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Ask Dr. Salvo

April 11, 1995

Ask Dr. Salvo

Dear Doctor Salvo,

As you well know, poor 'Possum has to struggle to down an occasional beer or glass of wine his wife and internist both insist will bring down his cholesterol.

Admittedly he is more recalcitrant now that he is within spitting distance of normal levels. He tends to go dry for long periods until caught and drubbed soundly by his missus.

To escape the abuse he flees regularly to a sports club where with the best of good intentions he always promises to drink like a fish. (Here we must wonder if this is true folie a deux, cardiac neurosis by proxy or shared obsessive compulsive ritual.) Like most healthy promises, this one is good until the door slams then he lapses into his lifelong habit of guzzling plain Coca Cola.

Now this doesn't do a thing for hypercholesterinemia or anything else but it does allow 'Possum a clear head when he's down at the club listening to talk of sex, religion, politics and dirt. Dirt, for instance like what is that old curmudgeon, Salvo, up to; buying Alabama Lottery tickets is he? Well, not really, but he is going for MASA in a soon to be discussed civil rights case.

In the particular overheard conversation the discussants were a politician and a physician. The first filled out some of the details of scuttlebutt and the second provided editorial comment. For the sake of privacy we must leave out the body of the rumors but the comments were well worth the price of admission.

After listening to all the gory details our physician friend swigged gently at his beer (third one, Blue Ribbon) and said with feeling, "Well, I hope he loses...We need to do whatever we can to get rid of drunk doctors in Alabama."

'Possum looked at the beeper and cellular phone indicating the protagonist was "on call," thus "drinking on call," thus "impaired while on call," thus "a drunk doctor," though a minute and went to sit with some others who were speculating as to Janet Reno's gender. ('Possum conjectures she may have been Michael Jackson's biological father, followed by a partial sex change surgery, then Elvis' secret lover, thus an incest perpetrator post facto.)

The question is, if some spook from Montgomery calls and demands 'Possum turn in state's evidence on the doctor at the sports club, must he capitulate, or is MASA finally in the cold, cold ground? He freely admits he's more scared of it than he is of his wife, but has doubts now as to MASA's true power to destroy its enemies.


Dear Possum,

Sorry to hear that you had been ill and had to have surgery. I wish I had prepared you to instruct the surgeon as follows:

There was a young man with a hernia
Who said to his surgeon "Goldurn ya,
When you start to fiddle
Around with my middle
Don't meddle with
What don't concern ya"

As to your questions, MASA doesn't know yet what has been done to it (them) so they are as puffed up full of hubris as ever. The case, Salvo v. The Forces of Teetotalitarianism, is definitely now in the hands of The Alabama Supreme Court. Thus, despite their sturdy denial, MASA's decisions are in fact subject to review in our courts. So, Possum relax and get well. As the Japanese say, "May your marsupial pouch be full of crickets." it is too soon for a celebration, but the omens are as good as amens, we believe. "We" refer to Tim and Salvo.


Dear Doctor Salvo,

Please pass this on to Tim, your justly celebrated research associate. He never answers the phone; he dislikes the instrument, and tends to throw it on the floor when it offends him, which is all the time. Besides he is busy working on a great proposal to study the tradition of Dog Days in Latino and Creole cultures: For instance, he asks, "Is it true that Gulf Coast natives during the Dog Days never say anthing but manana?" And other such profound matters.

Anyway, I want to know why the donkey sale attracted but the phone call to 479-5359. That call was just a prank by,

Luisado de Tres Cojones

Dear Tres,

I cannot answer your question except to speculate mildly that Dog Days are here already, rather, all the time, in Mobile. Also, a lack of historical curiosity, the same having been poisoned at the spring by the supremely boring textbooks which re-write and mutilate history. For instance, Halloween. The Know-Nothings of this epoch would have us abolish that feast on grounds that it is a pagan festival, founded by the Devil, and that those who celebrate Halloween are Satanists. Now it is true that when the Christians came along the calendar was crowded with feast days in honor of numerous barbaric but jolly old gods whose main interest was hedonic. That is, "the pursuit of happiness." The Christians quickly booted out the old pagan gods and installed their own God and numerous saints whose names filled the vacancies. Thus it is very common in Latin America -- to see the corn ritual or other pre-historic ceremony being celebrated on the steps or in the nave or the cloisters of a Catholic cathedral.

So, the Halloween haters, like most fanatics have chosen to know-nothing about the final form of Halloween: Ogni Santi, All Souls Day, All Hallow's Eve, etc., Halloween. All dedicated to fond and sacred remembrances of our dead. All closely bound into the fabric of the Christian religion and gratitude for the lives of those we loved and lost. When does Satan come in? Right in the middle of high Mass on Ogni Santi??Perhaps he will show up at Thanksgiving, that religiopolitico gourmands' blowout, that hardens us for Christmas and tests out our livers. An annual standing invitation to the pleasures of greed, lust, pride, and postprandial sloth.

You will probably reassure me the whole orgy was sanctified long ago by the Pilgrims and they were Quakers, or Shakers, or some demanding religious angloconquistadores. Wrong again: Thanksgiving was thought up by Abe Lincoln in the midst of the War Against the States. It caught on like wild fire, and for decades it served to fend off unwelcome thoughts of Xmas shopping. It has lost that honored function, and now Labor Day is the beginning of the Season of Madness. (This happy time lasts till the last ball and parade of Mardi Gras.)

Woodrow Wilson was a southern gentleman, often regarded as a liberal. He was an unrepentant xenophobe and enemy to equality and fraternization of blacks and whites -- Under his reign segregation exploded and some of the worst-ever racial riots burst out. During one of them Wilson ordered in some airplanes to drop dynamite on the rioters and whatever civilians happened to be in the way.

Helen Keller was a southerner too. She is known to all, with Annie Sullivan, for her courage and intelligence in overcoming dreadful handicaps and learning to read and speak.

How many know that almost as soon as she learned of its existence she joined the Socialist party? She was an ardent advocate for it and a powerful voice in its behalf for the rest of her life.

To approach history in a new and independent way, how many of you were aware that the Vietnamese war ended when North Korea dropped the atomic bomb on South Korea? This gem was found in one of the approved history textbooks. Wake up, dear readers and take thought about truth-in-history. According to John Loening in his new book Lies My Teacher Told Me, the Thanksgiving-story about Lincoln is true. So are the ones about Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson. The last entry actually published in a textbook, appears to have been a re-write of history. Perhaps to bring it closer to the heart's desire?I have already listened to Mr. Loening for an hour. I found him to be an honest man who would like to see history truly and faithfully written -- as it is mostly not in our school textbooks.


-- April 11, 1995

The Harbinger