March 18, 2005

The Tin-Foil Hat Crowd

Admit it: You just rolled your eyes at that title. It's such a cliche. It's right up there with . . . eh, I'm too tired to think of another example. But I know, if you're critically thinking at all, that you occasionally wonder: "Does anyone actually do that? Wear tin foil on their heads. Wait: Wear aluminum foil on their heads, I mean. Hey, and why do we call it tin foil, when it's not even derived from tin anymore?"

You say "tin foil hat," and people respond, "Right, you mean the crazies. The conspiracy nuts. The black helicopter crowd." (Hey, there's another description suffering from overuse.)

But really: No one actually covers his body in aluminum foil to ward off the imaginary bad guys anymore, right? Right? Don't we have medication for this?

CHIEF COMPLAINT: Burning in head, chest, and extremities.

The patient is a 53 year-old male who presents to the emergency department complaining of a burning sensation in his scalp, face, anterior chest, and both upper and lower extremities, which he states is secondary to "being zapped by lasers from the aerial patrols." Patient states this occurs whenever he is outside. He has taken to seeking refuge in buildings, particularly on basement floors of same, and to wearing protective coverings made of aluminum foil on his person, under his clothes.

Yeah. THAT tin-foil hat crowd. And you thought people were just making that up to exaggerate.

Posted by Ilyka at March 18, 2005 09:35 AM in in praise of idleness

I'm more of a wax paper man, myself.

Posted by: Hubris at March 18, 2005 03:32 PM

My best friend is a psych nurse who has worked in the field for more than twenty years.

You would not believe some of the stories she tells.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at March 18, 2005 07:08 PM

There was a woman in Carmel who covered all of the surfaces of her house in foil, then called the police to file a complaint against her neighbours for broadcasting mental signals that kept her from selling her house.

Yeah, it was her neighbours that kept her house from selling.

Posted by: Ith at March 18, 2005 07:50 PM

Yeah, it was her neighbours that kept her house from selling.

Now that's laugh-out-loud funny.

I think what got me about this particular dictation was the way the physician direct-quotes the patient and the patient says the lasers are being shot at him by THE aerial patrols. You know, the aerial patrols! You see them flying by all the time! Don't you? DON'T YOU?

Posted by: ilyka at March 18, 2005 08:49 PM

You would not believe some of the stories she tells.

No, but I'd probably love to hear them regardless.

Posted by: ilyka at March 18, 2005 08:49 PM

Back when AOHell was just another ISP, I worked with a guy who answered tech support requests for them.

He told the story of the lady who called and said that AOL was sucking her brainwaves out of her head. After throwing away the script and after several minutes of assuring the lady that, no, AOL wasn't really sucking the brains out of her head, he told her to place foil around her ears when she was online to protect her brainwaves.

And thus ended that tech support call as "satisfied customer."


Posted by: Margi at March 18, 2005 09:39 PM