The Washington Post

Gene Weingarten: How do you get to the Supreme Court? Malpractice

(By Eric Shansby)

As a recognized expert in veterinary medicine, I’d like to offer some advice to pet owners. Dogs love little challenges, so it’s good to change their name every week or so. Just as your mutt is getting used to answering to, say, “Waggles,” start calling him “Jerome.”

Also, cats enjoy being juggled.

Gene Weingarten is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writes "Below the Beltway," a weekly humor column that is nationally syndicated. View Archive

And because I dabble in cosmetology, I feel confident I can pass along this fun tip: Everyone looks thinner with bright red eyebrows!

Gynecology being an interest of mine, I’d like to assure doctors that nothing cuts the tension in the examination room more than when you refer to your patients’ private parts not by stuffy old medical names, but by the far more accessible street terms.

I am writing this advice column today in the hope that it attracts the attention of professional licensing boards in some states, and that they will try to take legal action to silence me on the grounds that I am practicing without a license. This is actually happening all over the country.

The Kentucky Board of Psychology, for example, has recently informed John Rosemond, a child psychologist with a nationally syndicated column, that he can no longer be published in their state. His infraction was having written some advice with which a retired Kentucky child psychologist disagreed; a complaint was filed, and the board’s attorney sent Rosemond a cease and desist letter.

Coincidentally, I also happen to know quite a bit about child psychology, which is why I can assure you that a good way to toughen your children is to arrange bare-knuckle fistfights between siblings. Set up a ring in your back yard. Make sure you hire experienced “cut men.”

The Kentucky ruling is being legally challenged on the grounds that when the government tells a writer what he or she may write, that amounts to censorship and is a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech. I agree. My goal is to spark several such claims against me, so that my name becomes the lead plaintiff in a case headed for the Supreme Court, and instead of ending my career as a semi-obscure, hack gag writer, my name will go down in history as a successful civil liberties litigant, beside those of Brown, Miranda and Gideon.

Among other censorship cases across the country, the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition has ordered a blogger to stop advocating a low-carb diet because he was not licensed as a dietitian.

As it happens, I have common-law bona fides as a dietitian, which is why I can professionally confirm that if no one sees you eat something, it has no calories.

I’ve been looking at a list of professions that are typically licensed by states. There are a lot.

As someone deeply interested in dental hygiene, I would like to note that piano wire is best for flossing.

As a student of the craft of cytotechnology, I advise, uh, cytotechnologists that whatever it is you do, you do it with really dirty hands. Same goes for polysomnographic technologists, I guess.

As someone with an abiding interest in speech pathology, a good way to cure people of lisps ith to thpeak to them like thith, so they hear how thilly they thound.

Attention, fellow midwives: To inject a little levity into a stressful situation, I advise that at the key moment you look down and yell, “My God, it’s a giant maggot!” Then run screaming from the room.

And finally, as a man so familiar with the law he is practically an attorney, I advise state attorneys general to punish me to the full extent of the law. In fact, let’s make a federal case out of it.

E-mail Gene at Find chats and updates at

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