Saturday, June 07, 2008

I Didn't Hurt Anybody


I am not a happy ClinkShrink right now. I'm a bit hot under the collar. In fact, I'm a bit hot everywhere right now.

I have no air conditioner. I know, I know, I should be used to this by now. I don't have a phone, I don't have a desk, I have to hunt for chairs to sit on every day. I should be used to this.

I am, I'm just not used to this at home.

This isn't something I typically blog about. I generally keep my personal life off the Internet and stick to mainly professional-type topics, but I promise I will make this relevant to psychiatry.

I called up the local heating and air conditioning guy, who took one look and pointed out what was wrong. He saw it immediately, and I can't believe I didn't.

Someone stole my copper freon pipe. It was four or five feet long, leading from the external pump up into the side of my house. It had been clipped off neatly at either end, so neatly I didn't even notice it was gone. I'm told it's going to take four hours of labor (at an hourly rate nearly 50% higher than what I make as a physician) and four gallons of freon (at $60 per gallon) to fix and there is no guarantee it will work. Depending on how long the pipe was gone, both my external compressor and internal unit may be toast. Replacing both units is ridiculously expensive, not to mention time lost from work and loads of inmates who aren't going to get psychiatric care while I'm out.

I'm going to think about this incident the next time I hear someone say drugs should be decriminalized because drug addicts are only hurting themselves. I will think about this the next time a non-violent substance abuser says, "I'm an addict but I never hurt anybody."

Horse hockey.

Like most people who live in big cities, I've been a victim of crime before. I've also had my car window smashed in by someone looking to steal a bag of used spark plugs (long story). Again, metal recycling is used to support drug addiction. (Maybe we need a registry of people selling metal like we do for pawn shops??) Once upon a time, someone even stole the brass doors off of our circuit court house (200 pounds apiece, metal value estimated at a quarter of a million). Drug addicts don't only hurt themselves and the most hardcore addicts need to be picked up involuntarily and taken off the streets to make them stop using.

So anybody who really wants to debate this is welcome to come over to my place this weekend. The forecast is for a hundred degree heat index.

Bring ice.

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For more on the scrap metal theft epidemic, see also:

How hot are metals?

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Note from Dinah: my guest room has a window unit. You're always welcome