Steve-O-In-NJ has been a veritable Samuel Pepys of late, and there are more than one potential COTD in his recent output. But I’m a sucker for personal anecdotes, so let’s start with this, Steve-O’s Comment of the Day on “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Dr. Mary Rudyk,” in which a hospital official advocated lying and fear-mongering “for the greater good”…
“It’s not about changing anyone’s mind, it’s about changing their behavior.
“Many years ago when I had just finished law school and was studying for the bar, still living at home, my mother wanted me to take my aged (86) grandfather to a reunion at his college in MA. I really couldn’t afford to give up four days of study to chauffeur a man who was slipping mentally four hours each way and babysit him while he did nothing but drink himself under the table and repeat embarrassing stories and dirty jokes (his favorite was the one about the misunderstanding in French between a hat and a condom) that my grandmother would always stop him from telling while she was alive.
“Any other time, ok, but while studying for the bar was too big of an ask, and I said sorry, but no, maybe she could ask another family member (there were others). However, Mom was the kind of person who, once she got it into her head that she wanted YOU to do something that she thought was important enough, dammit, she was going to make YOU do it, come high water, hurricane, or the end of the world.
“So she stepped back for the moment, only to renew the request, except it was now more like a demand, two days later in the middle of dinner. Once again I held my ground. Twice more she demanded I do this, each time when I wasn’t expecting her to ask again. Finally she told me, “This is not a request, this is a requirement. Either you do this, or you have two days to pack your bags and move out. I don’t care if you have nowhere to go, I don’t care if you have almost no money, I don’t care if you fail the bar a hundred times over, I don’t care if you have to live in your car or in the gutter, but THAT IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IF YOU DON’T DO THIS!” It was a financial and social gun to the head.
“So I resigned myself to doing it.
“We might as well not have bothered with that fight, because a week later my grandfather suffered a heart attack which almost killed him, and then a stroke, while undergoing bypass surgery, that paralyzed one side of his body (I don’t remember which, it was so long ago now). He wasn’t going anywhere, least of all to a reunion. He lay in bed, first in rehab (which did not a damn thing for him) then at home after his coverage ran out, until his body shut down completely around Halloween of that year.
“However, I never forgot that discussion with my mother. A couple of years later, when I struck out on my own, I reminded Mom of that fight, and told her in no uncertain terms, “I’m an adult and a lawyer now. I’m not your servant, and I’m not a twelve-year-old who has to come running every time you yell across the house like a fishwife. I do you favors at my sufferance, and if you EVER talk to me like you talked to me that time again, it will be the last time you talk to me in this world or the next!”
“Mom backed off me, and cut the demands back to a bare minimum until she was dying herself and starting to slip mentally due to the pain-killers and the pain they could only reduce, not quell.
“My point is that if someone who has more power than you decides they want you to do something, and they want it badly enough not to let you say no, eventually they stop demanding, scaring, and threatening. Eventually they take the gloves off and just force it from you, putting a metaphorical or literal gun to your head if that’s what it takes. We’re not there yet, but that time is coming in this country.
15 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Dr. Mary Rudyk””
Meet my son, Grant Viktor Bowen Marshall. Early on in his childhood, we learned that if Grant didn’t want to do something, no threatened punishment would make him do it. Forget threats of spanking, or being grounded, or losing privileges, or having to do chores. He’d just say, “No, I won’t do it, and you can’t make me.” (He was the same way with teachers.) Once, a few days before Christmas, I told him he had to apologize to his mother or we would have no Christmas that year. Grand loved Christmas, but he still said, “Fine. Go ahead. I’m not apologizing.. I was right, and she was wrong.”
So I had to cancel Christmas, making the whole family miserable. “I’m impressed,” he told me later. “I didn’t think you’d do it.” But he has never changed
My father was like that, and I am like that about 95% of the time, but Grant is in a different league. I have come to respect and admire that about him. No weenie he.
Is his favorite story, “Bartleby the Scrivener”?
Still, to Steve-O’s comment, she was probably right.
Sometimes, there are things you just gotta do. Being an adult does not get you out of them, and it does not get you being told you gotta do it.
I think when you’re an adult, YOU decide the things you “just gotta do.” At some point the other people in your life stop deciding them for you.
Indeed, taking on the responsibility of making your own decisions is the defining feature of adulthood, is it not?
Yet, you can still fuck it up, even if you get to decide it all.
I’ll have to ask him if he’s read it. Kudos for the Melville reference!
What a great reference and a great laugh that story was. Who reads Melville anymore? Not enough people, I say.
To be frank, this question ain’t none of my damn business, but I feels I gots to know.
Was he right, and was she wrong?
Does it matter now?
Only to my sense of story, Steve-O. Only to my sense of story.
No. He was wrong.
I feel this is what they are trying to do with weekly testing for the unvaccinated. Make it extremely unpleasant to be unvaccinated.
One minor problem, I would actually prefer to have a swab stuck up my nose once a week to prove to I don’t have covid, rather than wear a mask to “just in case” I might. I am fully vaccinated, of course, but our medical overlords just don’t seem to understand that vaccination plus masking results in non-compliance with one or the other. They can’t help themselves
Great comment, and not the first time I’ve heard similar.
Eventually they take the gloves off and just force it from you, putting a metaphorical or literal gun to your head if that’s what it takes. We’re not there yet, but that time is coming in this country.
This is where the Democrats want to be right now, but they have just enough dissent in their ranks to make it a heavy lift. In your story, they would still be in the bargaining phase of this syndrome.
They may not get here this cycle. But they will be in power again, and eventually, they will get there. The question is, what will we do when that happens?
I’m sure I don’t know, but I’m not sanguine.
They only aren’t there because they didn’t reach 2008 levels of success last year and Biden has neither the charisma nor the smarts of the last two Democratic presidents. They also can’t weaponize the pandemic or the economy or race relations without hurting themselves. Now they’re the ones having to say the pandemic is under control when it isn’t, the economy is rebounding when it’s a mess, and this nation is a place of harmony and justice, when it’s obviously coming apart at the seams. However, Gavin Newsom just showed that a lot of people won’t change their vote no matter what, and that the nation’s biggest state is beyond hope of bringing back to any kind of moderation. The same may be true in several of the other biggest states. My concern is what if the Democrats reach 2008 levels of success again? The only thing standing between them and killing the filibuster is their own people leaving them two votes short, and the only thing standing between some really crazy legislation and the president’s desk right now is the filibuster.