Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm not a doctor, but I do play one on the phone.

Last post I mentioned that I try my best to make it on my own, and that's true, but it means that I am often incredibly broke. To compound this fact I am pretty deeply in debt from my school loans, granted I am now $20,000 less in debt after playing a game of fiscal chicken with an evil company who co-signed a private loan with me. I'll tell that story next post, that way if I ever turn up dead via some mob-hit, you all know exactly why it was I was beaten to death with pipes.

For now I will talk about one specific example of the other means I undertake to meet rent. A small job I took on under the pretense of answering an anonymous Craigslist ad that I assumed would be a dirty joke. This post is about how I impersonated a doctor on the phone for $100.

It is also the post where I start using pictures that I lazily Photoshop for the posts!

The creepiest doctor on Google Image Search.

When I am bored or feeling particularly insane I will jump on Craigslist and reply to any and all job ads that look like scams. Most of them ARE scams, and I have whatever fun I can with them, pester them until I get a phone number to call and proceed to call and ask inane questions until they threaten me. The golden ones though are the creepy gigs that could end up being some kind of 65 year old pervert, because those always make for good stories. One day I stumbled onto what I thought was the grail of creepy pervert ads.

"100$ for 30 minutes of work. I need you to make a phone call."

That is all the ad said, and it was perfect. I pictured some man in a dalmatian suit panting into the other end of the phone, requesting I bark at him, while instead I sing twinkle twinkle little star in a falsetto voice until he hangs up sobbing. I was very excited for what I anticipated to be a hilarious moment. So I e-mailed the poster and waited excitedly for the fun to begin. It all started like I imagined it would, questions about who I was and what kind of person I was, the question about whether I could affect a professional tone was readily greeted with a hearty laugh due to my assumptions. Finally the poster gave me a number to call, he wanted to hear for himself what my voice was like, and that's when he explained what he needed.

The poster, we will call him Andrew, was a psychiatrist who specialized in patient interactions in a research setting. He was applying for a new position, a position that required five professional references, and he only had four he could use. He needed me to be the fifth doctor, and I saw no reason not to jump into my Tardis and help him out. You can't blame me for the Dr. Who joke, you saw that "fifth doctor" line and thought about it too!

This stranger just asked me to do something immensely unethical, not to mention illegal for both of us. So if you are reading this and happen to represent any legal organization, let me just say that I reported him to the authorities immediately and that the rest of this post is all just some grotesque fantasy.

I immediately agreed, quickly seeing this as one of the few opportunities to earn money doing what I do best; talking in some fake accent and lying. Andrew provided me with the name of a doctor he used to work under and couldn't use as a reference, along with the name of the center and the years he worked. He was confident that was all they would ask for, and gave me the phone number to call along with the Google Voice number he listed on the application in the event they asked for my number. This should have been a red flag: he couldn't use the person I was impersonating, and he went ahead and made a Google Voice account in anticipation of this moment.

$100 appeared in my Paypal though, so I ignored that detail and went to work.

In my best Midwestern doctor voice I introduced myself to the woman on the other end of the phone and began giving my glowing recommendation. Yes I'm Dr. Stern, Andrew worked for me at Mercy for two years, was a real pleasure having him on the team. I silently congratulated myself as I prepared to return a goodbye, but instead she had questions for me. Lots and lots of questions.

Was he independant? What kind of learning style would you say Andrew had? Did he work well in a team enviornment? How did he interact with patients? In your opinion, did his personal life ever interfere with his work? On and on the questions went, and I just kept painting the picture of some super doctor.
Whoops, looks like my x-ray vision causes massive tumors.
Toward the end it almost felt like she was trying to lead me to some conclusion she wanted to hear, until the last question finally rolled around. "Anything else you think we should know about Andrew? Be it in the work environment or otherwise?" That was a weird one, so I just let her know I didn't interact with him outside of the professional environment and bid her a good day.

Andrew was incredibly pleased with my work after I told him about the call, but I had to know what was up with those last few questions. Why did this woman seem like she wanted me to say something specific?

"Oh, yeah, Jennifer is just a huge bitch, she found out about my DUI and that's why she actually called all of my references. It's why I had to use someone else for Dr. Stern, I was working for him when it happened, but I just an intern at the time. Only 19, you know?"

Oh. So for $100 I just made it possible for a psychiatrist with the moral compass of a Disney villain to land a job wherein he will be interacting with patients in a research environment. Good to know.

Most of that money went toward paying my rent. The rest however, that went toward easing my conscience.
That's why they make the stuff, after-all.


  1. I really should show my older brother this...

  2. This. Was an incredible story. My hat is off to you!

  3. Hahaha very nice. A man's gotta make money you know! Sometimes it may not be the cleanest money, but it spends just the same! +follow

  4. It's really pathetic how corrupt businesses are getting. They are all out there to nickel and dime you!

  5. never knew doctors did that ;)

  6. wow weird..this actually happened?

  7. Yeah. Scamjobs make you waste so much time.

    Fun story.

  8. Damn funny random story! I love how craigslist will get you into the weirdest situations. I'm sure the "doctor" was very grateful to have your quick thinking voice vouching for him!

  9. This amuses me!

    Keep on writing, seems you got a talent for that as well.

    I just hope that your texts don't get all crazy if they get rejected.

    From a giant bucket,
    Queen of France

  10. Thanks for the read friend :)