Sunday, April 22, 2018

Cat Stevens – "The First Cut Is the Deepest" (1967)

’Cause when it comes to being lucky
He’s cursed

(This song’s lyrics actually say “She’s cursed,” not “He’s cursed.”  But you’ll soon understand why I revised them.)

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There are a lot of jokes that begin with a doctor telling a patient, “I’ve got good news and bad news for you.”

Here’s one example:

Doctor: I have some good news and some bad news for you.

Patient: What’s the bad news?

Doctor: We're going to have to amputate both of your legs.

Patient: What's the good news?

Doctor: The guy in the next room wants to buy your shoes. 

Here’s another example, but with a twist:

Doctor: I have some bad news and some worse news for you.

Patient:  What’s the worse news?

Doctor: You have cancer.

Patient: What's the bad news?

Doctor: You also have Alzheimer’s disease.

Patient: Well, I suppose it could be worse – I could have cancer.

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The Washington Post story about the testicle-surgery blunder made reference to the good-news-bad-news joke genre:

In 2013, Steven Hanes visited his urologist, complaining of persistent pain in his right testicle.

An ultrasound revealed that the testicle had atrophied, with scarring and damage from a previous injury, according to court documents.  And so the doctor scheduled an orchiectomy — or surgical removal of the testicle — to help alleviate Hanes’s pain.

The good news?  The orchiectomy was successful.

The bad news?  The doctor removed the wrong testicle during the surgery.

Care to guess whether that Post reporter was a man or a woman? 

The answer should be obvious – no male reporter would make a joke about a doctor surgically removing the wrong testicle from his patient.

In fact, no male reporter would make a joke about a doctor surgically removing the wrong anything from a female patient.  But apparently it’s OK to have a laugh at the expense of a man who’s had one of his balls accidentally chopped off by a clueless surgeon.  (That female reporter was probably thinking to herself “Serves the b*st*rd right!” when she wrote that piece.)

You can click here to read the entire Post story.

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Not surprisingly, Steven Hanes lawyered up and sued the doctor who removed the wrong testicle.  

Given that 11 of the 12 jurors in the Hanes case were women, it’s not surprising that the judgment Hanes won was woefully inadequate.  Thanks for nothing, ladies.

(How the hell did Hanes’s lawyer end up agreeing to a jury with 11 women on it?  Surely a skillful trial lawyer could have managed his challenges in such a way as to get more than one male on the jury.) 

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The Hanes case reminded me of a trial I had observed many years ago when I was a law student.  

It had involved a man who unexpectedly woke up from anesthesia during eye surgery.  As a result, he lost the use of one of his eyes.

The lawyer for the defense admitted his client’s liability for the injury, but argued that the victim deserved only a relatively small amount in damages.  In support of his position, he called as a witness a one-eyed scientist, who testified that losing an eye wasn’t really that big a deal – one eye was almost as good as two when it came to getting through everyday life.  

The victim’s lawyer was a famous litigator who had a field day with the defense’s argument.  He impressed upon the jury just how terrifying it would be to lose an eye – not because you couldn’t see reasonably well with just one eye, but because you would spend the rest of your life in constant fear of being plunged into permanent darkness if something happened to your remaining eye.  Not surprisingly, the jury nailed the defendants with a big judgment.

I don’t recall the male-female breakdown of the jury in that case.  It probably didn’t matter – after all, both men and women have eyes.

But women don’t have testicles.  Which may explain why the women on the Hanes jury didn’t appreciate what it would mean not only to need to get one cut off, but also to have the doctor doing the cutting mistakenly remove the healthy one instead of the diseased one.

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“The First Cut Is the Deepest” – which was written by Cat Stevens (who now calls himself Yusuf Islam) – has been covered by a number of different artists, including Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow.

Today we’re featuring Stevens’ own version of the song, which he released in 1967 on New Masters, his second studio album.  

Here’s “The First Cut Is the Deepest”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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