Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Episode 13 - The Heart Attack

The Plot:  There are a couple of quotes/references that separate the fans from the fanatics.  You know you are a true fanatic if you were to laugh out loud at the phrase “flaming globs of Sigmund.”  Also, this is one of the great episodes highlighting George’s cheapness.

In this episode, after watching a science-fiction movie, Jerry goes to bed, only to wake up in the middle of the night laughing and writing down a joke for his stand-up comedy act. The following day he is unable to read what he wrote down. When he is having lunch with George and Elaine, George thinks he is having a heart attack and is transported to a hospital.  On his way out of Monk’s, while dying of a heart attack, George takes a look at the check and notes that the waitress overcharged him.

Once he's at the hospital, knowing that he’s about to die, he asks Jerry to kill him, prompting Jerry to jokingly smother George with a pillow, until Elaine enters the room and “catches” him.  Not surprisingly, it turns out that George did not suffer a heart attack, but he does actually need a tonsillectomy.  Kramer warns George about the dangers of modern medicine and rather than be subjected to the butcher surgeons of the hospital, recommends a holistic healer (Tor Eckman) as a better and less expensive alternative. Jerry warns George that Eckman has spent time in prison, but because of the large difference in price, George decides to take Kramer's advice.

George, Kramer and Jerry meet Eckman, the holistic healer and he performs a number of unorthodox methods to determine George's real ailment, which he concludes has nothing to do with his tonsils, but with his "imbalance with nature". He then concocts a tea containing "cramp bark," "cleavers," and "couch grass" that would remove his ailment, also prescribing that George is to stop using hot water entirely. Upon drinking the tea, George becomes purple and has to be transported to the hospital again. On their way, the EMT and the driver get into an altercation over who ate some Chuckles (a jellied candy).  Later, George and Jerry are found in the hospital in neck braces. George indicates that he had the tonsillectomy, and Elaine is in the hospital only briefly to give George some ice cream. The hospital television shows the science fiction movie again, and Jerry remembers that what he wrote down was a line from the movie, “flaming globs of Sigmund” but as he realizes this, he notes "that's not funny."

Fun Facts:

  • This episode contains the first ever reference to Kramer’s friend Bob Saccomano.  Bob is a recurring character throughout the show who is never seen nor heard.
  • Trying to figure out the line from the movie, Jerry asks the nurse at the hospital, who reads it as “salami, salami, baloney”.  This is a reference to a line from a Popeye cartoon from the 1940’s that was subsequently banned for being racist.
  • This episode also has the first of George’s concerns about having “lupus”.  A hypochondria that will return over and over throughout the show.

Favorite Quote:   

KRAMER:  Boy, they've got a great cafeteria downstairs. Hot food, sandwiches, a salad bar. It's like a Sizzler's opened up a hospital!

Favorite Scene:   When Kramer is trying to convince George to go see his healer Tor Eckman.  Classic George cheapness and Kramer nuttiness.

KRAMER: I'll tell you what to do, I'll tell you what to do. You go to Tor Eckman. Tor, Tor, he'll fix you right up. He's a herbalist, a healer, George. He's not just gonna fix the tonsils and the adenoids, he is gonna change the whole way you function - body and mind.
JERRY: Eckman? I thought he was doing time?
KRAMER: No, no, he's out. He got out. See, the medical establishment, see, they tried to frame him. It's all politics. But he's a rebel.
JERRY: A rebel? No. Johnny Yuma was a rebel. Eckman is a nut. George, you want to take care of your tonsils, you do it in a hospital. With a doctor.
KRAMER: He's holistic, George. He's holistic.
GEORGE: Holistic.. that sounds right.
JERRY: George, you need a medical doctor.
GEORGE: (To Jerry) Let me ask you something.. How much do you think it would cost to have tonsils and adenoids removed in the hospital?
JERRY: Well, an overnight stay in a hospital? Minor surgery? I dunno, four grand.
GEORGE: Uh-huh. And how much does the healer charge?
KRAMER: First visit? Thirty-eight bucks.
GEORGE: Oh, yeah? Holistic.. that's what I need. That's the answer.

The Lesson:  While not unique to startups, cash and cash flow are even more critical to early stage companies than they are to their more established counterparts.  Very few early stage entrepreneurs have the luxury of being overcapitalized and being able to make decisions without worrying about the financial implications of their choice.  You cannot afford to waste a single cent in the early days of your company.  That being said, startups can definitely be victims of the penny-wise versus pound foolish dilemma.  It is unwise (and unhealthy for your business) to try and save a couple of bucks by seeking out the holistic healer when you are in need of a professional. Hiring your cousin, who is not an accountant, to setup your accounting and company financials may save you some money today, but will cost you significantly down the road, when you have to hire a professional to try and salvage what they can from the mess he made.  It is often better to bite the bullet and get it done right the first time, even if it may be a little more expensive.  There are too many Eckmans around when you are starting your business.  Resist the temptation and continue to use hot water when you bathe.  Both decisions will contribute to people wanting to do business with you in the future.

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