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The Dark Nexus: String theory, cheap bakeries, and health care

October 14, 2008

I was waiting in line at the drug store to pay for some shaving soap for my husband. The cashier was explaining to the customer ahead of me that he had hit the “donut hole.”

Medicare conferred a payment gap in the man’s prescription coverage. I turned to another customer behind me who looked over 65. “American seniors must be the smartest people in the world to understand their Medicare,” I said.

The man laughed and we exchanged medi-gap stories. Even my prime-of-life Regence plan has a huge gap in coverage for laboratory services. Arguably, the premiums we pay constitute a gap that would have inspired Evel Knievel.

I told my husband how much I’d learned about donut holes while buying his shaving soap. “Canadians are experts at this,” I said. “We’re just beginning to botch it up. Stay in touch with JD [a Canadian friend].” My latest deadpan joke is that we should move to Canada where they’ve at least become proficient at the kind of socialism we’re laying groundwork for here. I hate starting at the beginning of something rotten.

My husband said he thought donut holes were restricted to String Theory and cheap bakeries. My mind leaped to a nexus, but did not make a smooth landing.

String theory: falsifiable in principle, black holes, p-branes; nothing escapes.

Cheap bakeries: highly appealing, unhealthy stuff.

Government medicine: both of the above.

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