February 21, 2018

The Ballad of Joey Harbaugh

January 30, 2013

Joey Harbaugh ties off the final surgical stitch and the patient is rolled away into the recovery room.  Joey pulls off his bloodied gloves and drops them into the bin and unties his surgical mask and speaks to the anesthetist.  “Wow!  That temporal lobe was a doozy, wasn’t it?”

“It was, Dr. Harbaugh.  But you handled it.  You always handle it, Dr. Joey Harbaugh.”

Joey nods and smiles.

“Thanks, Binky.  But it’s not about me.  It’s about the team.  And the patient.”

Binky has a tear of worship and love in his eye.

“Yes, Dr. Harbaugh.”

Joey pats Binky on the shoulder and walks down the long hospital corridors stretching his aching body.  He high-fives several orderlies, winks at adoring candy stripers and graciously accepts a bouquet of roses from a small woman in a raincoat and thanks her with a kiss on the cheek and a few words in French.  Joey Harbaugh finds his way to the surgeon’s lounge and sits down to enjoy a Zagnut and a Fresca when a hospital administrator approaches.

“Joey!  You did it!  I just came from the recovery area and spoke to the President of Botswana’s family and they’re thrilled!  He’s going to live!  The peace treaty will be saved and millions of people will have peaceful and more prosperous lives.  It’s your 1,463rd life-saving surgery since 2009 alone and this one was the very best!”

Joey Harbaugh swallows a bit of Zagnut and washes it down with Fresca and smiles at the man with the fish tie.

“Thanks, Mr. Poe.  But you know, I don’t save anyone.  It’s teamwork.  I just help the team to help the patient who then saves themselves and then, hopefully, brings peace and joy to Botswana and perhaps 1/20th of the world’s population.”

Mr. Poe smiles and nods.

“Joey, you’re more than a brilliant surgeon, a mensch and a crafty backgammon player.  You’re a leader, you’re a savior, you’re a quarterback…”

Joey stares daggers into Mr. Poe who clutches his clipboard in terror.

“I mean…Dr. Joey…I’m sorry, I, uh, meant to say…”

Joey Harbaugh smiles.

“Just kiddin’, buddy.  Want some Zagnut?”


  1. Zagnut, I remember that candy bar from the ’70’s. It’s apparently still around, based on a quick reference check. I liked it and bought it a few times, but I really forgot about it in the ensuing decades. That’s probably because it doesn’t contain chocolate, hee heeeeeee….

Speak Your Mind