Ever since June 25, the trolls over at PB have been busily yukking it up over Ward Churchill’s recent surgery. Just to set the record straight on a few of things said thereon, we dropped in on the Good Professor yesterday. The following interview results:Two lies right off that bat: "Good" and "Professor."
Uh, except that I didn't get my information from AIM, Ward.
Try-Works: It was initially reported by Colorado AIM that you’d suffered an aneurysm in your leg and had been admitted to the hospital for corrective surgery. The story was then picked up by Drunkablog and, from there, found its way onto PirateBallerina. So let’s start there. How accurate was the information?
Churchill: Not very, although it’s easy to see how the AIM folks got it wrong. The aneurysm that caused alarm was abdominal. The surgeons got to it through my femoral arteries, however, so the incisions were in fact in my upper thighs [please, I just had lunch]. That said, it’s good to see John Martin openly admitting that information coming from Colorado AIM should be considered entirely accurate.
Noj is evil
Anybody who reads this blog and/or PB knows "Noj," the knowledgeable and irrepressible (not that anyone's tried to repress him, as far as I know) commenter on all things Churchillian. Well, Noj's comments on Ward's recent tribulations must have really gotten to the disgraced ex-prof, because much of the interview is devoted to an attempt to refute his (often unserious) comments:
Try-Works: “Noj” has been gloating that your undergoing surgery indicates an admission on your part that you “think Western medical knowledge is superior to indigenous healing.” Do you have a response?Stint. Invented by the Incas. God. The word is STENT, Ward--but then, you've been embarrassingly wrong in your use of medical terminology before (second graf), haven't you?
Churchill: Yeah, the argument is stupid enough to have come from Thomas Brown. The procedure I underwent involved the installation of a stint. Stints, as I recall, were invented by the Incas, who had already perfected the necessary surgical techniques long before Columbus washed up on the beach. So, it seems to me that I simply availed myself of traditional indigenous medical practice.
That's so tellingly ironic, Ward.
Try-Works: “Noj” also says s/he hopes you had “a nice Chinese immigrant doctor.” The implication, I guess, is that if your surgeon was white… You get the drift. Any comment?
Churchill: That’s even more stupid than the last one. But, the moron can rest easy, since his “hopes” were more or less fulfilled. I don’t know whether she’s an immigrant, but my lead surgeon was certainly Chinese. In fact, believe it or not, her last name is Mao.
Why all the sensitivity about drinking, Ward? Has alcohol caused major problems for you or your family in the past?
Try-Works: Okay, here’s another one from “Noj.” He was positively jubilant about your suffering “terrible tobacco and alcohol withdrawal while hospitalized.” How about it?
Churchill: Ludicrous. I’ve no idea where this idiot got the idea that I’d be undergoing “alcohol withdrawal,” since I’m about one step removed from being a tee-totaler. As to my not being allowed to smoke, well, that’s simply delusional. First of all I was in the hospital for less than 30 hours. I refused to be admitted the night before surgery, showed up at 10 in the morning for the procedure, came out from under anesthesia around 5 in the afternoon, and left the hospital directly from the ICU a little after 2 the following afternoon. I was asleep most of that time, but whenever I was awake, I had a wheelchair available for the express—that is, pre-negotiated—purpose of getting me outside any time I wanted a cigarette. We made 3 trips total during the roughly 21 hours I was in ICU. It was very nice out, so we didn’t hurry. I smoked 3 cigarettes on each occasion, for a total of nine. That’s well below my normal rate of consumption, but it was really all I wanted under the circumstances. Suffice it to say that I suffered no “tobacco withdrawal.”
Try-Works: The basis for the claim about alcohol seems to be that piece in the Weekly Standard [my linkie] written by Matt Labash, wherein it’s recounted how you favor Jameson’s Irish whiskey, and how you and he sat around getting drunk during your interview.
Churchill: Did Labash really say I drink Jameson’s? Damn. He must’ve gotten drunker that I thought. If I’m going to drink Irish whiskey, which I do from time to time, like every 3 or 4 months I have a couple of shots, it’s going to be John Powers. The night I did the interview with Labash was rather exceptional, however. He offered to buy shots of anything I wanted to drink at a fairly upscale Berkeley bar, so I sampled three pretty exotic whiskeys at $20-30 a pop, compliments of William Kristol. Labash himself had rather more than three shots, as I recall, but I expect he’s had a bit more practice in that regard than I have. In any case, he spun a pretty good yarn out of not much.
Try-Works: “Noj” has also been crowing that you “absolutely must kick tobacco” if you “don’t want to die of this thing.” True?Get the picture. Get real, Ward. You're a sedentary, heavy smoking, overweight, 60-year-old male who's just undergone surgery for an abdominal aneurysm, hereditary or not. Your doctors told you to quit smoking if you want to make it to 65. If they didn't, you should sue.
Churchill: That’s just another instance of his having no idea what he’s talking about. The type of aneurysm I had, which is fairly rare, is hereditary in something like 95% of all cases. My biological father died of one at roughly the same age I am now, as did my grandfather. Neither of them ever smoked a cigarette. Get the picture?
Unsolicited advice: try Chantix and the patch. Don't be embarrassed to use two patches (or more--I started with two and a half, but it was before Chantix) at the same time. If I can quit, so can you.
More snippishness toward Noj:
Try-Works: “Noj” exults that you’ll have to take a medication called Coumadin for the rest of your life. Is there any truth to that?Now that's hard to believe. Not even pain pills? Next, Ward's financial situation:
Churchill: I’ve no idea what s/he’s talking about, and strongly suspect that, as usual, s/he doesn’t either. Not only has nobody mentioned such a drug to me, but the fact is that I’ve been prescribed no medication at all. Why? Because the consensus is that I need none.
Try-Works: There are more medical questions I could pose, but let’s shift gears a bit. “Mia” claims that you’ll soon be afflicted with “salary withdrawal,” and both “Noj” and “Retired Bill” are concerned about when you’ll be eligible to receive retirement benefits. Care to comment?Yeah, whatever. The interview ends with a clever (if you're in high school--one of those remedial high schools for "troubled" kids) shot at Jim Paine:
Churchill: Sure. My retirement benefits began on July 25, 2007. Since then I’ve been receiving a monthly bank deposit from PERA in pretty much the same amount I was taking home before I retired. As to “salary withdrawal,” there’ll be none, since the university paid me the equivalent of year’s salary in a lump sum during the second week of August 2007. I do have to decide whether to start receiving an additional few hundred bucks a month from Social Security in about 2 years, or wait for the larger monthly amount for which I’ll be eligible in 4. I’ve no worries, either way.
See? Strange and dumb.
Try-Works: Last question. Jim Paine seems to be trying to break out as a poet. I’d like to read you his latest verse and get assessment of its aesthetic merit. Okay? Here goes, “Well said, Fred.” Whatcha think?
Churchill: Wow! I didn’t know he was capable. Just a bit more minimalization and he may actually achieve an eloquence worthy of his intellect.