Leeches have returned to the medical world, finding renewed fame in procedures such as microsurgery where they suck congested blood from wounds. The leeches have fancy Latin names such as Haemadipsa zeylanica and Hirudo medicinalis.
Although here in our village, the biggest leech found in a hospital goes by the name Larius McEvoyis.
Larry McEvoy, who is a doctor, more or less, tried to shuffle out of the village-owned Memorial Hospital last week with a staggering $1.15 million severance package bestowed by patients from the hospital's lobotomy department — although they preferred the name "board of trustees."
McEvoy — whose surgical mask is worn a little higher on his face than normal and has eye holes so he can see out — was in the midst of the board-approved heist when, at the last minute, our esteemed City Council shouted "WHOA!" (This caused Councilor Lisa Czedak ... Cxzdzxlak ... Czxzxlakxzxz ... uh, Councilwoman Lisa to be thrown from her horse.)
No, what Council actually did was halt the ridiculous severance package settlement, at least temporarily, and get rid of the trustees. The former board members, using their keen business sense, have opened a chain of refreshment stands around town where you can now get an ice-cold cup of lemonade for $950.
The one they call Larry became the Memorial Health System CEO in 2008, trustees choosing him over other finalists including Dave, a veterinarian specializing in hamsters; Eddie, who lives three blocks from the hospital and said he could walk to work; and Chet the Magnificent, a carnival worker with an uncanny ability to guess a person's health insurance deductible.
Some people say McEvoy's biggest accomplishment during his four-year stint as CEO was to suck the life out of the hospital. Others disagree, saying it was lowering his golf handicap to 4.
(I don't want to say McEvoy ruined hospital morale, but the remaining six employees of the Gazette regularly call the hospital workers to cheer them up.)
Anyway, finding out that a guy who wasn't very good at his job could walk away with a $1.15 million severance deal made my own ears stand up. So here now, a quick comparison between Larry and I ... me ... meself ... mine own self ... damn. (See?)
• Put in a solid hour of work and then curl up for a five-hour nap. Check.
• Make everyone around you seem smarter. Check.
• Often hear people whisper, "Who'd he sleep with to get that job?" Check.
Footnote: During the 1996 Olympics, I actually slept for nearly three weeks in a small room with my now-boss at the Indy, Ralph Routon. (My psychiatrist says in another year I'll be able to watch the Steve Martin-John Candy motel room scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles without crying.)
The point here is that, encouraged by McEvoy's settlement, I approached Independent publisher John Weiss with a request for my own $1 million severance package. John pondered my proposal for several minutes, quietly scratching some numbers on a legal pad, before looking up from his desk made of milk crates and saying this: "You work here?"
I told him that I did, the importance of my column clearly indicated by the way it's stuffed into the back of the paper after the medical weed-smoking ads.
And while I didn't get the full package I'd asked for, he did say that a severance deal would include my occasional use of the company's actual newspaper distribution vehicle, a 1992 Ford Econoline van with only one seat.
Also, my unused sick and vacation time would be paid in full, with free passes to the zoo and a Pikes Perk coupon good for one packet of Splenda.
Or maybe I can make a deal with village officials: For $100,000, I'll rub salt on McEvoy to make him drop off the city's neck.