Saturday, January 9, 2010

Idiot Fondue: Case Study #17

Dearest Clients,

It is with supreme humiliation and utter shame that I put pen to paper. As most of you are aware, or at least those of you taking two prescription tranquilizers or less, I encountered a slight legal situation whilst attending the neurological convention in Paris last September, and found myself unable to leave the country for quite some time.

As the French authorities kept me quite busy taking a battery of psychological tests (me, taking tests such as that, can you even fathom my horror?), the time simply flew by in an amazing whirl of days and weeks. I had no idea that proving your innocence in a court of law could be so time-consuming, especially when everyone around you is babbling in a language that is not your own.

(Fair disclosure to those patients who are not suffering from stress-related memory loss: Yes, I’m sure you’ll recall there was that previous judicial matter involving the authenticity of my doctoral license, so it’s not like I’ve never had experience with the courts, but that bit of crockery took place here in America, where I at least understood the nature of the charges against me.)

In any case, the situation in France took a long time to achieve full resolution, to put it mildly. During this sordid ordeal, I had mistakenly assumed that my office staff here at Bonnywood Manor would take the necessary steps to keep the business running smoothly, temporarily directing clients to other physicians and whatnot.

Unfortunately, my expectations that my staff could function professionally without supervision were misguided and overconfident. I’m not certain WHAT they were doing during my absence, but it’s fairly clear that they were not attending to the needs of my many patients or even bothering to show up for their duties.

There’s an enormous amount of inventory missing from the various storerooms, the exquisite waiting room furniture had been replaced with folding chairs and a Styrofoam cooler as a coffee table, and the calming music in the consultation rooms had been changed to that grating alternative style of music wailed by poorly-dressed people who don’t bathe.

Imagine my surprise when I walked in the office door.

In speaking with some of the tawdry but temporarily-useful gossipers in adjacent office suites, I did eventually learn of the unsavory activities of two of my now former employees, Tiffania the nutritionist and Bethany the bookkeeper. It appears that they have started their own company, operated out of their mobile home, wherein they manufacture and market plants and herbs for medicinal use. If the gum-smacking gossiper is correct with the dates she provided, this corporation was formed within three hours of my arrest in Paris. So much for dedicated employees.

The only employee who remained mostly faithful until my belated return was Lanae, my charming and friendly assistant who ensures that you place enough zero’s on your payment check as you depart the building. But she has confessed that her commitment to the cause did waver a bit at the end, with her calling in sick every day for the last 8 weeks. Who she was actually calling, I have no idea, but it wasn’t me.

And, of course, the most horrendous part of this whole tragic drama is the effect on you, my beloved and revenue-producing clients. Your suffering must have been immense and heavy. And I’m fairly certain the biggest violation to your self-esteem was the unfortunate week when, showing up once again for a counseling session that should have been cancelled, you were greeted at the door by a proctologist.

Please allow me to explain a bit about that.

You see, for the most part, the management staff here at the Bonnywood Manor medical complex is a very professional and understanding team. They do their best to ensure that all organizations that lease space in the facility are comfortable and happy. They will accommodate you in every way. Except one.

You MUST pay your rent, preferably on time.

As I was fairly occupied in another country, what with those charges and all, I just assumed that this monthly transaction would be handled by my staff, most likely my business manager, since “pay the rent” is clearly spelled out in his contract. What I didn’t realize, off in the land of wine and cheese and misunderstanding, is that most of my staff ran for the hills before the announcement of my arrest had finished crawling across the screen on CNN.

No checks were written, Bonnywood Manor, Inc. did not receive any money for quite some time, and the office was re-leased to a physician with a completely different specialty than mine. Which led, dear client, to the traumatic week during which many of you arrived anticipating a soothing chat with your therapist, and instead were confronted by a man who seemed very determined to have you bend over.

Turns out this man was not a proctologist, or even a doctor, having no credentials or certification that proved valid. He was just an odd little mad with lots of money and time on his hands, and was just a little too invested in his role-playing games. (I don’t believe any charges were ever filed, as none of you were able to identify his finger in a lineup. But don’t blame yourself, I’m sure it was the stress and all the bright lights that led to your confusion.)

Luckily for me, Bonnywood was unable to lease the office to anyone else before my return. (The gum-smacking gossiper claims it was all the screams and ungodly noises that could be heard coming from the office during the week of the proctological duplicity, but I believe she‘s making that up. She’s a drinker.)

In any case, I have resolved my financial misunderstanding with Bonnywood, payments are back in order, more appropriate furniture has been delivered, and a new, well-trained staff has been hired. (Each of them has a clause in their contract that they cannot immediately quit just because a superior has been arrested for public indecency. They have to give two weeks’ notice just like everybody else.)

Oh, and the charming Lanae is still with me, of course. I firmly believe her story that the mental anguish over my plight in Paris eventually led to an inability to get out of bed. (Although I must confess to a slight moment of doubt when I realized that the amount of money missing from the petty cash box is roughly equivalent to the cost of the new flat-screen TV I spied in her apartment when I picked her up this morning, but surely it’s coincidence.)

Anyway, Lanae is once again at the front desk, ready to assist you with those zero’s.

And I am ready as well, relishing the prospect of resuming our intimate conversations wherein we determine that you do rash and hurtful things just because Daddy wouldn’t buy you a pony in the third grade. I miss that. And I certainly miss people believing everything that comes out of my mouth, unlike those mystifying French people with their odd grooming habits and inexplicable need to accessorize with scarves.

I await your return with great pleasure.

And yes, I promise to give you a detailed depiction of what truly happened that led to the morals charge. The pictures and words that were broadcast out of Paris were misleading and out of context. You deserve to know the truth. But you have to book a session to get the full story. Frankly, I need your money. That trial cost a fortune, and somebody has to pay for the new furniture in the lobby. My back, your back, yes?

In anticipation,

Dr. Brian

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