The Surgeon

The air hangs heavy, stifling and still, lacking even the faintest hint of a breeze to stir up the atmosphere and provide some measure of relief. It’s draped atop us like a weighted blanket, smothering and oppressive. Isn’t that the theme for 2020?

I used to dislike summer because of the heat and lack of rain, but living in South Dakota, I have come to appreciate the season for its variety. This year, I’m reminded of why I have traditionally abhorred summer. It’s been consistently hot and dry; 26 days with 90-degree temperatures so far, and they’re forecasting the same for the next six days. It wouldn’t be so bad if we had a little rain now and then, but we’re in a drought this year and even our thunderstorm season has been mostly a bust.

Bah, humbug. I’m over it.

The only silver lining is that no thunderstorms means no hail, and no hail means no hail damage on my new car. I found a very tiny, faint scratch on the back (might’ve just been a smudge) the other day and nearly freaked out.

I think the heat is frying my brain. We’re working on layout for the fall issue of our parent magazine, and John asked me to review an article. After I gave it my okay, he said, “I think you forgot something, mate.” Mate not because I own a boat now, but because he’s British. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what he was talking about, until he called me over to his desk. The title for the article read, < INSERT HEADLINE HERE >.

Ha. Oops.

About two-thirds of my job involves writing and the other fourth involves math. (Ha…kidding.) The other third involves editing. My official title is Senior Content Writer, but lately, my supervisor has been introducing me as Senior Editor, which I have to admit has a nice ring to it. We aren’t too hung up on titles here; I could probably call myself anything within reason and they’d be okay with that. As we near publication dates for our various titles, the editing side of my job kicks in. I’ve mentioned before how this involves a lot of cutting and trimming, so much so that John has taken to letting me know that “surgery is needed on this article.” That got me thinking how cool it would be to have a nickname, and why not The Surgeon? It ties in nicely with my healthcare background anyway.

I’ve had two nicknames in my life. In high school, they called me Jimmy Olsen because of my work on the school newspaper. I wasn’t thrilled with that one—in the Superman universe, Jimmy Olsen’s kind of a dweeb; I wanted to be the one saving the world and gettin’ jiggy with Lois Lane—but it was fairly apt. Let’s just say I didn’t win any fashion awards in high school. During my college internship, I worked for a direct mail company, and one of the salesmen I worked with started calling me The Hawk because of my attention to detail. I think his attention to detail was lacking because The Eagle would have made more sense, but the name was kind of badass so I flew with it (pun intended).

Did you (or do you) have a nickname? If not, what should yours be? And how’s your summer shaping up—are you just as eager for winter as I am? (Ron, you’re off the hook on answering that one.)

34 thoughts on “The Surgeon

  1. 26 days with 90 degrees is not at all fun. Draining. And, yes, the theme for 2020. That first scratch on a car is a killer. I am glad it wasn’t me, and I did not rub it in.🙂

    An editor who is also a surgeon. Makes sense to me. It sounds like you can pick and choose from a few nicknames, Mark.

    Just met up with writing friends from out of town this week. We explored some of the Juan de Fuca Marine Hiking trails on the West Coast. Masks, sanitizer, social distancing and the gorgeous outdoors. Trying to keep everyone healthy, yet live life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is an alter ego a nickname? If yes, then I have one. 😉

    We have summer weather here during the day still. I like. I love. Less clothing or fuss and all that… BUT. The morning and evening air are definitely autumn-ish. And as much as I love autumn and its pleasant temperatures and colours, I do not like what comes next. I don’t mean snow, I like snow, but all the grey, dark, wet gloom that precedes the nice, white, fluffy snow…nah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think alter egos count. I have one too, but no way am I busting that out on this blog. Long-time friends know it.

      I definitely miss the grey, dark, wet gloom of the PNW. And here (sometimes). Even these past three mornings have been in the low 70s. At least I don’t even have to give a second thought about what to wear when I head out for my walks.

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  3. Summertime is great until it isn’t. I’d like to edit out the days that are over 90ºF but so far haven’t found a way to do that. I’m ready for autumn, not quite on-board with winter yet.

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  4. My sister–An Actual Surgeon–would flay me alive if I tried that nickname. I would never hear the end of her right to use it because of 4 years of medical school, plus internships, plus residency, plus fellowships, plus halo given to her by God, etc.

    I love giving people nicknames, but I’m not sure I’ve ever had one that truly suits. (My son would disagree and say “Meanest Mommy EVER” is a most accurate title.)

    “Hawk” is a pretty cool moniker.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I never thought of the Dakotas being that hot. But then Maine shouldn’t be either and yet here we are. Miserably hot and dry summer in my neck of the woods as well. My only real nickname was my maiden name growing up. I won’t share it here because for all I know you’re the hacker that sends me Viagra spam… but it was the name of a famous fictional character and I didn’t mind it at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had the nickname, given by my dad, of Bird when I was a child. I have no idea why he chose that and I never took the time to ask him as an adult. I regret that. I also somehow acquired the name Memol from my kids when the youngest was born. It was an offshoot of a silly name the older kids called the youngest. I still get referred to as Memol on occasion. I have an odd family indeed!

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  7. “…are you just as eager for winter as I am? (Ron, you’re off the hook on answering that one.)”

    Mark, it’s so funny because Dakota and Philly are total opposites–when you’re hot, we’re not, when we’re hot, you’re not. When it snows there, we have no snow and 70 degree winter days.

    For the past four days here it’s been gorgeous. No heat and no humidity. Now watch, tomorrow it will go up to 98 degrees, and yet it will be 55 degrees in Dakota.

    Ha! Yes, I remember the character Jimmy Olsen!

    An yes…I can’t WAIT for Fall AND Winter! I’m over summer. And this is been a hot one too!

    Stay cool, my friend. Fall will be here soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha…you’re right, Ron. It’s uncanny how our weather is always the opposite. All your meteorologists have to do is take a look at our weather and predict something completely different for Philly. They’ll never get it wrong!

      Take care and enjoy your pleasant weather.


  8. I’ve been bemoaning these mid to upper 80’s temps, but you’ve got me beat. That sounds awful. Enjoyed the math joke. The pun later on was also nice. Someone once called me The Sniper, and I absolutely adored that. I wish it would stick. Sometimes people call me Bets, and that works too, I guess, though far less inventive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I Bets you liked The Sniper better. I would, too! You could always get people on board by making that your new blog name! “Tales from The Sniper” or something to that effect.


  9. Well, the Army put me in some damn cold places, the least of which was the Ross Ice Shelf in the Arctic for 90 days, Brim Frost in Northern Alaska, and two Winter Reforgers in Northern Germany near the North Sea….so I refuse to (1) live anywhere where it gets below 50 for a period of more than 2 days, and (2) has four seasons. I love the heat. I would rather it be 100 for 30 days than 30 for one. By the way I started reading your book last night.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Humidity does not bother me. It reminds me I live surrounded by water. The first chapter of your book was tense, but was hoping the guy in the water (Nicolai) survived by grabbing on to some flotsam. You spent a whole chapter building his character and getting us to like him, only to dust him?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I have the same reaction to anything on my car – and it’s a year old. I wonder at what point you start to shrug off a ding/scratch…

    Your job sounds great. I start my”Copyediting I” course in about a month. Looking forward to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good question. Scratches and dings are inevitable. I would just like to get through the next month hail-free—always a concern around here. It’s nice not driving around a car with hail damage and I’d like to keep it that way as long as possible.


  11. “The Surgeon’s” definitely a cool sounding name. I guess being “Ruler of the Flamingos” probably wouldn’t work (unless you wanted to decorate your desk area with them)?

    Nick names never stick with me, but that’s okay. And summer is, well…aside from the fires and smoke, it’s okay. I’m a bigger fan of the fall and winter, personally.

    (So if hail comes with your winter, I hope your car will be okay!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ruler of the Flamingos. Ha! I guess that’s a mouthful.

      We have a very definite thunderstorm/hail season: late April to late September. Survive those five months unscathed, and you’re home free until next year.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve had lots of nicknames, either plays on my name or personality (Hercule and LoveChild) being the two oddest.

    It’s been bad for farmers, but this dry summer has been great for me with having to social distance while doing staycation activities outdoors. Loving it and dreading being forced back indoors this winter.

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