"The Ethicist" is Randy Cohen's long-running advice column in the New York Times. Each week, Gabriel Delahaye's "The Unethicist" will answer the same questions as "The Ethicist," with obvious differences.
In this week's installment, Gabe offers some valuable advice to any doctors stranded on mysterious paranormal tropical islands, and a young cabaret performer reminds everyone that she doesn't have time for this shit.
Years ago when I confirmed a new patient's pregnancy, she burst into tears. Her husband had had a vasectomy; her pregnancy was a result of a brief affair; she would not consider abortion. She begged me to keep her secret for the sake of her children and marriage. When unexpectedly confronted by her husband, I lied, saying his vasectomy must have failed. The marriage survived, and I believe my lie was justified. Was it? — Name Withheld
Oh, no reason for the secrecy, "Name Withheld." I think we all know who you are.
I keep my hair carefully cropped with an electric mystery. It's understandable that when confronted by Jin about Sun's pregnancy that you would lie. Things are hard enough on an impossible island covered in polar bears without some frantic Korean with a gun getting all mad because his wife fucked that weird bald guy from the hotel back in the lamest subplot in the history of narrative (Ooh, she secretly speaks English! Can she spell S-N-O-R-E?) I'm just impressed you were able to provide him with a comforting lie when confronted with the question "Jack? Boat? Boat?"
SPOILER ALERT: Sun's baby is actually half Asian, half black smoke monster. But what will you do, Jack, when Sun dies from the boring menstrual mystery of the third season? What will you tell Jin then? I've got an idea, why don't you tell him that this show is collapsing under the weight of the loose threads being abandoned in favor of easy surprises and lukewarm suspense of declining sustainability. Oh, there's a ghost in a rocking chair! Oh, there's a magical iPhone that calls an ex-girlfriend on an oil barge! I can see into the future, too, brother, and I can tell you that the rest of the series is going to be an embarrassing abortion.
When I arrived to baby-sit for a loving family with children I adore, the mother told me her daughter was coming down with a cold. Shouldn't she have warned me in advance? I'm a student and don't have time to get sick. I stayed, knowing this working mom needed the help, but my dad says I should have left. Is he right? — Eve Rybnick, West Orange, N..J.
Obviously a theater major with a penchant for cabaret doesn't have time to get sick, Eve. Doctors, soldiers, teachers, sure. They can lay around all day wiping their noses with their sleeves and watching re-runs of the Gilmore Girls (2pm on the WB), but you have important songs about Weimar Germany to memorize while doing acrobatic cane and chair dances. How are you supposed to remind people of the beauty of an outdated style of performance that is currently enjoyed exclusively by overweight lesbians who don't quite have the alt-culture chops for a half-ironic boom boom burlesque show when you're sneezing?!
Next time, you should wait until the mother leaves and then take the kid out to a free clinic. Won't it be a fun reversal when the mother comes home from her busy day at the office and you get to smile and say, "Oh, I meant to tell you, your daughter has Chlamydia"? That will be hilarious.
Good luck with the cabaret. Just kidding.