Life in Da City!

Questions Above My Pay Grade

A long, long time ago, back in Da City, I had left EMS, and was employed as a nursing house supervisor. In the course of my rounds, I stopped by ER. The staff chatted with me, revealed that things appeared to be under control, and they needed for nothing at that time.

One of the staff nurses drew me aside, and murmured, “Check out the ER doc that they sent us!”

I asked, of course, “Why?”, and was told, “Never mind! Once you chat with him, you will know!”

I approached him, introducing myself, and asked how his night was going. I was struck by the fact that he appeared to have several freckles about his face, each with a glint as of metal. Each, in fact, about the size of a pin head. I figured that was odd, concluded my conversation, and moved on.

I subsequently encountered one of the ER nurses in the cafeteria. “What did you make of Dr. Pins?”

“Couldn’t tell you. Never seen anything like it, before!”

So, a little later that night, I cruised through ER, again. (part of my “management by wandering around” strategy). The doc asked me if he could speak to me, in private. That was odd, but, sure, whatev’s.

So, back in the physician’s office, he began to describe a patient. I mean, as in how a resident (or a midlevel) would staff a patient with an attending. He wound up with his query: what did *I* (remember: the NURSING supervisor, with no provider chops whatsoever at this time) think that the patient ought to have done?

I tried not to stutter: I really, really did. I suspect that I failed, but I did manage to observe that other physicians had ordered this, or that test, and not uncommonly had discharged the patient with a prescription for this, that, or the other thing.

The following afternoon, my boss, the afternoon Nursing Director, and I had a chat. A lengthy chat. About Dr. Pins.

Duty · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Protect and Serve

Two More Tales

Once upon a time, Da City was “The Arsenal of Democracy”, heavily industrialized, and a place where a reasonably hard working high school graduate could graduate, and, within a year, have a solidly middle class lifestyle working in a factory. One auto company had established an industrial complex just outside Da City, and on an island in this complex, had established forges, stamping plants, and coking ovens. Even across the river, the smell had to be experienced to be believed.

I worked with one guy, back on EMS, who had worked, pre-fire department, for one of the private ambulance services. They had caught a run for some emergency or another on this island, and, this being the days of 24 hour shifts, my friend fell asleep, letting his partner, who was driving, take care of things.

He related, “I was awakened when the ambulance stopped. I looked out, at the gas flaring off, and the chemical smell of sulfur heavy in the air. The area aroiund us looked like a hellish war torn moonscape, and I thought, “Oh my f@@king Ghawd! He’s wrecked the ambulance, I’ve died, and this is Hell!”

Another story, from a slightly later time, had me working with Doug and Rob, at a house in the far western area of Da City. We were dispatched to an assault, and met the cops on the scene. Upon entering the house, a gentleman (looking to be something like 6 feet and some change tall, probably running probably 220 pounds) reported that the woman of the house, who, herself, looked to be like 5 feet 2 inches, maybe 120 pounds, had assaulted him, striking him with her fists. He reported that he needed to be “checked out” due to his (non evident) injuries. She interjected that she had not assaulted him, he had, rather, assaulted her (and inflicting no perceptible injury in that process). He responded, loudly, and it was on. The Great West Side Debating Society Quarterly Meeting began.

While “the adults” were yelling etc, I noticed, in corner of the next room a perhaps 5-7 yo little girl, crouched in corner, mouth open, fists clenched as in a silent scream. While cops refereed “the adults”, I crouched down in front of child, attempting to verbally soothe her. One female officer noticed, and came over. I introduced the officer to the child, “This is my friend, Officer Evans. She would like to talk to you for a while. Is that OK? She, and the rest of her friends will keep you safe.”

We disengaged, everybody signed no transport forms, we went in service. As Rob finished the trip sheets, he paused, and commented, “You know, I think we may have just witnessed a watershed moment in that little girl’s life.”

Bastard. I fear that he was right.

Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Doctor Google.

Those of you who have read more than a couple of my musings, might not be surprised to hear that I genuinely attempt to do the best for my patients that I can. It seems to me that I ought to allow you, the patient, to benefit from my two years of ADN RN school (community college), another two years of RN-to-BSN school (Bachelor in Nursing), 30 + years of experience as an RN, layered upon 1 year of Basic EMT school, another year of Advanced EMT school (ie, “Paramedic” school). All this leavened by 3 years of Physician Assistant schooling, culminating in 15 + years of clinical experience since obtaining my PA license.

Not to mention something on the order of 2,000 hours of continuing medical education, over those 15 years of clinical midlevel practice.

So, therefore, please contemplate the possibility that, when I appear reluctant to prescribe The! Z! Pak! for your stuffy nose, postnasal drip, and cough, it may not be solely motivated by the fact that I am an asshole. Indeed, it just might be because, after all the aforementioned clinical experience and schooling, I might doubt that antibiotics will successfully address your discomfort, and the alternative, over the counter course of medications that I try to suggest (in between your interrupting me every several words) will, in my judgment, actually make you feel less ill.

Jess’ sayin.

Duty · Fun With Suits!

SURPRISE!

One day, not so very long ago, I arrived at work, and went to log into the electronic medical record (EMR). Generally, there is no drama. I power up the computer, click through the labyrinth of password prompts, web pages, and suchlike preparatory to actually accessing the charts of the patients that I would see that day.

On this day, I could not access the EMR. Since I am somewhat geezerly, computers are NOT in my wheelhouse. I assumed that I had mis keyed my password, and checked it, and re entered it. No joy. I re checked it, and re-re entered it. Again no joy. The computer steadfastly ignored me.

I finally determined that I was not going to be able to cajole the computer into opening up and allowing me entry into the charts. Therefore, I called tech support. Of course, I was electronically placed into the queue, and serenaded by somebody’s version of soothing music.

Since I try to arrive early, so as to allow me to still be on time should traffic be screwed up in my commute, I placed my call around 10 minutes prior to my start time.

Something like 40 minutes later, I spoke to a human being, who took my information, placed me on hold (again!), and soon returned. She informed me, “Oh! You cannot log in, because we changed your login name!”

Now, let us consider this. If you or I were to, oh, let’s say, figure that for some reason we needed to change somebody’s log in name, you, or I, for that matter, might wonder if it would be a good idea to, oh, gosh, lemme see….. TELL A SUMBITCH WE HAD CHANGED HIS FREAKING LOG IN!

Maybe, even, before his next duty shift, perhaps?

I shared this with the young lady. “Wouldn’t that have been useful information to share with me?”

She had no reply.

I thanked her for her time. I turned to the floor staff, and announced that I was, at last, logged in. I observed to my colleagues, “If only, if only, I had provided my personal e-mail, so somebody could change my log in, and, gosh, let me know!”

Duty · Fun With Suits! · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome!

TINS, TIWFDASL at Medic 13, and we caught a run. Initial dispatch information suggested that this was a heart attack.

We arrived on the East Side of Da City, at the stated address, and discovered out patient was awaiting us, upstairs. The folks who were encouraging us to step right up and set to business, were pretty excited. As we arrived and entered the bedroom wherein our patient awaited us, well, we could see why.

Our initial patient survey was, to be charitable, not encouraging. The bedroom was nearly entirely filled by a double bed, and that bed was nearly entirely filled by an unbreathing human being. Unable to detect a carotid (big ass neck artery) pulse, we concluded that this soul was in cardiac arrest. Doug and I knew that there was NO WAY we were going to move this person, let alone move them down the stairs, into our ambulance, continue a resuscitation en route, and offload same at DBTCIDC.

While I started CPR, as best as I could on the bed, Doug called dispatch on the handi talkie, and brought them up to speed. “Dispatch, we need an engine company, or two, for manpower. We have a active cardiac arrest, on a patient estimated weight of 800-1000 pounds. That is a stat call.”

Dispatch acknowledged our call, and responded, “We will send you help”.

Doug and I both set to resuscitating this soul, until our help, a second MEDIC UNIT, arrived. This crew, Mariel and Don, while welcome, came nowhere near the lifting power we anticipated in ten firefighters. Doug relieved me, and I shared this insight with dispatch. “Dispatch, we need at least one full engine company, perhaps two, and we need them several minutes ago! This is a working cardiac arrest, and there is no way we can move, let alone lift, this 800-1000 pound patient!”

Dispatch informed us that that would be a chief level decision, and I was happy to buy into their decision making process. “Very good dispatch. We need our superintendent on this scene, stat. This is a patient safety issue, and our patient is in full cardiac arrest.”

The field supervisor, a captain in our division, jumped in. “Dispatch, this is shift captain (insert name here). I am on the way to Medic 13’s scene code one. They need an engine company. Please dispatch one immediately.”

Soon, a DCPD scout car arrived, disgorging two of the single tiniest female officers I had ever seen.

Right behind them came our captain. He (the captain) edged his way through the crowd of civilians (who were, helpfully enough, insisting that we simply “snatch him on up, and carry him on down to the hospital!” (while NOT climbing the stairs to lend a hand!)

Our captain surveyed the four rescuer CPR taking place, and retired to his vehicle to have a chat with dispatch.

Mariel had removed our cot from our ambulance, securing it in their rig, wisely determining that our patient, upon the floor, would fill the entire module. As she returned up the stairs, bringing every backboard strap that she could find, the first engine company arrived.

The officer of that company trotted up the stairs, took one look, and about-faced, running down the stairs. Shortly, he returned with 5 firefighters, and a salvage cover. Everybody heaved, and the cover was stuffed ½ way beneath our patient. Everybody “Ho!’-d, and it was pulled out from beneath him. Now we had a carrying apparatus, and the firefighters set themselves at each corner, Doug in one middle, me in another, Don at the head, and Mariel at the feet, and we slowly maneuvered our patient down the stairs, and into our ambulance. Mariel and I climbed in the back, Don took off to meet us at the ER, and Doug set out.

I had the walkie talkie in my pocket, and I could hear his conversation with dispatch while Mariel and I CPR’d our little hearts out. Doug suggested that another engine company ought to meet us there, and that the ER ought to be notified of our patient’s girth. Initially, they seemed unenthusiastic, until our captain suggested that either they dispatch an engine company to the ER, or the Chief of the Firefighting Division, since he, the fire chief, would be the one explaining everything to the news media.

Engine 5 met us at the ER. TBTCIDC had lashed two cots together outrigger style, and everybody moved our patient onto the cot. Once he was in the ER, our part of the show was over.

We effusively thanked our captain, as well as the fire crew.

Fun And Games · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

Random Thoughts, Part IV

You may have heard of the ChicomFlu. It has been all over the news, and, evidently it is all Mr. Trump’s fault. Interestingly, the same folks voicing concerns about Mr. Trump being a fascist dictator, who is planning on a putsch in order to become President For Life, also are criticizing him for failing to seize control of the economy, and not dictating the minutiae of our lives in order to Halt! This! Scourge!. Apparently, that entire Federalism thing, and Tenth Amendment thing, bypassed these commentators in Government class.

Or else, our government schools failed them. Again.

So, in clinical medicine, in 2020, we now have drive in care. Care, that is, of a sort. So, folks drive up (remember that point), announce themselves (no clown’s mouth, thankfully!), and our registrar trots out and registers them. Our MA does preliminary interview, and obtains most of the vital signs (except BP). I then suit up in an impermeable gown, goggles, N-95 mask, with another lesser mask over top of it to prolong it’s service life, and gloves, and stroll out. I interview them through the vehicle window, examine ears, throat, auscultate heart sounds and breath sounds (and, by the way, I can tell you things about your engine and transmission). With this information, I form a diagnosis, formulate a plan of care, and instruct the patient in that plan.

I nearly always ask if my patient smokes. If the answer is affirmative, my response if “Stop doing that!” Occasionally, when the answer is “No”, I have indisputable olfactory evidence that this is an untruth. If I can smell your marijuana fumes through two masks, you are doing it wrong.

*History Lessons*

If you live in Bagwanistan, or Cuomo Valley
 New York, or, really anywhere, KNOW 
YOUR DAMNED MEDS!

It's commonly considered to be A GOOD
 THING if I avoid prescribing a medication
 that, in concert with whatever crap you
 take daily, will turn you into a flaming 
zombie, or cause your ears to drop off. So
 write that shit down someplace where 
you can find it. This appears to be a novel 
insight to a significant fraction of the
 population.
 

And, while you're at it, ask your pharmacist 
what you're allergic to, and WRITE THAT 
DOWN, as well. 

And, for those of you who are thinking
 that “All that is in my record!”, uh, well,
 if your records are in, say FREAKING
 FLORIDA, it might be a bit difficult for
 me to access. Particularly on 
weekends, or after 1800 hours their time.
 By the way, this also applies to folks
 whose records are in Milwaukee, and are
 visiting Flambeau Hospital, since that is
 the nearest healthcare to Copper State
 Park in BFE, Wisconsin.  Big City Hospital
 in Milwaukee may not see us as an 
entertainment subsidiary of their 
megalithic hospital system, and your info
may well be securely hidden away, 
from us. 

Jes' sayin. 
Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

Clem, Cletus, and Why Heavy Equipment Operators Require Functional Partners, Too

Many, many years after I had left the employ of Da City, I came to live in Small Rural Town. Our little slice of Heaven featured, among other things, a municipal water system. The town had been built out shortly after the Second World War, and the infrastructure was contemporaneous with that construction.

Apparently, the engineering lesson of corrosion occurring at the junction of dissimilar metals, had not percolated to the individuals who built the house in which we lived. This epiphany developed after I noticed one Friday morning that there was water pooling in our front yard, between the door and the street.

Side note. NEVER! call the water department with that sort of observation on a Friday. They will shut off the water. It turns out, the service line from your home to the main is YOUR problem. You will NOT get that problem resolved late on a Friday. Or on a Saturday. Or on a Sunday. Not having running water makes for a long weekend of work.

Monday, I was again working, but TDW-Mark I had successfully contacted the Knob City Excavating Company to respond and repair our service line.

This involved excavating my front yard, and, having accessed the service line, replacing it.

It appears that professional excavating practice involves having one individual operating a back hoe, with another standing by, inspecting the back hoe’s progress, apparently in an attempt to avoid engaging the service line with the back hoe’s bucket, reefing thereon, and using that service line as a leader to abruptly extricate all the plumbing from your home.

So, about that. Clem was the back hoe operator, and Cletus, evidently, was tasked with leaning upon his shovel so that neither he, nor the shovel, fell over. In that, he appeared to be successful. Clem DID notice the entanglement of his back hoe bucket with my plumbing, but only after he had begun to extract my plumbing from my house. Fortunately he had only JUST begun to do so, before he determined that Things Were Not Right, and stopped. That was about the point at which I returned home from a day of fighting disease and saving lives.

Things were at a standstill as I entered the house. TDW-Mark I was standing there, gazing into the hole adjacent to our foundation, looking decidedly unamused. Clem was there as well, while Cletus was a’holding that shovel, determined that it was NOT going to fall!

TDW pointed into the depths of the hole, calling my attention to the copper stretched out from the foundation to it’s junction with the iron pipe that, evidently, had been our service line. Another vehicle pulled up, disgorging a worthy who was, is seemed, Bob The Knob, owner and operator of Knob City Excavating. TDW beckoned me inside, where she showed me where the service shut off on our domestic water feed, formerly near our ceiling, was now located at the floor. I suggested to Bob The Knob that he might want to get somebody with plumbing expertise in to review the situation, and effect such repairs as seemed needful. On his dime. And, RFN. (Right Fucking Now)

He did not appear to think that this was particularly unreasonable, particularly if he were to consider the alternative, which would involve court, attorneys, attorney fees on both sides, and much bad Ju-Ju.

The next day, I returned home from work, and TDW-Mark I informed me that Some Dude had arrived, crawled around in our attic, and had pronounced everything shoreward of our shut off to be intact. This worthy had then replaced our shut off, and the associated piping, and Knob City Excavating had replaced our service line with copper, had installed a bimetallic junction (TDW-Mark I had asked/insisted) at the main, backfilled everything once the city building inspector had signed off, and we Now! Had! Water! (cue the rejoicing)

It turns out that Bob The Knob was satisfied with my check in the original, estimated, amount as payment in full. We did not have any leaks subsequent to this adventure, and we all lived happily, ever after.

Fun With Suits! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Hulk Angry!

Years ago, I owned a 1998 Chevy van. It worked out well for our little family, able to seat all four children, TDW-Mk I, and I, along with whatever luggage seemed needful.

After a couple of years, the side doors did not seem to close properly. I took it to the shop, and their determination was that one of the hinges had cracked, allowing one side of the door to sag.

Chevrolet replaced the hinge, and the shop repaired it. Life went on.

Another couple of years, again the hinges failed and the door did not want to close properly. Chevy did not want to pay for this repair. I appealed this decision up the Chevy chain of command, and The Word came down: It had failed because, and I quote, “You had been too rough with it”.

Okay, let’s review. I run around 5 foot seven, and weigh in at around 180# It is NOT “all muscle”. Indeed, my first impression tends to run along the lines of elderly Walter Mitty. The hinge in question is made of around ¼ inch steel. I doubt that I could make an impression on such a piece of steel, if I were to pound on it with a large hammer.

I shared this skepticism with the customer service manager at the dealership. I added, “Why don’t you talk to the decision maker, again? Ask him just how angry he wants to make a guy who can crack ¼ inch steel with his bare hands, and how any such encounter with such a soul might end, should that sort of fellow be really, really pissed off?”

The dealership CSM chuckled. “I was wondering the same thing.”

Bottom line: Chevy customer service sucks, the dealership replaced the hinge at a hefty discount, and I did not go all “Ragnarok!” on Chevrolet’s Customer “Service” hierarchy.

Fun And Games · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene · School Fun And Games · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

More Paramedic School Stories: The First:

Years and years ago, before I left Da City’s employ as a medic, I had completed nursing school, written my boards, received my license and was living large. For certain values of “large”, that is.

I had been offered, and accepted , a position teaching pharmacology, part time, for the program that I had graduated from. The textbook we used (Nancy Caroline MD: “Emergency Care In The Streets”) was outstanding, and provided a clear template around which to build my lesson plans.

One of the innovations that I introduced, from my own nursing school days, was a particular format for drug cards. The point thereof was to have, on a 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 card, the names of the drug in question (trade and generic), the common dosing and route of administration of the subject drug, indications for using the drug, contra indications for using the drug, the mechanism of action of the drug, and the class (often, these last two overlap: a drug classified as a “Beta Blocker” worked by blocking beta agonism on the sympathetic nervous system. If you had mastered that point, you knew that the drug would serve to slow heart rate, mildly constrict arterial muscles (net effect of lowering blood pressure due to slower heart rate and decreased strength of contraction leading to diminished cardiac output), CONSTRICT bronchial muscles, and reduce intra ocular pressure. Or, you could write all that stuff out. For every beta blocker you encountered. Fun times. I simply earned what beta agonism tickled, and knew that blockade thereof reversed those effects.)

In addition, the cards noted nursing considerations (things the nurse, or paramedic, ought to have in his/her mind when employing this medication. Like, Beta blockers: check and recheck heart rate, blood pressure, and monitor the EKG, looking for slowing conduction of the elelctricity that controlled things).

Now, some of my students were first timers. They were folks who, as you might imagine, were taking paramedic classes for the first time.


In The Un-Named Flyover State, the licensing drill went something like this. You successfully completed the course, and took the exam. Pass it in one, bingo, license in hand, go out and fight disease and save lives.

If you failed the exam, then you got one chance to re take the test portion that you had failed.

If you failed the retest, you had to successfully complete a refresher course, whereupon you could re-test, again.

If you failed THIS test, you had to take the entire generic paramedic program, from step one, all over again.

As it happened, a couple of students had, indeed, found themselves taking the paramedic class, in order to qualify for a FOURTH retest.

So, TINS©, I laid out my expectations, had conjured up a 1,000 point, tow semester grading scheme, wherein around ½ of the grade (250 points each semester) would come from the midterm and final, combined. Another 25 points came from each quiz, administered each week in class. 16 weeks in a semester, no quiz on mid term or final weeks, and two other weeks off for review for the mid term and finals, 20 quizzes.

I announced at the beginning of each semester that I would consider extra credit in the event that any student came to me in advance, suggested something that would reflect additional pharmacologic study, and be pertinent to paramedic practice.

So, STORY NUMBER ONE: Somewhere around mid terms, one of the students rose in class, and delivered a pronouncement: Reltney, paramedics don’t need to know all this stuff. Nurses, yeah, I get that nurses need to know this stuff, but paramedics don’t!”

I invited him to hold that thought, and we could speak, in detail, after class. After the end of class, this fellow, along with a couple fo his work mates, all met with me, eager to set me straight.

As it happened, all of these folks were of the looking-at-a-fourth-retest group.

I invited my correspondent to state his case. He did so, as outlined above, with no new explicative material, no new rationale for his position.

I deliberated a moment, and fact checked myself. “So, you have taken the paramedic exam, correct?”

“Yep!”

“And, you failed it, is that correct?”

“Uh, yeah…”

“Then, you took it again, did you not? And, failed it, again, am I correct?”

“yeah…”

“And, again, after a refresher course, you took the paramedic exam, and, again, you failed it, is that also correct?”

(much more quietly) “yes…”

“So, I’m confused: you are not an RN, are you?”

“Uh, no…”

“So, let me see if I am understanding you: you are telling me, who has taken, and passed, the paramedic exam, and who is, also, an RN, that you are in a position to have an opinion that I ought to find persuasive, regarding what it takes to successfully take and pass the paramedic exam, based upon your experience in taking the exam, and failing it, what, three separate times?, did I hear you correctly?”

He mumbled something indistinct, and found somewhere else that he felt the need to be.

And, I did not hear THAT particular argument again.

Fun With Suits! · guns · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

“The Gun Show Loophole!”

One year, my (very successful) brother rented a house in Some Blue Hive State, so his family could summer there. I received an invitation, that should I wrangle the time off of work, and my own transportation, I’d have a spot to stay and join in the merriment.

TDW was interested, and so I arranged vacation, and purchased plane tickets. One car rental later, and we were off!

My brother is an alumnus of an Eastern Sophisticated University, and, therefore, all of his college buddies are, as well. That trends towards them also being of the Blue Hive Borg, where, evidently, “assimilation is Mandatory!”

All these fellows are attorneys, and, generally, pretty smart. No surprise there, right? So, one evening, after consumption of Tax Stamped Beverages, well, one guy (let’s call him Bob, “not-his-real-name”) overheard The Darling Wife regaling me with her recent visit to an Unnamed Flyover State Gun Show, wherein she had purchased an AR pattern rifle, in 6.8 Rem Special. Good News: She was very excited at her selection, describing her new rifle as “Pretty!”. Bad news: Have you PRICED 6.8 Rem Spl ammo lately? Holy Stool, that is expensive ammunition. Not as pricey as H & H .375, or .416 Rigby, I’ll grant you, but pretty spendy against sixty-cent-a-round .223 ammo.

So, Bob told us what his thoughts about that were. That is, if you could characterize him as “thinking” on that subject. “Man, they ought outlaw gun shows! That gun show loophole is awful!”

I know a thing or two about guns, as does The Darling Wife. She had, after all, just the preceding month gone to a gun show, and purchased a rifle. Indeed, in terms of contemporaneous experience based knowledge, she might qualify, within the confines of that house, as a subject matter expert.

Therefore, I asked Bob, “Oh, really? What is the ‘gun show loophole’, and what is the most objectionable part of it, in your view?”

He apparently was not one to let ignorance of the subject get in the way of a good opportunity to let his “woke” flag fly. “Why, it shouldn’t be allowed that simply anyone can just walk right in to a gun show, and just buy any sort of gun that they want, and then just walk right out!”

“Say what?”

He was gonna repeat himself. “Any sort of drunken lout, or mental defective, or terrorist, or mass shooter, can just walk into any gun show, buy any sort of mass murder machine that they want, and waltz out! No background check, no permit, no nothing!”

I turned to My Darling Bride, and said, “Honey, didn’t you just buy a rifle at a gun show a couple of weeks ago? Why don’t you tell Bob, here, how that worked?”

She smiled sweetly at me, and turned to Bob. “Well, I paid my admission, I walked the aisles until I found that rifle. It looked so pretty, I thought that it ought to be my first AR. I negotiated a rice with the seller. He then needed my picture ID, as well as my concealed carry license. He called the National Instant Check System with my information, and got an approval. He recorded the approval serial number, and then I had to complete a form 4473 before we could complete the sale.”

I invited her to be more detailed in her tutorial for Bob. “So, Honey, what’s a ‘Form 4473’?”

“Well, it is a sworn statement, under penalties of both perjury as well as violation of the federal Gun Control Act, that I’m not a felon, fugitive from justice, mentally ill, an illegal alien, have never been convicted of a crime of domestic violence. There’s a couple of other reasons that I could be disqualified, but they are all listed right there on the form. No sale can move forward without that form.”

Bob could not contain his superior expertise any longer. “That’s just wrong! None of that is required!”

I turned to him. “Really? Why don’t you tell us how it went, the last time YOU purchased a gun at a gun show?”

He looked at me, surprised. “I have never bought any sort of gun, ever! I do not own a gun!”

I feigned surprise. “Really? So, just how did you come by your expertise regarding how things really happen in a gun show, such as to contradict my wife’s recent, personal experience in a gun show? Buying a gun, no less?”

“I read it in the New York Times! They said that’s how it works!”

I looked at my wife, and she at me. I continued. “So, let me see if I heard you correctly. You have never bought any gun, ever, anywhere. You read some bullshit in the New York Times, and that is canonical, for some reason. Based on some perhaps third, maybe fourth hand story, that you think you remember reading, in that noted journal of all things firearms, The New York Times, you are in a solid position to tell my adult wife, sitting right here, that things that she, in fact, and in her own direct testimony actually, really, and recently experienced, did not actually experience. Now, that means that you are either telling me my wife will lie, smiling all the while, to your face, or she is so stupid or mentally defective that she cannot tell what she actually did, at a gun show, buying a gun. Now, mind you, she successfully passed the training to qualify for, and the background check to be issued, a license to carry a concealed handgun from The Un-Named Flyover State. So, pray tell, on what basis does your superior intellect and greater knowledge in All Things Gun, lead you to accuse my wife of imbecility, or lying to your face? Please, go slowly, and show your work!”

At this point, Bob had the wit to stammer, and not answer my questions. My brother, wisely, diverted my attention with some query of firearms law esoterica.

So, therefore, I did not break a stein over Bob’s head.

Although, I still wonder if it might have improved either his manners, or his intellect. Or, perhaps, both.