Big-city chatter |

Big-city chatter

Some people, when they travel, like to take lots of snapshots of their journey. I am one of those people, except that the snapshots I take are in the form of hastily scribbled overheard quotes. I am currently in New York City, where I am at this very moment working as an AV Guy at a medical conference. It’s early, and I was out late last night, and nothing complements a bagel and coffee quite like the surreal haze of sleep deprivation and a lecture about Acute and Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Maybe the overheard quotes in my hometown are just as good, but the ones I hear in the big city just seem so much more exotic, which is why my quote collecting has become a bit obsessive. Yesterday I found myself leaning against the Empire State Building without even realizing it, because I’d been too busy writing in my little notebook, trying to capture the precious moment that just occurred, when someone next to me said, “One time I passed out and when I woke up there was black marker all over my face.” Don’t you want me along on your next adventure vacation?You: Dear God! The anaconda has swallowed my foot!Me: (whipping out notebook and pen) Nice! You: I think I still have a chance! Hand me the machete!Me: Wait, slow down, this is pure poetry. (writing) “… anaconda has swallowed my …”My quote obsession has reached such a level that I have unintentionally begun to include things I hear in the meeting room in addition to the gritty reality of city chatter. With just enough coffee, and not quite enough rapid eye movement time, it all starts to blend together – Times Square and a double contrast barium enema … what’s the difference? God, I love this city.ACTUAL NYC OVERHEARD QUOTES* Anybody need a single ride?* The ileocecal valve can have a scary appearance in terms of initial scanning.* Hey, it’s me … your favorite bum. I’m the apex of bums. I have no competition. I’m the Al Capone of bums.* Everyone’s like, lookit, and I’m like … what?* Even in New York people prefer these smaller catheters. * I found money! In New York!* Never say sorry. Say a prayer! God doesn’t hear you when you say sorry!* There is your polyp, right in the middle of a white field, which is very helpful. * They killed Indians in the civil rights movement? That’s so messed up.* Again, here you can see the hepatic artery aneurysm. Here’s the angiogram, same position.* Beeeeep! Hooooonk! Honk! Honk! Beeeeeep! * Look, there’s just a little bit of residual stool marking.* In New York rats and cockroaches agree.* Here you can see the circumferential apple core lesion in multiple planes.* I am not here to buy uniforms for my basketball team.* I’m gonna need a Red Bull soon. * I don’t have my hands in the latest technology in terms of digital extraction.* Did I sleep for hours and hours? I must have slept for two days straight. * I believe even the investigators are openly apologetic about the poorly designed study.* We don’t do ashtrays. Just use the plant. Or the floor. * Blah, blah blah blah.* We have no way of doing separate checks here. Our computer system is really old.(Next time: Barry goes to Cleveland. And you are there!)Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at

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