Have you seen this man?

So this asshole here has been my parents’ primary care physician for, more or less, my entire life, and was my doctor during the time when I had no choice in the matter as well. His name is Dr. Lawrence Curry, and you can damn sure bet that I want Google to pick up on the fact that I’m using the name Dr. Lawrence Curry of the McKinley Medical Clinic a whole lot in this piece, because I am pissed.

I’ve never liked Dr. Lawrence Curry, D.O.; his receptionists are rude, he clearly doesn’t have time for his patients (oh, you wait, if you think that’s an unfair thing to say) and he consistently overbooks so that you are guaranteed a multiple hour wait any time you set foot in his smelly, dirty office, which will be playing vaguely racist black and white comedies the entire time you’re there on a tiny and yet incredibly loud TV in the corner. But I’ve never mentioned him here, at least not by name, although I think I might have bitched about the TV show that was playing in Dr. Lawrence Curry, D.O’s office the last time I was in there without actually using his name.

I saw my dad yesterday, and he asked me for my doctor’s name and phone number. This surprised me; as I said, I’ve been trying to get him to change doctors for forever with no luck. I asked what happened, and he said something curious– that the office wasn’t answering the phone any longer. Which is … kinda weird for a doctor’s office, even Dr. Lawrence Curry, D.O.’s, right? So I called the number on their typo-ridden, shitty website, and it’s disconnected.


I had to go see Dad today for something unrelated, so I decided to hell with it, I’m curious, and I swung by the office. Not a car in the parking lot. This was on the front door:

Fuckin’ classy, eh? Apparently dude doesn’t have access to a printer. Note also that today is May 30th, which is relevant, because this is their lobby on May 30th, two days before they apparently stop accepting insurance:

Now, I didn’t get a picture– I should, and I will probably swing by tomorrow and take a closer look, because I’m pissed, and I’m pretty sure there are some laws being broken here– of the office/reception space, but it sure as hell looks to me as if everyone’s medical records are still in there. Hundreds if not thousands of patients; as I said, my mom and dad have been seeing this guy for 40+ years.

Dr. Lawrence Curry, D.O., has literally just ghosted all of his patients. Fucking disappeared. Shut down the office without telling anyone– the Shipshewana office mentioned on his website has a disconnected phone number too– and disappeared. Poof. Not an email, not a letter, nothing, and you can tell from looking at recent reviews of his practice on, well, basically any rate your doctor site. There’s one semiliterate screed that suggests that all of his employees quit, which wouldn’t surprise me, because he’s an asshole– but it’s literally so full of typos and crappy grammar that I can’t take it seriously.

Oh, did I mention that his practice shares a building with a physical therapy group? This is on their door:

If it seems like I’m taking this personally, it’s because I am– as I’ve said, I’ve thought the guy was a bastard for decades, and even if he was dead it’s fucking inexcusable that his patients literally have had to do research to find out that their doctor wasn’t their doctor any longer, and now all have to find new doctors– when one of my doctors retired some time ago she passed all of us on to someone else, but that isn’t the case here, because the practice is simply gone. And, again, there look to be several thousand HIPAA violations sitting in cabinets just waiting for some fucker to break a window and go on an identity stealing spree. I want every piece of paper in that office with a member of my family’s name on it, God damn it, and if putting this fucker on blast on the internet helps in any way with making that happen I’m sure as shit gonna do it.

I’ve been reading

One of my minor goals for this summer is to read more– a lot more– and I finished four or five books in the last week or so. Let’s talk about a few of ’em real quick.

Gender Queer, by Maia Kobabe, was an impulse purchase at Barnes and Noble when I happened to walk past it on display while at the store looking for something else. I grabbed it because I’ve seen it showing up on a lot of banned book lists recently and so I figured that alone was enough of a reason to buy it. I ended up very cautiously recommending it to one of my trans students at school; I hope I don’t actually have to say that I’m against banning books but this one is explicit enough (and the fact that it’s in comic book format doesn’t help) that I can see at least understand why some parents might be uncomfortable with their kids having access to it even if I don’t agree with it.

Honestly, the fact that it’s a memoir called Gender Queer probably tells you everything you need to know about it; Kobabe grows up in a time where ey (eir pronouns are ey/eir/eirs) simply doesn’t have access to the vocabulary to describe how ey feel about eir body. Kobabe is born into a woman’s body, but fantasizes about receiving blowjobs while still not quite feeling like a boy or wanting a new name. Luckily, eir parents are more or less supportive and there is a group for queer students at eir high school, so there’s not the undercurrent of abusive behavior that you might expect from this kind of book. I’ve never read anything substantial written by a genderqueer person, so I’m really glad I picked this one up; you ought to read it.

Rebecca F. Kuang has now written five books that I’m aware of: a military fantasy trilogy, an alternative-history dark magical academia novel, and Yellowface, a modern-day fictional memoir with no fantastic or spec fit elements at all, and I’ve absolutely loved everything she’s read. Kuang’s talent is astounding, frankly; she’s still only fucking 26 years old and no one her age should be able to write this well. I read Yellowface in about a day; it’s written from the perspective of a young struggling white female author, June Rowland, who is friends (exactly how close they really are is never clear, and there are very good reasons to believe we have an unreliable narrator) with Athena Liu, a Chinese-American author and a phenomenal talent whose early works have taken the literary world by storm. The two are at Liu’s apartment after a night of partying and drinking and Liu chokes to death, but not until after showing her friend her latest manuscript, which she’s not told anyone about. And when June leaves her apartment, many hours later, after dealing with the police and the EMTs and the trauma of watching a friend die in front of her, she does it with the only existing copy of the manuscript in her purse. Which she finishes and gets published under her own name. And, well … shenanigans ensue.

Yellowface is one of the most savage works of satire I’ve read in a long time, and it’s definitely among the best books I’ve read this year, if not the best, and I really need someone else I know to read it so I have someone to talk to about it.

I picked up Rebecca Yarros’ Fourth Wing on the strength of a sudden blitz of wildly enthusiastic TikTok praise, which was probably my first mistake. My second mistake was assuming that damn near universal five-star ratings on GoodReads meant anything in particular. That said, I don’t really know how to arrive at a final verdict on this one.

Why? Well, I hated everything about it, for starters. It’s so goddamned tropey that it feels like an AI wrote it. The dialogue is astonishingly bad, with people having lengthy, exposition-filled, complicated conversations in the middle of battle or otherwise stressful solutions all the fucking time. Ever watched an anime where every bit of dialogue is a long speech? Imagine that in written form. The worldbuilding is atrocious; the book is about dragon riders, but it’s really unclear what value the actual riders bring to the battle as the dragons don’t really seem to need them and the humans don’t command them in any meaningful way. (It’s possible that I missed a bit of exposition somewhere on this, as the book overexplains everything else, but it’s absolutely not gone into in any depth.) The dragons are named after their colors and their tails, which, okay, calling a dragon a red daggertail sounds cool, but whoever decided that morningstartail should have been a word? Come the fuck on, especially since fighting with their tails doesn’t much appear to be a thing. The characters are flat, the action is predictable, and the writing is occasionally stunningly terrible– “He was more than four inches over six feet tall” was a sentence that I just stopped and stared at for a few seconds, for example.

Five hundred pages of this. I finished it in less than 24 hours. I gave it three stars on GoodReads because I have no fucking idea even how to think about a book like that. The sequel is coming out in November– ah, another sin; the series is called “The Empyrean Trilogy,” and I’m pretty certain the word Empyrean appears nowhere in the book– and I’m probably going to buy it. You shouldn’t buy or read this, but I did both and for some reason I think I’m going to do so again. I just can’t explain why.

On hope, ctd.

You may– I suspect it’s unlikely, but you may– recall this August 2021 post about Makyi Toliver, a former student of mine and one I was quite fond of, who had been sentenced to 45 years in prison for felony murder. I don’t know if you know what felony murder is, but it’s a wildly unjust fucking crime. Makyi and a sixteen-year-old friend attempted to steal a gun from a third person, a bungled theft that led to the gun’s owner killing his friend and shooting Makyi at least eight times. This, somehow, led to Makyi being convicted of murder. 45 years. At 20.

I’ve corresponded with Makyi a couple of times– not enough, to tell the truth– since he’s been locked up. Yesterday morning I checked my messages and noticed that his account was marked as inactive. I didn’t initially think much of it; maybe he’d been transferred or the prison was changing providers or something.

At 8:00 yesterday evening I got a text message from another teacher who had also had him in her classes. Makyi was dead. As far as we know right now, he died from suicide. Why “as far as we know”? The jail and the coroner are refusing to give his mother any information, which means we’re relying on– wait for it– rumors and secondhand information from other former students at Parchman.

Makyi was a good kid. He was a good kid and he had an immense amount of potential and he didn’t fucking deserve any of this.

I hate it here, and I’m not okay.

And … done

Undeniably my most successful and fun year of teaching… well, sixish months of teaching, at least … in at least a decade. Quite possibly my most successful and fun ever, since there are kids from that 2013 year I still look up occasionally hoping to discover they’re in jail, and there’s no one from this class I’m going to remember negatively.

So, naturally, I came home and took a nap on the couch, and it took half an hour at least of staring dully at the screen before I was able to muster up the willpower to type even these few sentences, and I have to get up at regular time tomorrow to go to a thing at my son’s school, so it ain’t like summer’s starting just yet.

(10 more minutes of staring)

… yeah, I’m going to bed early tonight, aren’t I?

And now one more

Oh, man, I made so many of them cry today. It was awesome.

I said more or less the same thing to all of my classes today, and I said it today because I expect a fair number of them to be absent tomorrow: that this was the first year that teaching was fun in a very long time, and that the last class of kids that I remember with the level of fondness that I suspect I’ll remember this class with was ten goddamn years ago. This is the end of year 19; seven months ago I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to 20. Now I’m back to thinking I might actually retire from teaching whenever that magical date rolls around, as opposed to quitting in disgust and going to do something else.

Tomorrow afternoon is a field day, and the universe has rewarded me for these heartfelt thoughts by putting me in charge of monitoring the inflatables, which means I am going to spend four hours tomorrow stuck in a gym with several dozen seventh and eighth graders at a time, all of whom will be sweaty and, because I’m working with the inflatables, none of whom will be wearing shoes. I cannot imagine what my world is going to smell like tomorrow. I am not sure that I want to.