“Doctor, I have two big problems. First, I would like a tumor removed from my brain; it’s just a tiny tumor I think. It has been causing everything to taste like strawberries and to smell like patchouli. And then there are the frequent outbursts of cursing and for some reason, I’ve developed an unhealthy hatred of squirrels; well basically anything with a furry tail. Also, I’m fairly certain I voted for Ralph Nader, again.

I’ve budgeted $1,000 and am willing to take two days off of work, but only if you can do this in the next 24 hours.”

“That does seem like a problem we could solve, but perhaps I should explain to you a little bit about how the surgery works. First, we will have to knock you out. We used to do this with a hammer and only charge $14.99, but sadly the laws have changed, and so we now employ an anesthetist from an accredited (non-party) medical school and unfortunately that will run you $2,500 plus her lunch (she usually requests Chipotle and always adds guacamole).

Then we’ll need some special tiny instruments that we get from Sweden. With overnight shipping and a rush charge, we can get these for $250.

And you’ll want us to have lights to see your brain with and a supply of blood to replace all that will drain out of your ears and so that’s another $500.

And then there’s the nurse who holds your skull back so that I can see and then we need a special room to do this in and then there is, of course, my fee. I can reduce it a bit but as I’m the expert and the one who will return you to normal, I’ll need to charge you $5,000.

Even if we rush this surgery, we won’t be able to perform it in the next two days. You see, other tumors approached us before you did. But, the work we do on those will prepare us even better when we get around to cutting your brain open.

But, in the end, I can guarantee that you’ll regain your sense of smell and taste, and you will be able to control your swearing (at least as much as you want to, ha ha). The squirrel issue may require a visit to a psychiatrist as I’m fairly certain that’s unrelated to your brain tumor. And Ralph Nader? I think he died.

I must alert you however that once we peel back your skull, there might be another issue or two to tackle and then there would be the time to handle it rather than cracking open your skull a second time. And at that point, your hair is definitely going to grow back funny.

HOW DOES ALL THAT SOUND?”

“Well gee, I didn’t know there was so much involved with a simple brain surgery. It’s just a small tumor.”

“Yes, you’re correct. We could certainly do it another way, much faster, much cheaper and the risks to you would only increase seven-fold.

We have a guy on retainer in an undisclosed nearby country (the pilot will only be given the location at the last minute) who is armed with an Exacto knife, an ice cream scooper, some rubbing alcohol, and 300 grit sandpaper. He charges much less than we do. We call him simply Mr. Z.

He’s not a doctor in the traditional sense but he does know a lot about potions, has done some remarkable work on squirrels and apparently his homemade beer made from roots and bark is quite refreshing. I’ve sent a few patients to him over the years and the ones that survived seemed pleased with their experience. The last one I saw said that she was healed though she tended to walk in little loops instead of straight ahead.”

“That’s a lot to think about. Let me take another look at my budget and see if I can take some time off work next week instead.”

“You mentioned you had two problems, what was the other one?”

“Oh yeah, I almost forgot, do you know anyone who creates amazing websites?”

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