Nurse Ratchet’s Grand Scholium

rather puzzles the mind, and makes us fear those evils

rather puzzles the mind, and makes us fear those evils

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, there before us is the documented case for the worst possible interpretation of my Client’s mental status. Indeed, Nurse Ratchet’s list continues with one item after another leading to the inescapable conclusion M. Meo is really fucked up:

Thought Process, unremarkable

Perception, unremarkable

Orientation, [correct] in person, place, time, situation

Insight, limited — limited insight into MH issues

Well maybe, just maybe, this isnt going according to plan.  It seems a lot of criteria for mental illness are being listed, one after another, as “unremarkable,” which whatever else it means, it sure does not mean mentally ill.  So our Nurse Ratchet will first make the fallacious claim “insight, limited” and then add the qualifier, itself utterly without any meaning whatsoever (you have the complete context) “limited insight into MH issues” as if that makes the lie all right.

If you’ve got the time, baby, I’ve got the prose.

Let us attempt, as Kepler did with the Ptolemaic world picture and Kuhn did more recently with the Aristotelian one, references available upon genuinely sincere request, to interpret the phrase “limited insight into MH issues”: the only word whose definition we can be sure of in that entire phrase is ‘into’.  We know what that means, all the others are speculative.  What exactly, then, for the court’s attention, is “insight”? Eh?  Molly says one thing Polly another.  What exactly is then “limited insight”  Eh?  And its not given as insight into his (or her) mental health, no, the limited insight (whatever, in the real world of cooking oil and spilled baby food, the hell those two words might mean) isnt into mental health, his own or anyone elses.  No, no, the limited insight is into “M[ental] H[ealth] issues .  I give up, there’s no meaning there.

Nurse Ratchet ends the list with the ringing denunciation

Judgement, impaired

with no evidence for it.  It is true that a meaningless qualifier was added to the ringing, unsupported final line in the list labelled Mental Status Exam [ which brings up the point, just by the by, that this here interviewer sure never said she was administering no mental health exam.  No, no, this was just a friendly conversation, thats all].  Let us stop and cast a glance at it.  Nurse Ratchet added to ‘Judgement, impaired’ the words “with regards to community bx, knowingly and repeatedly engaging in bx that will get him arrested.”

Really, there’s a period.  This is the end of the list.

If we were to assign as seems reasonable and probable the meaning or signification “behavior” to the jargon word [again, the very use of this nonstandard, or at least restricted to a small group abbreviation is just what would convince a reputable expert of the authenticity of the document] “bx”, then we have the rendering

This guy’s judgement is impaired with respect to the behavior of the community, since he knowingly and repeatedly intentionally gets himself arrested.

I appeal to the Court Clerk if that is not a paraphrase that preserves and sharpens the intended meaning of the last entry.  The Court Clerk is an intelligent and (errrowf) shapely blonde whose very sight is enough to send Miguel Cabron into hyperventilation if he’s wearing his glasses, but alas! it is an unrequited love, for she snapped “Dont call me shapely” at your intrepid reporter yesterday in Courtroom Three or maybe Two I’m not so sure.  And it could have been two or three days ago, you see when you are getting arrested two and three times a day and processed each time through the basement of the squat ten-storey Multnomah County Jail kittykorner across the park from Multnomah County Courthouse {oh, you know that, the one they’re going to tear down because they have worked it out that it might, mathematically, be damaged in an earthquake which would be a real shame since its a historic building and all, so the City Fathers for so they called them in Marblehead Massachusetts chose instead to destroy the building so the earthquake wouldnt get there first}.  You see a lot of court clerks that way, you no wud I meen?

But we still need to work away at the sentence to pull out what it says.  Really, philosophers do this, they do,– it isnt only necessary for dumb people like you and me.  They call it “unpacking” [Your Intrepid Reporter is original enough to propose a metaphor he believes captures the process more lyrically]; YIP knows this because he attended for years a group of philosophers discussing the philosophy of science and cognition at Lewis and Clark.  He didnt enjoy the company of those philsophy perfessers and the dislike was mutual.  But i sure can testify to the Court that those perfessors of pillossify did then exactly what I am doing here.  So we then look at the sentence and say it means, that the criminal has bad judgement because he commits a crime that he knows will lead the community to arrest him.

Thats a fair re-wording, wouldnt you say?

But look here.  He knows the community will arrest him.  That is, he judges or gauges the reaction of the community perfectly well: he knows the community will have him arrested.

Therefore his judgement cannot be impaired.

Therefore “bx” cannot mean “behavior”.

This is something that happens in my world with a fair degree of frequency, namely that my most probable interpretation of what is written makes no sense two and three logical steps down the road, and I can prove that it is self-contradictory but am reduced to wondering whether the writer of the implied self-contradiction was so stupid as not to notice or was up to something else.  And that mental position is really, really uncomfortable.

Never happens in Your World though, of that we can be sure.

That ends the first page of three.

 

 

 

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
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