending means we get plenty of bills, but this was far and away the most amount of mail our property had ever seen.

Getting out of my foreign-made automobile and approaching my lovely partner, I ask her what the deal is, dude. She explained that our local mailman was in our marble-countered kitchen, weeping uncontrollably, and that she and a handful of other stay-at-home wives were going to take up the route on his behalf.

Moved to such admiration for my wife I almost had my way with her right there on the lawn, I go inside to find Lincoln, our mail carrier, staring into a handcrafted mug of fine Venezuelan coffee.

Resisting the urge to call the police, I ask him what the deal is, dude. With utter hopelessness he looks up at me with such a hangdog expression I almost vomit onto the oak hardwood floor.  He said he had a small conundrum.

Dr. Clinch’s Mailman’s Small Conundrum

I just got up this mornin’, right? Like I usually did, and that meant I stumbled out of the motel room, trying to piece together the fights from last night and hope that the flashbacks aren’t going to fuck me up on my route. Then I stumble back into the motel room get my pants. Then I really leave, speeding down the highway to get back home before my wife wakes up and realizes I ain’t passed out on the couch like I’m supposed to be.

But when I get there I see my sister’s car parked out in front of our apartment. Now there are ton of reasons why this might be the case, and the fact that I don’t exactly know what the why is just gets under my skin like a building with two sets of zipcodes and landord who doesn’t help ‘cause he’s all hyped up on goofballs.

I love my sis and all, and I know she can get through shit by herself like no one’s business, so she’s probably here offering moral support for my old lady for whatever her problem of the week is. Last time it was too many spiders in our apartment. Not spiders in general, just too many spiders. Like there’s a certain number for an apartment that’s okay, I said. And she says, yeah, one for sixteen square feet of floor.

So I carefully sneak in the back way and then through a window. And I think I’m being all clever, but there’s my Rita and my sis all bleary eyed sitting on the couch, as if a bomb had dropped on them. And when I mumble a hello they just say hi and don’t bother getting in my face.

So I play all tough and ask what the problem is, and apparently it’s some minor misfortune.

Dr. Clinch’s Mailman’s Wife’s Minor Misfortune

Rodney is a sweet man, but thick as a brick. Even someone in a coma would know that he sneaks out at midnight, works on his Vietnam war miniatures in the Shady Pines all night to relive his glory days as a key grip on Platoon, and then comes back pretending to reek of gin and juice.

But I can’t say no to a man in uniform, and he never notices when I burn the roast so we make it work.

Thing is – and he’s okay with this – but I always kept a soft spot in my life for my early loves, unless the breakup was due to violence or infidelity, in which case, see ya later, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

But this one guy I was seeing for about six months when I had just left hairdresser’s college. He was great, really fun and affable, a real go-getter, destined for big things. But big things meant spending half the year on the other side of the world as a diplomat’s assistant. Now, I like my guy close by. Being around is a big thing for me in a relationship. It can’t be a love letter once a month. So it didn’t work, but we still kept it touch sporadically, because like I said, he was a great guy. Ends up becoming a policy advisor for the state department. Almost a big fish. Good for him and all that.

Then I get this recent letter from him.

He explained – without the slightest hint of fear or concern for his life – Afghanistan’s stumbling block.

Dr. Clinch’s Mailman’s Wife’s Policy Advisor’s Afghan Stumbling Block

Quite simply, Rita, the Taliban’s push back into the Northern Provinces has destroyed the morale of a region just beginning to get back on its feat. The attack on Kabul on January 17th still terrifies citizens in the capital, which was always intended to be the security centre of the country. Foreign investment has to be heavily subsidized by the coalition forces for it to stay in the country.

I feel like we’re taking three steps back for every one step forward, and to top it all off, I think my hair is retreating faster than the battalions in Kunduz!


'you have no fear of the underdog. that's why you will not survive'