Dear Dissonance, I don’t know how to comfort you except to say it won’t be the last time a patient dies, so the sooner you get over it, the better. I can empathize with the horror of realizing you have been revealed to your Patient in full, however. In that moment between the crash and her leaving the world, she saw you clearly for the first time and laughed. Laughed! As if the joke was on you and not her… Read more

Dear Dissonance, If I have imparted anything to you over the past year, I hope it is an understanding that your Patient must view this world as the only one that exists. It is the worldview that allows all of our tempting to work and whose absence would deprive us of some of our most signature moments. Would Donald Sterling, for example, be a household name without a girlfriend who saw him primarily as something to exploit instead of to… Read more

  Dear Dissonance Have you noticed that one’s brand has replaced oneself? Recently the Wall Street Journal ran a funny article by a man annoyed by all the runners with 26.2 and 13.1 bumper stickers he sees in his Midwestern town. As he asked, “What’s with this infatuation with running and the near-mandatory ritual of preening about it?” But it’s not just running. It’s everything. It’s as if it’s not enough just to believe certain things anymore or like doing certain things… Read more

Dear Dissonance, You gave me reason to smile broadly recapping the birth of your Patient’s son. I love that she showed up at the doctor’s office for a regularly scheduled visit and was totally sideswiped by the doctor’s pronouncement that she needed to go to the hospital right away. Her first reaction was not, “is he OK?” But, “I have not finished my column. I still have to publish a newspaper today. Do I really have to go now? Can’t… Read more

Dear Dissonance, Your latest missive jarred me from my funk of recent weeks. Thank you. I was so pleased to learn of your Patient and her husband’s massive blow out at the airport and how it almost led to one of them not going on their trip. And all because of such a simple thing: gas – or lack thereof. If they had been organized the night before and filled up the car, none of swearing and name calling and… Read more

Dear Dissonance, I don’t know about you, but sometimes it really gets me down that we are forced to work with the material we have instead of given any say in how it should exist. For example, we cannot create virtues or vices in patients, only manipulate the ones they are predisposed to. Sometimes it requires a lot of research to figure out who someone is, but often it makes me feel like a day laborer toiling in someone else’s… Read more

Dear Dissonance, Don’t you just revel in Lent? For starters, most people don’t know what it is anymore. For many it is some vaguely religious thing that starts after a day when people get really drunk and eat cake with a baby king in it. Those who do know that it is supposed to be a time to repent and pray in preparation for Easter mostly think of it as a period to give up something that they really like… Read more

Dear Dissonance, I am disappointed to learn that your Patient has friends. Real ones that date back to when she was in elementary school and high school and college that do nothing to advance her career or social position like those on her social media accounts. To me, friends that are more than situational or rungs to higher pay or some other personal quest are terrorists to our cause. For one, the fact that your Patient still cultivates these friendships… Read more

Dear Dissonance, A little bit more on pregnancy. One thing I hate about it is that it blows holes in everything that we tirelessly work for each day. On top of that list is shaping a worldview that totally revolves around self. In this mission modern culture could not be more helpful. Doing what you want when you want to — and forcing others to celebrate or even pay for your choices regardless of merit might as well be the… Read more

Dear Dissonance, Take a deep breath. We knew a baby could happen, the timing is just sooner than anticipated. Granted, it would have been much better if the first pregnancy didn’t arrive until at least a couple years after their marriage as it would have guaranteed fewer children given their age. But we will work with what we have to. The goal should be to stop them at one child. Not because there is any perfect number of children in… Read more

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