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COMMENTARY BY LUKE BOYD: Grey on Gray: Too Bizarre for Words

Sometimes I am accused of making a lot of this stuff up. I am not guilty. There are enough weird people and events in the world just begging to be observed. Fabrication is not necessary. To wit:

It seems that a number of unusual people come to the attention of our law enforcement folks on a regular basis. We all know that “Utopia” is a perfect place. Well, last summer a man, a career criminal no less, was sitting in his car on “Utopia” Street in Nashville. A person came up and shot him. His car rolled downhill until it crashed in front of a business—“The Last Stop Club.” He died at the scene. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Safety instructions tell us not to wear loose-fitting clothing while using a chain saw. A fellow was arrested in Knoxville last summer for obeying that rule to the extreme. He wore no clothes at all as he cut up a downed tree in his yard. His neighbors reported that they observed him on a regular basis walking around his property, swimming in his pool, and mowing his yard—all sans clothing. Some nude activity is understandable but using a chain saw and other power equipment? Those things can cut off various parts of your body. I would counsel him always to wear eye protection and a cup.

And Tennessee does not have the market cornered when it comes to bizarre criminal behavior. Last year in Salt Lake City, a frequent law-violator got involved in a 16-hour standoff with police. He was armed and holding a woman hostage in a motel room. Such an event is not uncommon but what this criminal was doing during the standoff was. He was updating his Facebook page. He received more than 100 responses and made at least a dozen new Facebook “friends,” one of whom advised him that a SWAT officer was hiding in the bushes near his room. Finally, when the SWAT team stormed the room, he shot himself in the chest but did not do a very good job. At last report he was in the hospital in critical condition. The hostage was unharmed. Folks like this fellow should not be allowed to breed.

In 1998 an article reported that the state legislature of Alabama, responding to pressure from a “traditional values group,” had voted to change pi—the ratio of the circumferences of a circle to its diameter—from 3.14 to 3. This would restore pi to its true “Biblical” value. One legislator explained that “the Bible very clearly says in I Kings 7:23 that the altar font of Solomon’s Temple was 10 cubits across and 30 cubits around the rim and that it was round in compass.” Even with this change, legislators agreed to allow pi’s secular value (3.14) to be taught along side its true “Biblical” value (3.). The scientific community was about to get up in arms before it was revealed as a prank—a swipe at those who were pushing to have Creationism taught in science classes along with the theory of evolution.

A few months ago I saw on the cover of a national magazine a big splash about a health article in that issue. It purported to let the reader in on all the code words that doctors and hospitals use. Since I’m spending more and more time around these venues, I thought it would be nice to know what was coming over the loudspeakers and what the nurses and other folk were saying. So I read the piece.

I learned that code red was a fire, code gray was a combative person, and code brown was a bed full of excrement. I also learned that medical folk use shorthand when something bad has happened or is about to such as: AV-anticipatory vomiting, FUO-fever of undetermined origin, DRT-dead right there (at an accident), AND-allow natural death, MFC-measure for coffin. Shorthand letters are used to describe or insult patients: FLK-funny looking kid, PMS-poor miserable soul, LOLINAD-little old lady in no apparent distress. And some shorthand can have more than one meaning: BP-bedpan or bypass, GC-gastric cancer or good condition, LB-left breast or left buttock.

At the end was a disclaimer saying that the various codes, abbreviations, and shorthand letters would vary from facility to facility and that you would have to check to see just what your doctors or hospital might be using. What a disappointment. So I had ended up with just what I’m giving you readers today—BOUI, a bunch of useless information.


Dr. Lucas G. (Luke) Boyd is the retired principal of Battle Ground Academy. He lives in Franklin and may be contacted at


Posted on: 1/2/2013


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