July 5, 2008

How to Deny the Vaccine Autism Connection: A Play in One Act

Raining Pianos: A Short Course on Anecdotal Evidence
By Lenny Schafer, 2003

Patient: Doctor, my son has this terrible headache. He's dizzy
and he's been fainting a lot. He says his arm is numb.

Dr. Steinway: What happened?

Patient: We were walking down the street and a piano fell on
his head.

Dr. Steinway: I see. Mmmm. Anything else happen at the time
that might have caused this?

Patient: What do you mean, "anything else?" A PIANO FELL ON HIS

Dr. Steinway: Perhaps, but that's only a temporal coincidence.
Several epidemiological studies done by eminent scientists have failed
to find a connection between pianos and concussions. The cause could
be any number of environmental factors. Kids get bumped by stuff all
the time. Only a rare few get concussions. Maybe your child has a
genetically predisposed soft skull. Any family history of concussions?
Münchhausen by Proxy? Hypochondria?

Patient: But I was there! I saw it falling from the second
story of a piano factory! I couldn't get him out of the way fast
enough and he caught a piece of the candelabra. If it's not the
piano, what else could it possibly be?

Dr. Steinway: Hysteria, guilt. What you're telling me is
called "anecdotal evidence". Such evidence can be either evaluated
for further research, or completely dismissed as useless without even
looking at it, depending on the interests or bias of the researchers.
The important thing is that it isn't pianos . . .hey wait, where are
you going, we're not through. . .

Patient: I'm going to look for care somewhere else, and to see
a lawyer to sue the piano company. . . and maybe even you.

Dr. Steinway: [to himself] Uh huh, lawyers. I thought someone
might have put her up to this. Lawyers. . .taking advantage of
ignorant hysterics looking for something to blame for their woes. . .
The problem's not pianos, the problem is lack of tort reform. . .she
wouldn't even let her kid have one of our complimentary "We're Silly
for Eli Lilly" clinic balloons.

1 comment:

K Fuller said...

Love that! Love Lenny Schafer!
I get silence and shrugging shoulder's whenever I ask "what besides vaccines do all of these children have in common?"
If it looks like the piano is responsible over and over and over, it's the piano, even though the piano most times plays good things.