An Open Letter to the Editor of the New England Journal of MedicineJuly 13th, 2007
by Roy Kesey
Dear Sir or Ma’am:
I am writing to you today in response to the letter you published in your issue of February 22nd of this year (Volume 356 — Number from one Oronte Churm of Inner Station, in which said person states, “It’s come to my attention that some members of my community object to the term ‘double-enders,’ which I used recently to describe a vicious bout of simultaneous explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting. I was simply being discreet, but one would never know it from the looks I got from Ms. Nipple, the schoolmarm; Mr. Reacharound, the parson; and Major Waste, who is fresh back from the war.
Learned sir or ma’am, I beseech you to endorse my term in your prestigious journal, so that nevermore will the afflicted suffer insult to injury. And please find a cure for anal polyps, if that’s your thing.”
It has now come about, most probably as a direct result of said letter, that the term in question, “double-ender,” is fast gaining currency among certain less couth elements in our American society, and has even been commented favorably upon IN PUBLIC by at least two members of your current staff.
As a chronic sufferer of Bipolar Gastroenterological Distress (BGD), I must protest. The term “double-ender” conjures up images at once sexual (cf. “double-snowball,” “double-felch,” et al.), industrial (“double-loader,” “double-drill”), and athletic (“double-dribble”) in the mind of the listener, and I can assure you that none of these three fields have any bearing whatsoever on the distended abdominal tract of your average BGD victim.
(Except possibly the basketball one, given that five minutes of BGD requires a caloric and hydrational re-input disturbingly similar to that required after a ninety-minute game of full-court one-on-one.)
I therefore request that the aforementioned NEJM staff members be fired at once, and that you and the remaining members of your staff throw your considerable medicinal and terminological prestige behind an effort to encourage all American citizens to refer to BGD in the only possible way that is both physiologically appropriate and sensitive to the feelings of its victims.
Which is “BGD.”
Yours in learning,