My dear wife is a great fan of the CSI series.  She watches it when she has time (which is not often these days).  I admit, the show is compelling.  The drama and stories pull me in; by the time it’s almost over, I really want to know who did it, and how.

It’s intriguing to watch the characters use science (real and imagined) to find the answers to bizarre crimes in glamorous cities.  But, just as ER does not reflect my own world of medical practice, so CSI doesn’t really reflect the realities of criminal behavior and forensics.  (And in both cases, the actors and actresses make us real folk look positively ugly.  As my partner Doug says, ‘medicine is acting for ugly people.’)
Let me put it this way.  I’ve met plenty of criminals, and for the most part, it doesn’t take advanced DNA analysis, a complex fiber-identification program, or even a national fingerprint database to catch these people.  Often it seems about as simple as this:

‘Son, you kill that boy down on Fifth street last night?’

‘Yes sir, he had it coming to, the lousy (expletive deleted)!’

In other cases, of course, it’s not so straightforward.  The murderer may, in his or her drunken or drug induced stupor, hide the body cleverly on the couch, on the front porch, in the pool, in the street or partially buried in a flower garden.  Where do they get their ideas?
In still other circumstances, the criminal’s silence and reticence can be tricky.  But these obstacles are usually overcome by drugs or alcohol in about 0.5 seconds.  ‘What did you do last night?’  ‘Oh, I killed this dude and stole his credit cards.  Want another round?’

Granted, DNA analysis probably comes in handy.  Especially in identifying the huge blood-stain on the t-shirt of the murderer, who fell asleep in the next room after killing her room-mate.

All I’m saying is, there are a few clever murderers, thieves and general miscreants.  But most of them ‘ain’t the brightest bulbs in the box,’ as we say in the South.

This realization has helped me to deal with the fact that I’m not nearly as smart as those dang doctors on ER.  I mean, I used to watch it and wonder if I had actually gone to medical school.  ‘Wow!  River blindness!  I didn’t even think about that last night!  I need to call that guy back!’

TV is TV, reality is reality.  And never the twain shall meet.

Have a great Monday, my brothers and sisters!  God give you laughter and ignorant assailants.

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