George Point lives in Lawrenceville and is a regular contributor to U.S. 1.

The Death of the Med Masque

For decades you only knew us as bit players in medical melodramas.
In Medic, Richard Boone wore us nobly whenever he operated.
Vince Edwards mumbled, with or without us, through every episode of Ben Casey.
Richard Chamberlain’s delicate beauty radiated through us in Dr. Kildare.
John Beradino’s eyes burned intently above us in General Hospital.
Chad Everett and James Daly sparred over anesthetized patients in the ER while wearing us.
The surgeons of M.A.S.H. units carried on relentlessly while we suffered the indignity of spattered “blood.”
For 333 episodes, ersatz E.R. medicos donned and discarded us by the thousands.
Grey’s Anatomy wouldn’t be Grey’s Anatomy without us.
Then we finally began to get the recognition and respect we deserve.
For 18 torturous months, many of you discovered that you needed us.
Without us, you were forced to cower before the glow of your screens, cut off from human contact.
You could not leave your home or enter a market without us
Cities, states, countries fought to possess us.
For a time, we could not be obtained at any price.
Charlatans counterfeited us and reaped windfalls.
Politicians used us in the crassest ways possible, as only politicians can.
Some persuaded you to reject our protection, condemning you and your fellow citizens to a grim death.
Now, you speak of an “opening up” and signs of a “return to normal.”
Still, many refuse the measures that would protect you.
Measures that would once again relegate us to the world of medical professionals and props in O.R. dramas.
Many of our brethren have already been cast aside, suffering the ignominy of the desk drawer, the trash bin, the supermarket parking lot.
Despite all the suffering, the death, the loss, the permanent damage, the science, you haven’t learned a damned thing.