Troopers with the 1st Cavalry Division charge Cooper Field at Fort Hood, Texas, June 11, while helicopters from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade soar overhead during a rehearsal of the Spirit of the Cavalry. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Calvert, 1st Cavalry Division PAO (Released))

Riding into battle on a surgical cart adorned with the emblems of his realm, Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy delivered marching orders Sunday afternoon to his legions of lieutenants, commanders, and dentistry residents.

“Brothers,” he cried, “we will don our scrubs and defy the enemy’s assertion that drinking in moderation during pregnancy may be permissible. We will fight, and we may die, but history will never forget that chewing tobacco is addictive and can cause oral cancer among even teenage users! ”

Murthy drew a longsword from its sheath, sacrificed a virgin calf to ward off spirits of medical malpractice, and rallied his troops in a blood-curdling victory screech. Several appointment-holders emerged from the nearby waiting room to join, reasoning that even the prospect of iron-clad oblivion couldn’t be worse than reruns of Divorce Court.

“WHAT DOES EVERY SENIOR NEED?” the general screamed.

“LIFE ALERT!” his men replied.

“ARE YOU SEXUALLY ACTIVE AND DO YOU DRINK ALCOHOL OR SMOKE?”

“AWKWARD SHRUG!”

“THEN TONIGHT, GENTLEMEN, WE GIVE THEM A TETANUS BOOSTER FROM HELL!”

Murthy plunged his blade into the heart of a Big Tobacco lobbyist, reminded his legions that they would get a sticker on the way out if they were brave big boys, and charged into battle. Nurses to his side neutralized enemy fast-food advertisers with the touch of their icy stethoscopes, while his secretary let adversaries know that an appointment had just opened up for this afternoon in the afterlife.

Suddenly, though, Murthy paused, gazed upon his beeper, and hung his head in sorrow. “Gentlemen,” he said, “take my prescription pad, for I must take my leave. My insurance called. This battlefield is outside of my network.”

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