Medical patients who are prodded and poked by doctors on a regular basis– frequently to the patients’ discomfort–often wish to poke back in some fashion. Joseph Haynor Goldfuss has found the avenue for doing just that in his book of medical epigrams, Laughter is the Best Medicine.
The author states in his introduction that he is legally blind, inoperable and has many medical disorders that give him great pain. He states that he originally wrote the epigrams to be used in public speaking during his business career, but that they are now his hobby and passion. His goal in sharing them is for readers to find some humor in their medical disorders.
Goldfuss makes clear that the epigrams run from silly and wise to morbid, bawdy and caustic. Some are witty, such as: “Bad breath is better than no breath at all,” or “How can you suffer from dementia when you can’t possibly know you have it?” Others seem a bit mean-spirited, such as: “Clinicians wear latex gloves to make you feel like a leper.” Nonetheless, there is something here for every patient who sometimes feels more like a lab specimen than a human being.
One caveat: Goldfuss includes a few that are highly inappropriate and should have been excluded, as in: “Doctors were put in this world for Jewish girls to marry.” The balance of the epigrams may be offensive to some medical personnel, but generally they do no harm and sometimes simply fall flat: “Physicians have mean streaks down their backs, in place of white stripes; but the olfactory effect is still the same.”
Goldfuss’s collection of epigrams leans more toward social commentary than belly laughs, despite its title. Therefore, an audience looking for laugh-out-loud humor is likely to be dissatisfied with this work.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.