The Boob Tube


So, a few years back I did an interview on depression for a local television news station.

Now, “Big whoop,” you might be thinking. In fact you might even shrug and act like you weren’t even just a tiny bit jealous.

But, I would know the truth…

I grew up watching the news on this particular station. It was a big news outlet and honestly, ever since Willy Wonka sent chocolate by television I just knew it was for me.

I was star struck!

I was finally going to play a doctor on TV. Maybe this would be my big break! Maybe now my patients would listen to me like they listened to the evil Dr. Oz?

In the days leading up to my debut, I waited anxiously for the talking points I had been promised. They never came. The night before I found myself cramming the diagnostic criteria (SIGECAPS for anyone who has not gone through med school) into my brain and scouring old scholarly journals for interesting tidbits.

On the day of interview taping, the intense traffic to the downtown studio caused me to arrive 20 minutes late. Then I waited in the studio lobby for another 30 minutes before someone came to collect me.

Fortunately, it was not a live spot.

At long last, I was sitting in a comfortable chair across from a blonde, plastic Barbie type. The hair and makeup people did a quick touch up on her as I looked on, then scurried off. I nervously wondered if maybe I should take the time to powder my own nose.

But then I realized my purse was across the studio…

Fine beads of perspiration began forming across my brow. I like to think that was due to the intense heat radiating from the stage lights, but I could have been mistaken.

She, on the other hand, was not perspiring. Not one bit.

How did she do that?

My blouse soon stuck to the skin under my suit jacket as drops of sweat coalesced and ran down my back, tickling until they reached my butt crack.

If you have ever tried to concentrate while sweat has run down to tickle your butt crack, you know it is damn near impossible.

The camera started rolling and it was time to talk about the diagnostic criteria for depression. I found myself stumbling over the acronym, stuck on the “G” of SIGECAPS.


After I explained that women suffer from depression more than men, the interviewer asked me, “Why?”

Why, indeed?

This was not on the talking points. In fact, there were no talking points!

It was then that the words came sliding out of my mouth… what I would say to a patient if we were in an exam room. Only this was not a patient, we were not in an exam room, and I was supposed to be behaving like a “professional”.

“Well, Jane (not her real name), if you give a man a uterus and a period, hormone fluctuations, pregnancy, and then forced him to breast feed, I expect the depression numbers would end up pretty much equal.”

Awkward silence.

A blink.

No emotion.

How did she do that?!?!?

“Ok. That’s all the time we have! Tune in next time when…”


65 thoughts on “The Boob Tube

  1. Did the TV person really say OK that’s all the time we have right after you said…about women and depresion? I really liked you description of stage fright. I think I would have gotten a eye brow twitch or something worse.


  2. Your TV debut seems quite appropos to me. I’m sure your candor shook up the interviewer but then the truth usually does. Nice to use the truth to choke someone occassionally whose diet is typically the soft prechewed dialogue of the media. Well done BTWC. P.S. I followed CM over here – neat post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Talk about speaking in public, I was in a Joplin (a.k.a., buckle-on-the-bible-belt city) doctor’s waiting room this morning when I overheard a conversation among three others waiting, a couple and a man. It was one of those ain’t it awful litanies in which Obama and the liberal media were being blamed for just about everything. (They hadn’t gotten to blaming him for the weather before being called, but it would have come eventually.) One of his mentioned sins was letting those people come over here from Africa to infect us with ebola. Never mind that Thomas Duncan was an American citizen and never mind that our travel policies have not become looser since the last Republican administration, and never mind that the sky isn’t actually falling.

    Like you, Victo, I felt compelled to weigh in. (Where to begin?) Unlike you, Victo, I didn’t weigh in – my wife, sitting next to me, would have killed me. She has saved me many times. πŸ™„

    These people were of an age where they were almost surely on Medicare, that infamous socialist program, but to hear them one would think the president were the evil one himself. This kind of mind set is a durable meme in this part of the country and, I submit, only a cataclysmic turn of events will ever change it. What won’t change it is the kind of media these people have been listening to, and it ain’t liberal. Depressing.


  4. I’m a journalist and I’m ashamed of an interviewer who doesn’t know how to react to such an inspired answer. She shouldn’t have that job. You did great.


  5. Sweat o sweat! Why doth thou reduce an intelligent medical practitioner to a common sense, practical person? Why, pray tell o sweat whom we also name perspiration? πŸ˜€
    I laughed myself happy with this one!


  6. Amen! Hormones indeed. I have been bringing up hormone fluctuations in regards with depression (and more) with doctors (physical, mental, mineral, vegetable…) for years and I keep getting blank looks. Like, am I really all that crazy or is it situational things combined with menopause?” Why do you want to push everything into an either or, can’t it be both?” Yada. I get looks. Shup woman… Take your pill.

    I would have been worried about getting out of that chair knowing I had sweat trickling around my butt crack because then everyone would see the spot and know and… whew.


  7. Pingback: The “Wonderful” Wizard of Oz | Behind the White Coat

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