Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
Last we left the rising star, Dr. Dave, he had just discovered an admirable, and, it would turn out, valuable quality in his on-air partner, Howard Stern imitation, Mel Kinolla.
What it was, was showmanship. Mel was a great performer, a natural talent. Dr. Dave felt a warmth for the talent of his friend and wanted to share in it.
Mel began to draw Dave deeper into a comically jaded mindset with a little game in which the caller would be put on hold and Mel would speculate on what had happened in the caller's childhood to put them on the road to disaster. Dave would discuss Mel’s speculations, come up with his own scenario, and they would bet on whose was closer to the truth. Then they'd go back to the caller and elicit the backstory to settle the wager.
It would go something like this:
Mel: All right, honey? We're going to put you on hold for a second. (click) Okay, let's make a little wager here. I'm gonna say, father took off when she was, say, five years old. Mother was an alcoholic – no, mother had an alcoholic boyfriend. Boyfriend molested the daughter.
Dave: I think the father molested the daughter. Same scenario, but the father was alcoholic and abusive.
Mel: Abusive physically or sexually? Dave: Both.
Mel: Why? – I'm just curious.
Dave: It's very common with lesbians – or, she's sixteen, she doesn't know if she's a lesbian or not, really, at that age – but it's very common that survivors of incest abuse start to experiment with being lesbian...
... The contrast between the crudeness of Mel and the compassion of Dave grew less and less discernable as Dave’s discourse sank to Mel’s level. In response, Mel seemed to feel the need to up the crudeness.
Mel: I'm gonna say, drunk father, abusive to mom, mom neglected her, dad was sexual around her but didn't touch her, just let his Johnson hang out, walking around the house. Maybe he even spanked it in front of her. She was raped by a much older boyfriend.
Dave: Raped or seduced? Although it amounts to the same thing. I think there's something anal there.
Mel: Anal? Whaddya mean, like a suppository? Or a broomstick? Dave: I don't know. Something anal. I can't put my finger on it. Mel: Good. Don't. Don't put your finger on the anal thing.
A pattern in Dr. Dave’s diagnoses was that bisexuals weren't bisexual but, rather, confused. And teens below the age of, say, eighteen, who considered themselves homosexual, couldn't possibly know what their sexuality was yet – they were still experimenting, at best. Interestingly, the difficulty of ascertaining one's sexual identity before the age of eighteen never arose when the callers described themselves as heterosexual.
Adam and Drew, I mean, Mel and Dave, found themselves confronting the same problems night after night: young girls who needed the validation of older men and got it by having sex with them, young men wanting to pressure younger girls into having sex with them, young people exacerbating the stress of adolescence with drug use, and, more generally, screwed up people who got that way by being misinformed, weak, fearful, and lazy.
Each caller was a unique individual, of course. In an ordinary practice where he would have been treating young people with such problems, Dr. Andy David Piktis, MD, would never have mocked his patients publicly. But Mel, no physician, neither ethics nor bedside manner any concern of his, began to treat the callers as if they were always the same annoying person, doing the same dumb thing again and again. His comments, sometimes during the calls and sometimes after, grew increasingly abusive.
Mel: Where do they come from Dave? Our callers. How do they live? They seem too dumb to live.
Dave: Well, they muddle through on luck, I guess.
Dave was still clinging to the last shred of his role as the voice of reason, but it wasn't long before his responses to Mel’s suggestions that their callers were deserving of a good dose of ridicule along with advice sounded more sympathetic with Mel’s plight than theirs.
Mel: All right, John? You're not gonna drop out of school, and you're gonna quit sniffing glue, and you're gonna get an HIV test and not have anymore unprotected sex, right?
John: Huh? Yeah, well, my girlfriend won't have sex with me if I wear a condom –
Mel: No. John. Listen. You are not going to have sex without a condom anymore. Okay? You're going to get an HIV test—
John: Yeah, yeah, but—
Mel: No buts, John. Promise me you're not going to have sex without a condom. John? You there?
Mel: Do you understand? Promise me, John.
John: Well, yeah.
Dave: And no more huffing, okay?
Mel: But, Dave, his girlfriend won't have sex with him if they don't huff. Okay, bye John.
Mel: What A-hole would let his daughter within a hundred yards of that retard? Dave?
Dave: There are a lot of A-holes out there.
Mel: That idiot. He's not gonna—he didn't hear a single word we –
Dave: He's an idiot. He doesn't have the motivation. Some people are so dumb they need to hit rock bottom. Although—
Mel: Right, because huffing in Mom’s basement while screwing your junkie girlfriend without a condom isn't –
Dave: Right, exactly –
Mel: That's not rock bottom enough – Dave: That's not far enough down.
Still, Dave didn't have the hostility in his diction that Mel had. He didn't fly off the handle and refer to all Muslims as "Habib" or lambaste anyone who opined that the Canadian healthcare system provided decent health care. But he did sit by and buy into each argument, without actually engaging in the polemical rhetoric. But neither did he ever contradict it.
When we return with the fourth and final part of this fictional saga, we’ll find out how much farther Dr. Dave is willing to go to continue to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Join me for Part 4 of “The Good Doctor.”
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!