Doctor Clip-Art (by Neil Kramer)

The following entry comes from acting contributor Neil Kramer, who said yes to writing here while I write elsewhere. Who loves him? I do.



I consider myself an honest person. As a child, I never stole candy from the supermarket or candy store. I never cheated on a test. Call me naive, but it took me a long time to recognize dishonesty.

The first time I dented my car, a friend recommended that I bring it in to "Czech Auto Body." The repair shop was in a little "garage" hidden in an alley in the San Gabriel Valley near Los Angeles. Oddly, no one of Czech origin worked there. The Thai owner asked, "How long do you need a rental car while we fix your car?" I answered, "I don't need a rental car." He said, "Perfect. I'll put you down for a week."

I'm not sure how it happened, but the dent was fixed and I ended up getting money back, making money in the deal. I also received a refund from my insurance company for a non-existent car rental. I'm sure "Czech Auto Body" got compensated somewhere, but it was clearly a "don't ask, don't tell" situation.

After this episode, my eyes were opened to the ways of the world. There is corruption out there, especially in certain professions, as in anything to do with car repair. Moving companies will always screw you, adding pounds to the weight of your boxes. I've even heard of some movers holding your furniture hostage, demanding payment like Mafiosos. Attorneys? Even Shakespeare knew not to trust lawyers. Politicians -- need I say more?

Still, being a hopeful person, there are some I intrinsically trust -- like those in the medical field.

Recently, Schmutzie had to deal with some fairly serious medical issues. When she went to her doctor, I assume she listened to her doctor, trusting her opinion. No one wants to have a gynecologist who plays mind games with you, or who thinks it is fun to "Punk You" with a fake diagnosis. You also don't want a doctor who "wings it" when she doesn't know the answer. Anyone who would knowingly fool around with our health deserves a special place in hell.

That's where evil companies like Selmedica Healthcare come in. (you can find them online or read about them here -- http://thyroid.about.com/b/a/257439.htm)

Snake oil products have been around for centuries. It is not surprising that they still exist, despite our modern belief in "science." Modern medicine isn't perfect. We still haven't defeated the common cold or cancer, so we're always looking for a way to beat the odds.

"Their claim to fame is taking common vitamins and supplements, giving them fancy pharmaceutical drug-like names, putting huge price tags on them and charging more than many legitimate prescription drugs, then heavily advertising these supplements with promises of instant cures for various diseases and conditions, and then marketing them exclusively online, by using heavy affiliate marketing." -- http://thyroid.about.com/b/a/257439.htm

Hypohyroidism is a common ailment and can be regulated by taking medicines such as Synthroid. However, as with many medications, there are side-effects. What if you could cure hypothyroidism without medication? One of Selmedica's biggest sellers is an electronic book they sell for $17 titled "The Secret Cure for Hypothyroidism."

"And for $17, you'd expect to get a lot of information. The ads make this "Cure" sound as if it's a full-length book. In reality? It's a short pamphlet of 20 pages -- AND, 5 of the 20 pages are the title page and filler pages that don't contain any content!) So you get 15 pages, and you end up paying more than $1 per PAGE...and for what?" -- http://thyroid.about.com/b/a/257439.htm

Perhaps the most outlandish act of this company is that they say it was written by "Pat Harper, "America's #1 Hypothyroidism Expert." Not only is Pat Harper a fictional character, but her photo can be easily found as a model, dressed as a doctor, on Clipart.com!

http://www.clipart.com/en/close-up?o=4904064&a=p&q=&k_mode=&s=1&e=42&show=&c=&cid=&findincat=&g=78325&cc=&page=&k_exc=&pubid=&color=&b=k&date=

For me, that is as low as you can get on the moral compass. Next time I feel guilty about using a photo of Lindsay Lohan on my blog that I stole from some gossip site, I'll remind myself that my sin pales in comparison to this!

While "Czech Auto Body" won't win any consumer trust awards, at least they were screwing with the insurance industry, and not people with thyroid disease.