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Insults Are the Best Medicine

May 29, 1996

Forget that lovely thought about doctors and dentists all hanging together as kindred healers singing "Kumbaya." Ask a doctor or a dentist for the best joke they can remember, and chances are their favorite will insult a colleague, with orthopods taking the biggest hit.

*

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?

Just one, but it requires many visits. And the lightbulb really has to want to change.

*

What are the three longest years of an orthopedic surgeon's training?

First grade.

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An internist, a psychiatrist, a surgeon and a pathologist go duck hunting. Only one at a time can shoot.

So the internist goes first. He sees the ducks approaching but waits to shoot. "They look like ducks," he says. "But I don't know, I just wish I had more information." Before he can shoot, the ducks fly by.

Next up: the psychiatrist. "I think they are ducks," he says as more ducks approach. "I feel as if they are ducks. It seems like they are ducks." As he talks, the ducks fly away.

When more ducks appear, the surgeon steps up, shoots half a dozen times in quick succession, then turns to the pathologist.

"Go see if those are ducks!" he barks.

*

Why do dentists often seem moody?

Because they are always down in the mouth.

*

A wealthy industrialist dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter greets him. "I want to meet God," says the industrialist, impatiently.

"You'll have to wait," St. Peter tells him. "God is busy right now."

Just then, a guy who looks a lot like God rushes across the hallway and into another room--only he's dressed in a white coat with a stethoscope hanging around his neck.

"Was that God?" the industrialist quizzes St. Peter.

"Yes," says Peter, looking embarrassed. "You'll have to excuse him. He likes playing doctor."

*

A neurosurgeon preparing to do a brain transplant tells the patient he has three choices.

"You can have a concert pianist's brain for $100 an ounce, a gynecologist's brain for $500 an ounce or an orthopedist's brain for $2,000 an ounce."

"Why such a difference?"

"Do you know how many orthopedic surgeons it takes to find a pound of brain?"

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Why did the dentist get in trouble for playing practical jokes?

Because he pulled too many good ones.

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How do you hide a dollar bill from an orthopedic surgeon?

Put it in a book.

From a radiologist?

Pin it to a patient.

From a plastic surgeon?

You can't hide a dollar bill from a plastic surgeon.

* Contributors: California Dental Assn.; Dr. Kevin Ehrhart, orthopedic surgeon at St. John's Hospital and Health Center; Dr. Brian Johnston, emergency medicine specialist and president of medical staff, White Memorial Medical Center; Dr. Gregory Kay, cardiac surgeon and director of the cardiac surgery unit, Good Samaritan Hospital; Dr. Marvin H. Leaf, Rancho Mirage dentist; Dr. Amy Rosenman, Santa Monica gynecologist; Dr. Frank Vertosick Jr., associate chief of neurosurgery, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh; Dr. Steven Zax, plastic surgeon, Century City Hospital.

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