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I Bet That Tastes Good

A short story by Jonathan Mitchell

I was typing away on the computer, hard at work at my medical transcription job, typing away, struggling to make a living wage. I was paid on production, 7 cents a line to be exact which was an absolute slave wage for such exacting, difficult labor. I had to do 1200 lines a day in order to make a paltry $10.50 an hour.

I worked for a dozen different physicians at the Acme Multi- Specialty Medical group. In this era of managed care, a small handful of insurance companies that you could count on the fingers of one hand of which the pinky finger had been amputated had now taken over essentially the entire practice of medicine. They were constantly trying to cut costs. Originally they had paid me an hourly wage of $12/hour but now they had switched me over to production, cutting my salary to $10.50 an hour. They had also taken away my medical insurance. Now this had to be one of the greatest ironies in the world that I worked in the medical profession yet I could have no medical insurance of my own. If they could cut further I did not see how.

Dr. Blasubaramian, the cardiologist from Bombay India, and head physician of Acme Multispecialty Medical, came to my desk and asked me to step into his office. Wondering what was afoot, I trudged reluctantly into his office.

"It's bad news," Dr. Blasubaramian started out. "We have decided to replace you with a voice recognition computer programmed to do medical transcription."

I grimaced, I had heard of these machines. Dr. Blasubaramian handed me a brochure from the voice recognition computer company starting out with the words 'Stop High Transcription Costs'.

The next day, Dr. Blasubaramian met with the sales rep from the voice recognition company who had set up the computer software to do his dictation as well as the 11 other physicians who worked for the group. Dr. Blasubaramian decided to test the machine out in a strange way before signing the contract and handing the sales rep the check. Like most physicians who were not proctologists, Dr. Blasubaramian hated to touch a patient's anus or do any type of anal or rectal exam, this made him think of what he could say to test the machine.

Dr. Blasubaramian started to dictate into the machine, "Rectal has good tone". The words appeared on the screen, 'Rectal has good tongue'. Dr. Blasubaramian smiled a bit to the sales rep. "I bet that tastes good," he said. "I don't think we will be able to use your product." Blasubaramian then showed the rep to the door.

The next day my phone rang. I picked it up on the first ring.

"This is Dr. Blasubaramian, we would like you to come back and work for us."

"I thought you would," I said, smiling a bit.

The End

Copyright 2002, Jonathan Mitchell - All Rights Reserved.