You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. You have nothing to hide if you have nothing to fear.
So fear nothing and you need not hide. Hide nothing and you need not fear.

The motto of the Department of Homeland Decency

Friday, December 19, 2008

The secret diaries of a Miss World contestant

Should we as a species be embarrassed if Miss World gets a little chubby? While watching the recent Miss World Scholarship Pageant, it seems obvious we should. In the interest of helping all our readers with this important question, we came across this diary and now publish it. The diarist will remain anonymous.

Dear Diary
My hips grow an inch if I just walk by an ice cream parlor!! Really!! The judges laughed when I mentioned this at our swim suit competition rehearsal this morning. But the other girls knew what I was talking about. After rehearsal five of us went out and had lunch. The waiter seemed mad because we only had water. To make him feel better, I ordered a wedge of lime.

Dear Diary
The girls are all so nice! This is truly the experience of a lifetime. But I am at such a disadvantage!! I, after all, grew up in the Midwest, eating beef until I was 11. I’m sure that’s why girls from Third World countries do so well year after year. Beef must be awfully expensive in some of those countries!! So they get to eat healthy foods like rice and carrots—that gives those girls an edge. I think when I get my communications degree I will do a story on that. If mothers out there want their girls to win beauty pageants, they really should not feed them beef in their formative years.

Dear Diary,
Celebrities stop by to watch our rehearsals. Today Mr. and Mrs. ____ came by. They are so beautiful! And so thin for people their age; they must be at least 30! They walked by me and I got so nervous that I threw up the carrot I had for dinner last night. The other girls all think he is right when he says a beauty queen should stay thin for her whole reign. It’s like a contract she makes with the public everywhere. “If I buy a Mercedes,” Mr. ____ said at one point last night, “is it fair if they deliver a Volkswagen to me?” Not only is he really thin for someone his age, but he’s smart, too!

Dear Diary,
I practiced answering questions with some of the other girls. We make them up and ask one of the others and she has to answer it seriously. It tests your poise and intelligence. I was asked, “If you could do any man’s job, what would you choose?” And I said, “I would want to be in charge of airline safety, because my mother is afraid to fly and could not be here tonight because of her fear. And if I were in charge of airline safety, I could promise her a safe trip here or anywhere else in the world. I owe my mother that!” And I was so excited I wanted to throw up the ice cube I had chewed on earlier, but I didn’t, because there was a line of girls at the bathroom who were all very excited, too.

Dear Diary,
I didn’t do very well, but I made great friends. Friends I will know for life. After the pageant we were talking about how difficult it is to do what we do and how the world just does not really understand. And one girl, very discouraged, said she would never have plastic surgery again. It hurt so much, she said, and the disappointment now hurts even more. But I told her—because she is now my very best friend—that if what we do gives just one of the hundreds of millions of people in our international viewing audience a glimmer of hope, then we should do it. Again and again!!!! Somewhere someone’s life will surely be better for our efforts here tonight. I really believe that!!! (I got so excited from this thought that I threw up my breath mint.) I think I will do a story on that when I get my communications degree!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Ask a question that stumps the HMO Accountant and win an all-expense paid trip to the ER of your choice!*

Dear HMO Accountant: Why do you let people die, when you could easily pay for treatment that would keep them living for many years and make many people happy as a result? Sincerely, Mourning in Memphis

Dear Mourning in Memphis: We have the greatest health care system in the world and in order to keep it at such an optimum level, some have to suffer. They have to “throw themselves on the grenade,” as it were. We realize that not everyone is cut out to be a hero. So part of our job as health insurance industry is to help people become heroes. They must die so others don't have to. Because of their sacrifices, this, the greatest health care system in the universe, will still be there when others need it. Thanks for your question. Good luck. And stay healthy!

Dear HMO Accountant: My doctor says I think too much. He says if I didn't think so much, I wouldn't get sick. I'm thinking about war, the price of gas, Lindsay Lohan's sad family life, airline executives not getting their big bonus checks, and all these other things. I think about these things, then I get sick. Is there a 12-step program for people like me? Sincerely, Thoughtful in Toledo

Dear Thoughtful in Toledo: I used to think too much, too. Then I got cable TV. Now I can watch Lucy or Hawaii 5-0 or CSI or Walker Texas Ranger any hour of the day. As a result I'm happy, healthy, and proud of my work that helps keep our health care system the best in the cosmos. You could do that, too. And then you wouldn't be sick so much and we wouldn't have to turn down all your requests for payment.

Dear HMO Accountant: Thank you so much for all your work to resolve the crisis in health care costs. I want to do my part, too. I recently was promoted at work to the position of assistant to the assistant manager of a major national convenience store chain. I don't make enough money now to buy my own health insurance policy, but I hope to someday. In the meantime, my job is very stressful and as a result I am having chest pains that won't go away and that seem to be getting worse. Should I go to the ER? Or should I wait a few days and see if the pains go away? Sincerely, Barb in the Bronx.

Dear Barb in the Bronx,
Thank you for your support of our efforts to bring a rationality to the health care debate. Speaking of rationality, have you ever wondered why the world “ration” appears in the word “rational”? It's because to be rational is to ration. Another way of looking at this is: to “ration” health care is to provide “rational” health care. Dictionaries everywhere support me here. So it would be rational of you to hold off on going to the ER. Wait a few days. Then, if you really do have a problem, they will know it as soon as you get to the ER and they won't waste any time or money with expensive tests that you would just have to pay for anyway since you don't have health insurance. Good luck! Stay healthy! By the way, it is too bad you didn't stump me here, because I would have gladly paid for your trip to the ER. You're the kind of client we in the health insurance industry will fight over!

Dear Health Plan Accountant: I just learned that some companies are moving to Canada because they don't have to pay as much for health insurance up there. Is that true? If it is, maybe we should change things down here so we can keep our industries here. I get a headache just thinking about this. Sincerely, Angry in Akron.

Dear Angry in Akron: Our health care system is expensive for a reason: Because it is second to no one's. Personally, I don't think it is expensive enough. Look at it this way. If everyone drove a Cadillac, driving one wouldn't be so special. But if most people are driving rusty, dented cars that don't always start, well, that Cadillac is pretty special. SO, no, we don't want Canada's system here. If we did, having good health insurance wouldn't be so special. So take two aspirin for that headache and get plenty of rest. Good luck! And Stay healthy!

Dear Health Plan Accountant: Our knees hurt, our backs hurt, our digestion is bad and we itch. We just sit around all day complaining and now we can't afford glasses or prescription drugs. Medicare is no help, and now the HMO dumped us. What can we do? Sincerely, Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad: Ah, the golden years. How wonderful for you two to have lived a long fulfilling life and now you are rewarded with these Golden Years. Personally, I can't wait until I get to retire. But as you know, I play an important role in our great country, and because of that can't get away, even for a little vacation to come and see you. But I'll send you a small check. That should help you out. I don't want to give you too much – you know the old saying: give a man a fish and he eats today but teach him out to fish and he eats a lot more. Or something like that. So I don't want to take from you your independence, but I'll send a little money along to you to help you out. It's the least I can do. Good luck! And stay healthy!!!

*(Subject to pre-approval. Plans to visit ER must be submitted six weeks in advance. Offer not valid on holidays or Saturdays. Normal limitations for pre-existing conditions apply. Not transferable. Not valid with other offers/coupons/discounts. Expires two weeks from issuance. By using this offer, holder promises not to sue anyone associated with ER or “Stump the HMO Accountant.”)