My Uncle Abe and Health Care–The ill fitting suit

My uncle Abe was born in Russia. He immigrated here in the early 1900s and had a successful career as building contractor. As he aged he became a tough sometimes nasty old guy who enjoyed telling stories from the “old country.” He would speak with a slight Russian accent and either have a stinking Optima cigar in his mouth or rotting in a nearby ashtray. He would often dance around our living room to more graphically make his point.

I recall the following story, which will suffer immeasurably in my retelling–when he told the story it took a half hour:

There once was a man in the old country who needed a new suit of clothes. He like bargains so he often went from place to place shopping for the best deal. After carefully comparing prices and features he ordered the best suit he could find at the lowest price. The tailor told him it would be ready in one week.

One week passed and he returned to pick up the new suit. He put it on and found some problems. The left arm was a little too short; the right leg too long; the fit in the crotch too tight and the three button suit jacket too tight to close.

He complained bitterly. The tailor however suggested that he simply pull in his left arm a little, extend his right leg a little, wear the pant a little low and suck in his belly to allow the jacket to close. The man walked around looking like a cripple. The tailor pronounced the suit fit as perfect and demanded payment.

Medicynical Note: In regard to health reform, we are asked, metaphorically, to pull in our arm, extend our leg, wear our pants low and suck it up so that we can have a “perfect” fit. I’m uncertain whether it’s worth it.


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