‘You’re Only Crazy’ tackles heathcare
June 11, 2012
It may appear that Park City resident and author Irwin Krigman has a bone to pick with the United States’ healthcare system.
In his book "You’re Only Crazy If It Ain’t Workin’ for Ya," he takes issues such as antisocial personality disorder, substance abuse, alternative medicine and lyme disease, among others, and turns them on their heads through biting humor and scathing sarcasm.
The book, which was published by Krigman’s own company, Quality Books and Audio, is available on consignment at Dolly’s Bookstore. It is also available at http://www.amazon.com and http://www.irwinkrigman.com .
The origins of "You’re Only Crazy If It Ain’t Workin’ for Ya" started with Krigman’s relationship with various Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), for which he does some distributions.
"They have their programs and I augment them through my company, which has been around for 17 years," Krigman said during an interview at The Park Record offices. "I’ve been working with United Medical Resources, or UMR, as they are called, and one day I came up with a crazy idea and sent an email to one of my contacts there."
Krigman proposed two health-care issues he wanted his friend to consider.
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"The first was obesity," he said. "I wrote, ‘If being obese is such a problem, why is it so popular?’"
The second was insanity.
"The tagline was ‘You’re only crazy if it ain’t workin’ for ya’ and I had two steps that people could follow," he said. "Step one said, ‘How’s it working for you? If you answer ‘fine,’ stop here. If not, go to step two and step two was to go to Plan B."
Krigman’s friend emailed back and said he had brightened her day, which only encouraged him to think of more of his skewed ideas, so he wrote the book, he said.
While writing, Krigman’s thoughts moved from healthcare to politics and back again.
"I think politics are ridiculous, because everybody knows that whenever a Democrat proposes something, the Republicans are going to say no," he said. "But I have always felt if something in life doesn’t work, change it. So, if a program the Democrats propose doesn’t work, just change it. If the president has a program and it doesn’t work, change it to something else."
That brought Krigman back to healthcare.
"We don’t have universal healthcare in the United States and things aren’t working," he said. "Other countries have universal healthcare and it works for them."
So, Krigman came up with some ideas.
"The whole point of the book is that I feel any U.S. citizen and illegal alien should be covered for life-threatening conditions," he said. "We already have something like that. If you a life-threatening condition, you can’t be turned away from a hospital, but the question is how do we pay for it?"
Krigman said his answer is simple.
"There are two conditions that I have defined," he said. "One is lifestyle condition and the other is what I call are fuzzy diseases."
Lifestyle conditions are the result of people’s decisions, whether they choose to eat poorly or ski dangerously.
"Lifestyle conditions include overeating, smoking, drugs, alcohol and even extreme sports," Krigman said. "I mean, on some slopes, you’re either a missile or a target. If you don’t have the sense to get out of the way, it’s your problem. If you don’t get out of the way, why should we bail you out?"
Fuzzy diseases are ailments that have no medically verifiable symptoms, or treatments or medications that are effective, Krigman said.
"That basically brings it down to mental health," he said. "In the book, I wrote that if the mental problem is a chemical imbalance, go to your primary-care physician. If there is treatment or medication, it doesn’t fall under this category."
An example of a fuzzy disease is stress, Krigman said.
"In the book, I wrote there is no stress germ or bacteria," he said. "It’s not carried in the air, food, water and not communicable, meaning you can’t catch it from somebody else."
Krigman found it interesting that the only test for stress is a stress test.
"They put you under stress and test you for it," Krigman said with a laugh.
"That’s like hitting you on the head and subjecting you to loud music and then testing you for a headache."
Humor aside, all the chapters in the book start with a factual explanation of a symptom, and Krigman did that for a reason.
"You cannot lampoon something people don’t understand, so, the first part of the chapters help them understand the health issues," he said. "Then I rip into them and usually end the chapter with a fairytale or a nursery rhyme."
For example, in chapter about delusion, Krigman used the story of Pinocchio to illustrate his point.
"The poster-child for someone who is delusional is Gepetto, a guy who thinks a talking piece of wood is a real boy," Krigman said.
"You’re Only Crazy If It Ain’t Workin’ for Ya" is illustrated by artist Dan Rosandich, whose work has appeared in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series and Better Homes & Gardens.
"I thought his cartoons were spectacular," Krigman said of Rosandich. "The quality and detail are phenomenal."
After contacting Rosandich, Krigman sent him a manuscript.
"I thought he was going to come back with all these cartoons, but he didn’t," Krigman said. "Instead, he asked me what I wanted. So, I told him what I wanted and he drew it and he basically drew the pictures that were in my head."
Krigman published the book for fun and not necessarily to make money.
"It’s just an excuse for me rant," he said.