Doc What's Up?, Humor Writing, Inventions


As I’ve mentioned before, I have quite a few inventions sprinkled in the pages of Doc What’s Up?. The Snore-No-More is one of these, responsible for saving marriages everywhere.

Does sleeping in the doghouse get you down? Is your wife’s divorce lawyer claiming mental cruelty because you have snored incessantly for years when she does not snore at all?

Well, at last snorers are coming out! Out of the bedroom, out of the doghouse—into Dr. Zuckerman’s office to be cured!!


“At first, I was skeptical,” says Joe Morphus of Snoozeville. “No doctor ever gave me any advice except ‘give your wife a set of golden ear plugs.’ I hadn’t spent the night in my wife’s or my girlfriend’s bed in years. I’d just show up for sex and then get kicked out.”

“Now I sleep when and where I want to, fearlessly. Sure, I’ve had a few relapses, but when that happens, it’s back to Dr. Zuckerman for a night of treatment and I’m snore-free for another 6-12 months.”

How Dr. Zuckerman’s Snore-No-More Works…

Following an intake interview, those who clearly are snoring sufferers are given an appointment to spend a night at the Snore-No-More (TM) Lab. There you are fitted with special inner ear amplifiers. A microphone is used to capture your snores so that they can either—be played back to you instantaneously amplified or—trigger the transmission of your personally most-feared sounds to the inner ear amplifiers, sounds like a grizzly bear attack, a car crash, or your tax attorney’s voice…

Built into the cost of a night at the Snore-No-More Lab is a CD recording of your snoring, taken during your night in our lab—so that you can hear, for yourself, just how bad you’ve snored and how effective the Snore-No- More treatment is.

The History of Snoring

I am a fellow snoring sufferer who has had numerous humiliating experiences like: having a string tied around my toe to wake me when I snore, being screamed at and poked into rude consciousness, exiled to the living room couch and threatened with involuntary surgery.

Sound familiar? I had to find some way to cure myself, but I also wanted to exonerate snoring as a loathsome, useless activity. I searched back into ancient times, all the way back to the cave and there, I pieced together the preservation function that snorers must have played in the survival of our species.

Man’s nature is to sleep at night—a time when most large predators hunt their prey. Thus, not only was man vulnerable while he slept, but he slept at the precise time that he was being hunted. No doubt, once fire was mastered, some poor insomniac (they too, served to save society) was forced to tend the nocturnal fire at the cave’s mouth. But what did man do before fire?

The perfect solution had to have been that the loudest, most obnoxious snorers slept at the cave’s entrance. No beast would doubt that his human prey was awake and in an ornery mood. Meanwhile, everyone else slept in blissful safety.

Therefore, the snorer played a critical role by allowing society to evolve beyond the need for his service.

But—is the snorer revered for his past efforts? How quickly we forget what others have done for us!

The cost of one night of guaranteed therapy in the Snore-No-More lab is a lot cheaper than a second bedroom or a divorce!

Doc What's Up?, Personal Essays

Foreign Aid

A few of my thoughts on Foreign Aid, originally published in Doc, What’s Up? with the tag line: 

Don’t despair, our foreign aid policy is working in more ways than one. 

It is unheard of for a poppy or a cocoa farmer to cheat his local drug lord, delivering a poor product or adding a little more weight to it. At least we never hear of it in the American press. Assuredly, the system works. The farmer performs ethically and, for his efforts, he is well paid. After all, if this wasn’t the case, he could grow coffee or sugar cane or some other legal food crop.

The farmer’s illegal crop is eventually sold to end-users in America. Thus Americans ultimately pay him for his industriousness. Isn’t this a form of foreign aid?

In the past, foreign aid was typically described as large U.S. government grants to foreign military dictators, especially those in Africa and South America—payment for loyalty to the U.S., as opposed to the USSR and communism. The elite in these countries were the ones who took the aid and got rich. Very little of this aid was used to improve the lives of the countries impoverished.

This is not the case with illegal drug money that does trickle down to the poor farmer, fostering industriousness and entrepreneurialism. Fortunately drug enforcement efforts are futile and thus no threat to foreign aid via the illegal drug trade.

Isn’t this an upgrading of our foreign aid policy?

Doc What's Up?, Humor Writing, Inventions

Another Invention

As I mentioned in this post, my books are a blend of zuckerisms, short stories, personal anecdotes and inventions. Today I wanted to share another of those inventions with you. Introducing, The Florida Special:

The Florida Special (TM)

To most seniors, loss of the right to drive a car is equivalent to losing a leg. The automobile defines Independence in our society and in Florida wheels are even more critical to mobility because of distance. So, we invented the Florida SpecialTM to safely prolong the driving life of seniors by 5 to 10 years! By wedding available life-science technologies to the automobile, the resulting Florida Special represents a dramatic change in approach.


Rather than drivers licensing boards, social workers and doctors all trying to find out reasons to limit driving by the elderly, the Florida Special is making positive strides to keep them on the road! The Florida Special will prove to be the hottest, must-have product for senior drivers since bifocals! In addition, their spouses and children will breathe a sigh of relief, for not only will it vastly prolong independent living for aging Americans, but it will also prevent the fatal depression that happens to nearly every elderly person when they lose their drivers license.

List of Features…

  1. Adjustable Prism Windshield—bends & magnifies light for shorties and the poor sighted
  2. Crash Recorder (black box)—a voice & instrument recorder for research on elderly drivers and their insurance claims
  3. 911 box with nitroglycerin pills included
  4. Wrap around air bumper
  5. One-inch thick steel chassis
  6. Arrhythmia Recorder and Defibrillator
  7. “Alter Kakher!” (old timer!) Warning on the license plate—like the “Babies On Board” concept
  8. The Backseat Driver Overhead Amplifier (nagging included):
    • Magnifies street sounds, horns, sirens, etc.
    • Reminds the driver every fifteen minutes where

      he is suppose to go and why.

  9. Critical Information Plate on the car’s fender to include:
    • Name and address
    • Hospital and doctor’s name
    • Medical conditions
    • Medications
    • Code status (DNR/DNI)
    • Autopsy or not, living will, donor status
    • HMO and car insurance companies
    • Lawyers name; last will file date
  10. Additional accessories available for customization
Doc What's Up?, Personal Essays

Down With Sad

Considering the weather, the cold, and this seemingly never-ending winter, I thought this was an appropriate essay to share with you all today. This was originally published in Doc, What’s Up?

It’s early November and I was tossing and turning in my bed in an attempt to get much needed sleep. I couldn’t let go of my thoughts about SAD or what the medical field calls, Seasonal Affective Disorder. After all, this time of the year was the beginning of the downslide for us SAD suffers now that the shortest day of the year was rapidly upon us.

I tried to come up with a new twist on my troublesome problem because living in the cold, dark Minnesota winter was a recurring fact of life for me and my patients. As I lay there dreaming one winter night, a placid image of hibernating bears, safely nestled deep in their snow-covered cave, came to me.

Perhaps SAD was a remnant of the hibernation instinct, which, in some individuals, is so strong that it causes severe depression. Actually, if you follow this line of thought, the hibernation instinct itself would not cause depression, but our cultural taboo against laziness would. Imagine—with 50 thousand years or more of conditioning, your body says: “NOW IT’S TIME TO GO TO BED…” What would you tell your family? How would you explain it to your boss? Who would pay the bills while you’re getting your forty thousand winks?

Anthropologically, it makes obvious sense. We didn’t always work eight to ten hours a day nor did we have the resources to do so. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that free men and women worked more than four hours each day.

Not so long ago, most people this far north of the Equator lived in small villages or clans. Barter and collective cooperation was the necessary way of life—for survival’s sake. We worked hard, long hours tilling the soil, through the planting season and finally to harvest. All that hard work thinned our protective body fat but we gathered it back during the winter. Survival demanded that we paid close attention to Nature, so our intuition was more highly developed than today. Our survival was completely dependent on our abilities to adapt to Nature’s changes. The consequences otherwise were gruesome.

Back then there weren’t outdoor floodlights as the days began to shorten. In fact, it was less than a hundred years ago that electricity lit up our households and factories so that we could continue into the night with our work or shenanigans. We came indoors and played or talked by the fire or an oil lamp. Or we simply retired to our huts, houses or hovels and went to sleep right after sundown. Like any member of nature, we were dying as the seasons do, lying fallow. It’s a natural cycle, why wouldn’t we be a part of it? All through the late autumn and winter, while lying fallow, we restored our bodies, loved our families, told our stories, built our relationships and most of all, we slept!

Everyone went to bed without guilt. We worried about next season’s crops, not our next promotion or the pile of bills. By the coming of spring, we, like the plants and other animals, had prepared ourselves to be reborn.

Instincts are mighty. Some are impossible to ignore. If indeed, Nature is telling us that it is time to rest, then resistance against Nature’s rhythms and systems inside of our bodies murders our most basic and intuitive selves. It has nothing to do with will power or the mind. Compound our resistance to follow our nature with a cultural environment that makes it a felony to follow our natural animal instincts and—who wouldn’t be depressed?

SAD sufferers who are wealthy go to the equator for the winter. Their doctors even tell them to do it. But what about the middle class and poor working stiffs?

I was still tossing and turning in my November attempt at sleep as my mind shifted to the Russian playwright, Maxim Gorky and his play, The Lower Depths. It portrays the lives of poor Russian working class people in the basement of an apartment building in Russia. They were the lost souls, the mentally ill, and the destitute creatures of G-d, who, in the play, comes to bring them hope. The setting is late winter and the tenants live communally in the chill of the basement. Yet, even with the cold, no one complains of having SAD. Obviously, they have a lot to be depressed about, but instead, they hibernated—together.

There was the answer! Why couldn’t SAD sufferers get a 90-day work release prescription from their psychiatrists, be eligible for Workman’s Comp and sign up for the Hibernation Renewal Center? We could rent out basements in Minneapolis that are made up of large open spaces and paint the walls with snuggling bears contently hibernating. The floor could be one big mattress. It could be lit with dim lights and soothing new age music, with a soft snoring rhythm, could be piped in.

We could stop fighting SAD and surrender to it instead. Go with the natural hormonal flow and hibernate the winter away! We’d have to get labeled from DMS IV, but it would be easier than fighting Nature and a whole lot more fun!

Where do I sign up?

Doc What's Up?, Personal Essays

Roger X

An excerpt from Doc, What’s Up?

It’s been said that we only see what we are accustomed to seeing. In the case of highly trained medical specialists, the same must certainly apply?

At only 32 years of age, Roger X was stunned to find out that the cause of his episodic bouts of weak- ness were due to a heart problem—angina pectoris. At the time of his diagnosis, coronary by-pass surgery was not readily available since it was still considered experimental. He was placed on nitroglycerin tablets to relieve his attacks and told to take it easy. Hopefully, he’d live another five years.

Roger lived in a small Northern Minnesota town where he earned his living making fishing lures in his basement. He was married and had two young children. He was active in his church and was a solid, respected member of his community. Naturally, he became severely depressed about his diagnosis and his prognosis.

I saw Roger as a patient about a year after a prominent St. Paul cardiologist had made his fateful diagnosis. I asked him, as I normally do with my new patients, to recant his symptoms. As I carefully listened to him, I found myself a bit unsettled with the diagnosis he’d been given. Frankly, his symptoms sounded suspiciously closer to hypoglycemia than they were to angina.

I decided to follow my hunch. I asked him to take a simple, harmless, five-hour glucose-tolerance test.

Sure enough, Roger’s blood sugar plummeted three hours after ingesting a large sugar drink and his weakness and sweating symptoms recurred. Rather than angina, Roger had reactive hypoglycemia—an uncomfortable, but otherwise, harmless, treatable condition.

By the way, all the tests showed that Roger’s heart was normal.

Full of myself, I asked Roger to come in to my clinic so I could break the good news in person. When he arrived, I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm as I told him,

“Roger, you know sometimes these high falutin’, city slicker specialists know zilch about making a correct diagnosis. You haven’t got angina! You have a garden-variety disorder called hypoglycemia, which has some of the same symptoms as angina but is infinitely less serious. Not only that, hypoglycemia is easily cured by changing your diet. Actually, you are quite healthy!”

His initial reaction was total disbelief. How could a famous specialist be so wrong?

So, I showed him the glucose-tolerance test results, which corroborated my diagnosis. His “attack” had coincided exactly with the drop in blood sugar after he’d taken the sugar drink. It was hard for him to deny the boldfaced reality.

“There’s nothing wrong with your heart, so you can forget that bunk that the specialist fed you.” Then, in my normal joking demeanor, I added, “You’re healthy enough to run off with an eighteen-year-old!”

I saw Roger once more about two months later. He’d been rigorous about maintaining a low carbohydrate diet and had no further attacks of weakness. He had become a believer.

The last I heard of Roger was that shortly after our last visit, he’d run off with another woman, abandoning his wife and children for parts unknown. I wondered if my new diagnosis had been, in part, the instigation for his extreme behavior. Or had he actually taken my joke as a recommended treatment? From that point on, I became a bit more conservative in breaking such radical news to my patients, whether it is good or bad, but I haven’t let up on the jokes.

Doc, Doc What's Up?, Humor Writing, Inventions, Memoir, MyNexTie, New Cliches for the 21st Century, Personal Essays, short story, Uncategorized, What's Up?, zuckerisms


My books, like my ideas, tend to be eclectic. “Doc What’s Up?” in particular is a blend of images, short essays, and – of course – zuckerisms. But I also have a section on inventions – tongue-in-cheek ideas that would, let’s face it, probably make the world a better place. Here’s one of them:

pic1 pic2

New Cliches for the 21st Century, What's Up?


I talk a lot about zuckerisms on my twitter and facebook, but since ‘zuckerism’ is an invented word, I thought it would be helpful to explain its meaning for new readers. Think of this as a mini-glossary, if you will.

A zuckerism, obviously derived from my own name, is a short & sweet aphoristic statement based on an observation I’ve made about the world. I also like to call these little phrases ‘mind bytes,’ or ‘new clichés,’ a title you may recognize from my first book. They are meant to be observational and inspirational. I suppose you could also make them recreational, though it might be difficult.

But of course the only real way to describe a zuckerism is through examples.

From New Clichés For the 21st Century

“The genius of a cane is that it gives unstable two-legged people a third leg to stand on.”

“Youth is wasted on the young because that’s where it’s supposed to be wasted.”

“It’s not necessarily crazy to hear voices in your head—it all depends

on how entertaining they are.”

“My mother’s favorite statement was, ‘Peace and quiet—six feet under.’”


From Doc, What’s Up?

 “My patients who are continually bothered by ear wax are told that we cannot solve the problem until we can eradicate the ear bee.”

“Throwing another mind at the problem won’t necessarily solve it.”

“When my patients need to reduce their stress, I prescribe:

—Take two years off from work. —Live in the Caribbean.
—Have a lot of sex.
—Drink a lot of rum and smoke cigars.

If they follow my advice, I promise I’ll even make house calls.”

Follow me on twitter to guarantee a daily dose of zuckerisms! 


Two Wrongs That Made a Right

Excerpt from “Doc, What’s Up?”

I never would have chosen “Smalltown, Minnesota” as the place to launch my career in internal medicine. In fact, I’d never heard of it until some shirt tail relations, who lived there, told me that the town was desperate for doctors. So, with only a modest inquiry, I quickly found myself my first job.

I agreed to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays as a pinch hitter for the town’s only doctor in this tiny Southern Minnesota farm community of 750 persons. This gave him time off from his otherwise non-stop duties so that he could follow his passion and fly his small airplane above and beyond all earthly tribulations.

The amicable Dr. John Jacobson was ten years my elder. He was short, pleasantly pudgy and surprisingly openminded. He was genuinely at ease amongst his farmer clientele and it was immediately obvious to me that he’d been raised from the same soil. I was quite the opposite: born and bred in the heart of Brooklyn, fluent in Brooklynese and the brazen product of New York City’s subway system.

Our working arrangement began as a marriage of necessity but, even with our distinctly different styles, it quickly grew into a partnership of mutual respect and admiration. John was thoroughly comfortable with himself as a GP, and didn’t hesitate to seek knowledge and advice when he found himself nonplussed with a patient’s condition. As a result, he often consulted with me on his more perplexing and intricate medical cases.

One of these cases was a six-year-old boy whom, a year and a half earlier, had developed a large disfiguring mass on the right side of his neck. At that time, John had consulted with a visiting surgeon who decided to remove the tumor. The surgeon sent a tissue sample of the tumor to the Mayo Clinic, only a few miles further south through corn country, whose excellent pathology department would determine its nature. The diagnosis came back—unequivocally—the boy had Hodgkin’s disease, cancer of the lymph nodes.

Because this took place a year and a half before I came on board, I could only imagine the shock that the child’s parents experienced when they’d heard such a dire diagnosis, as well as their relief when they were told their son had an excellent chance to be cured.

I didn’t review the boy’s chart until I saw him for his normal six-month check up. Based on a glance at his chart, I assumed that he’d been treated with radiation therapy. After all, he was still alive and doing very well. But when I checked his chart more closely, I saw, to my amazement, that the surgeon had advised that the boy not receive any treatment at all. When I examined him and found no sign of Hodgkin’s disease, I was even more dumfounded.

His parents told me it was a miracle. I thought to myself, either that, or a grave mistake… My investigative instincts were piqued at this point and so I began to search the boy’s records for clues that would reconcile the irreconcilable: a uniformly deadly disease—if left untreated—had disappeared on its own…??

– To read the rest of this story, click here to purchase Doc, What’s Up?