Dear Patient

Because I’ve gotten some concerned phone calls about the “Coming Soon” signage that suggests my office will soon be converted into a Tangy Persimmon yogurt franchise, the time has come to let all of you know that I am retiring from the practice of medicine. This has been a difficult decision.  Let me say that each of you is very special to me.  As a group, however, you’ve made it easy for the Persimmon people to secure my prime corner location.

I took it in stride when Margie Bouton, empowered by the wisdom of the comment section on WebMD, became convinced that her son’s simple hay fever was actually Plotkin’s Syndrome, a metabolic disorder last diagnosed in 1912 in an 80 year old Latvian man who was bitten by a peddler.
I was caring and patient when Fred Macklin whipped out a 50- page printout which proved I was treating him all wrong for his shingles.  He loudly demanded that I replace the anti-viral therapy with a de-tox program starting with caffe latte immersions.

And I could manage Sheila Doyle, who would spend hours explaining to me that lactose would interfere with her unborn child’s ability to relate to small farm animals.  Thank you for that one.

But it was the apps that finally did me in. There  I am, telling Jim Margolis that he had better cut down on his bi-weekly cote de bouef consumption, and he whips out an app called Preditrix, which says that based on his family history, his score in Dungeons and Diagnostics, and the number of his friends online now, he’ll live to 95.

Then there was Francis Muldoon, who downloaded an app called HealthDerivatives.  She claimed it reduced her risk factors to zero. You just enter your test results, and the app turns them into a CHO – that’s a collateralized health obligation.  Then you sell these on the secondary market, thus shifting the entirely of your personal risk to someone else.

All these apps also give my confidence you’ll be in what you believe are good hands without me.  

For those wondering about my plans, you’ve shown me the joys of learning new things.  So I’m looking forward the exploration of many new fields.  Next week, I’m flying a 747 from New York to Paris.  I’ve never been in a cockpit, but that shoudn’t be a problem, since I learned avionics at

The moment I land, I’ll be whisked to La Grande Repast, where I’ll have a chance to demonstrate the pastry skills I picked up after an hour or so at

And then it's off to Vegas, with the skills I picked up in half an hour from
In closing, let me say again what a pleasure it was to take care of you and your families -- in those days before I became as vestigial as an appendix.
Sincerely, Dr. Vance McCardle



Adam Hanft is the founder and CEO of Hanft Unlimited. He blogs for the Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and Fast Company and is a frequent commentator on National Public Radio's Marketplace. He is the co-writer, with Faith Popcorn, of The Dictionary of the Future.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.