The Malingerers Handbook - Living Off the Fruits of Someone Elses Labor
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Please do not bother the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data, they are busy enough the way it is. Throughout my life I have been called many things: jerk, goofball, freak, dirt bag, idiot, dolt, cretin, moron — and these were from my own family. But the one epithet which stands out the most was when a handful of intimately close individuals called me a Professional Malingerer.
I believe that this moniker was meant to be an insult towards me.
So I decided to look the word up in the dictionary. To feign illness: to pretend to be ill, especially in order to avoid work. Now I must admit that I have spent my entire life projecting the illusion that I am the busiest unemployed guy on earth. But ironically, I have never once feigned illness to avoid work; I will have to try that technique sometime. Regardless of the actual definition for the word malinger; Malingerer seems to be the accepted term used when describing anyone who is viewed as lazy, a loafer, a shirker, an idler, a do-nothing, slacker, freeloader or goldbricker.
I proudly state that I am fully eligible to hold any and all of these titles. I have countless times, used and benefitted from each of the rules for malingering that you are about to learn. These rules have allowed me to enjoy my comfortable and cushy lifestyle without doing much work. I feel that I have been sent here to enjoy a lifelong vacation. So not only am I a malingerer, I also consider myself an indolent hedonist. I am without doubt, a U.
For example, I have wanted to write this handbook for a very long time but I never got around to doing it. Not that I am a procrastinator, I just never had enough free time available - I was simply too busy doing other projects and helping out all of my friends with their projects.
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As I further thought this plan out, I realized that having someone else type for me would mean that I must dictate its content. This required me to go shopping. Thus, I have been so extremely busy looking for a device to record my words of wisdom into, that I never got any of my other work done. So I decided that I should just do the typing myself. I met several people who had literally left Egypt and relived the journey of the ancient Israelites, looking for a place that was wide enough to allow them to breathe freely.
They made the crossing on foot and under attack from all sides, from a modern day Amalek of torturers, rapists and extortionists. Their destination was the modern Israel.
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One of them, a young Darfuri man named Usumain, took the analogy a step further. He recalled being in Egypt, having already rejected Libya and Chad as suitable places to remain after fleeing for his life from the conflict in Darfur. One night he was watching television and saw a program on Al Jazeera that told of the history of the Jews, including the Exodus from Egypt, and up through the genocide of the Holocaust.
That was eleven years ago, when he was fourteen years old. I met a year-old Usumain in Tel Aviv this month, strolled with him through the streets and had lunch with him.
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During those couple of hours, one thing became clear: there is a mirror image to my metaphor. This encounter with Usumain turned that concept on its head — the Exodus from Egypt can also be an experience from which one needs to heal.
Among the ancients, some Israelites preferred the known devil of slavery in Egypt to the unknown of a God taking them out into the wilderness. Another Exodus, to another possible promised land, may be just around the corner. Tranquility is hard to come by elsewhere in the world as well. Cynics in wealthy countries from Central Europe to the US have suggested that the migrants should have sought asylum in the first country they came to, as if this would somehow solve the problem perhaps it would — it would save the wealthy nations from having to acknowledge how fortunate we are.
A laughable notion: should Sudanese refugees seek asylum in Chad, one of the two or three poorest nations on Earth? Should the Congolese refugees that left in expect a homecoming in Rwanda, a country that had literally months before been torn apart by a genocide? Refugees fleeing Somalia in the s and s ended up in refugee camps in Yemen — I wonder how their asylum cases would be going right about now?
Thousands of others are still in limbo. But even when the political drama reaches a conclusion, there is an internal drama of nightmares, anxiety, depression and flashbacks that continues. It is not unique to the Sinai refugees, be they men from Darfur or women from Eritrea, but it is a further reminder that an exodus is both a journey to healing and a journey from which one must heal.
Women like Aeden support themselves and their children by producing baskets in a traditional style, which the gallery buys from them no-strings-attached and sells to keep the doors open, the lights on, and food on the table for the kids in the afternoons. But Kuchinate, I learned, is about more than livelihood. It is its own form of healing. In a culture where unloading your troubles on a stranger with an impassive face is a laughable idea, the gallery brings together women who become fast friends and can confide in each other about the horrors they have experienced.
Both the work, and the comraderie that it creates, are their own form of therapy that may be more relevant than all the CBT in the world. Diddy Mymin Kahn, joined with an Eritrean nun that everyone calls Sister Aziza to produce a book, A Guide to Recovery for Survivors of Torture , [iii] written in English and Tigrinya with culturally relevant drawings and blank pages for notes, that walks a survivor through the process of healing moment-by-moment, helping them to feel safe, conquer basic fears like agoraphobia, and combat anger, depression and despair.
There are 60 million people in the world today estimated to be in the midst of writing their own Exodus narrative. It will be because of individual resilience, and because of the embrace of intimate friends like Kuchinate, that they will someday be able to complete their journeys and recover from their travels. Day to day, I strive to provide that embrace in my work. I invite you to join me.
Transcultural Psychiatry , Vol. Diddy Mymin Kahn and Sr. Azezet Habtezghi Kidane, tr. Mebrhatu Baraki and Kebedom Mengistu, ill. Karen Brockman. A Guide to Recovery for Survivors of Torture. No, not that Jesse James. He already lives in infamy. I mean the tight end Jesse James, number 81 for the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Moses Maimonides were alive today, what would he think of a doctor who visited his grave to seek inspiration? Only in Israel. A few days ago I upgraded my mobile phone. I transferred years of accumulated data and apps in nearly seamless fashion and can now unlock the thing with my face.
Yet the most amazing thing I witnessed in the process of purchasing this magical device had nothing to do with technology. A man in a t-shirt and sunglasses appeared in the doorway of the store where I was making the exchange and called out to the store manager. At some point in that conversation the fellow with the shades hurled a couple of expletives and the bearded guy — who responded by tossing him out of the store.
In fact, that medication did not even come in the amount they were asking for. Over and over my co-workers sent me tasks asking for clarification — and over and over I repeated what they already knew to be true: I am absolutely certain of the dose of this medicine, I am not prescribing more than this amount, and I already sent in a prescription for the previous amount.
About to enter a room to see a scheduled patient, I decided to take a detour to the office, thinking I would stride in, put my doctor foot down, show the person the error of their ways and extract an apology to the staff, who were feeling abused and demoralized. It says…. I trailed off into silence. An old prescription for two pills a day of the next to highest dose of the medication, adding up to precisely what the patient had asked for, stared me in the face.
I even had a letter on file from the specialist who had recommended this unconventional dose but was no longer able to prescribe it themselves. This time I was the one who dropped the unintentional expeletive. This is my fault. You were right and I trusted my memory instead of looking more carefully.
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This morning I was struck by one line in particular:. Some context: this portion of the Torah contains difficult material. It has the very disturbing trial by ordeal of the adulteress, and the somewhat perplexing rules for taking a Nazirite vow. But for me, the most difficult part of the reading is the line I just quoted — not difficult to understand, but to follow.