I was born with a stethoscope around my neck. I grabbed the scalpel from the scrub nurse in order to cut my own umbilical cord. They slapped me with malpractice insurance to make me cry. Then I was swathed in prescription pads and rubber gloves. My mother gave me an otoscope to suck on. My father made a teddy bear out of tongue depressors. I kept an x-ray of myself as an imaginary friend and juggled specimen cups when I got lonely at night. During the three days I spent at the hospital, I attended seminars on brain surgery, forensic psychology and the advantages of taking payments on an installment plan. I spoke my first words on the morning that I came home. As my parents lowered both me and my pager into a crib, I gurgled how I didn’t think I was cut out for medical school and that I was better suited to be a nurse practitioner instead. I watched my parents pick up one sterile instrument after the next from my bassinette and throw each one onto the floor. Once my mother and father had succeeded in smashing every piece of equipment, from the articulator to the tubing clamps, they both wet themselves, bawling without respite until, finally, they cried themselves to sleep.

Craig Fishbane is the author of On the Proper Role of Desire (Big Table Publishing). His work has also appeared in the New York Quarterly, Bartleby Snopes, Gravel, Drunken Boat and The Nervous Breakdown. He can be contacted at his website: