American Culture

Gwyneth Paltrow inspired me to become a doctor

Now meet the nurse who can’t wear gloves


Actual doctor

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything especially Frank-goofy. I miss pulling weird stunts, like the Tell Me About It sign at Dupont Circle, or wandering around town dressed like a punk jester and playing a darbuka. But ya know, if Paltrow’s ridiculous Goop can feature an “avatar” of a nurse, or whatever their marketing justification is, and that avatar can represent as a nurse and function in a sort of nurse-like soothsaying manner that appears as though someone is acting like a nurse as long as there’s a caveat somewhere that really, it’s not a nurse just corporate branding playing one on the internet, then basically one can just create a fiction that identifies as a nurse without actually even being a person.

We’ve gone fully post-modern, I think.

I think there’s something especially cynical going on here, something beyond rank profit motive. I think there’s an understanding, inchoate, feral, even subconscious, and probably utterly unspoken, that of course the audience will be in on the joke, so to speak. They’ll know Nurse Kevin is no more real than Mrs. Butterworth or Mr. Goodbar because it says so right there in the description for the sign-up, but over time they’ll come to relate to Nurse Kevin as though Nurse Kevin were a nurse. At some point, it’ll be beyond being in on the joke and, to them, Nurse Kevin will just be Nurse Kevin, as much a bonafide nurse as anyone else with the title, and probably a more benevolent one than Nurse Ratched.

So, since online I’m just a representation of myself, just an avatar, I’ve decided that I’m going to be Dr. Frank (see footnote).  I decided this while sitting here absentmindedly skimming the web in a pair of artistically stained denim jeans frayed at the cuff in a way that echoes my unkempt, graying beard, and a well-worn and much-washed black qua charcoal gray Lamb of God T-shirt that would strike the Da Vinci Code set as just arcane and menacing enough. Just like that. As I think this through, because goofy stunts are like that, I think…I’ve just created a “university,” just not on paper. Yet. Maybe. Completely not accredited, never will be. Not registered anywhere. I’m its sole board member, CEO, chancellor, and professor. Might as well be the lunch lady and the chaplain, too, while I’m at it. I make the rules. And I just decided to give myself all the life-experience credits I need to instantaneously earn my own Bachelor’s and Master’s. After that, it’s just a simple matter of waiving my own thesis defense. Outstanding, me! I now pronounce me Doctor, with a Doctorate of Philosophy in um. Um. Dissipatory Casuistics? With honors, naturally.

On this august occasion, I join the esteemed ranks of the actual Ph.D.s I know, if not in actual esteem, or even in actuality. I’m grateful for this honor(ific), and I’m just sorry y’all had to work so hard for yours. It was so much easier my way.

There we have it, my meteoric rise to academic excellence, and it only took me one blog article (but it had to be the right one at the right time for all the right reasons, you see). Dr. Frank it is. Sure, most people on my friends list will be smart enough to shake their heads, laugh, ignore, whatever, and move on. But some (maybe?) might think it’s just goofy enough to entertain, if only sarcastically. Someone will slip up and call me Dr. eventually, right? Week One, it’ll just be another stupid Frankstunt. After a month, it’ll just be that goofy thing I’m doing that I’ll forget about next month. After a year? Who knows? Perception is reality, as long as I have a caveat, right? I won’t be opining in any way that appears that I’m practicing medicine (I’m not a real that kind of doctor). I won’t try to represent anyone else in a court of law (I’m not a real that kind of doctor). I’m as much an actual doctor as Dr. J and Dr. Pepper, and not even as good at it.

At least I’m not trying to sell you anything, well, not on the merits of my title anyway.

Footnote: On Facebook Frank Balsinger will be Dr. Frank Balsinger. On WordPress, thanks to a host of (more or less) ridiculous blog attempts, I guess that would also make him Dr. Skoler, Dr. Skeptica, and Dr. Bog Monster (or maybe just Dr. Monster). Among other things, Dr. Balsinger collects dubious epithets such as award winning New Orleans poet, chaotic lawful Crusader of the Knights of Pteassaar, and Erisian Pope (Xian of Lucifuge, to be precise).

4 replies »

  1. Hey, don’t blame postmodernism. There have always been dingbats.

    For fun, imagine the medieval king and court for which she’d have been jester.

  2. As mayor of Wilkins, Nevada, and president of the eponymous Wilkins University, I appoint you as tenured dean of our new School of Dissipatory Casuistics with all the rights and privileges thereto. Your compensation will be three times what you’re paid at S&R … 🙂