Two days after open-heart surgery, Gerber went to physical therapy down in the cardiac ward’s TV room.
“You work on Wall Street?” said an old guy with greasy hair sitting in the chair next to Gerber. The guy had a faded Marine Corps tattoo on his forearm.
“Sort of,” said Gerber, who was an actuary. He looked around the room – a bunch of old zombies. At forty-five, no doubt Gerber was the youngest person there.
“You look the part. Wall Street fucked me over. Fucking Ponzi scheme – rotten inside and out,” said the Marine. “Looks like it screwed you pretty good, too.” He cackled like the Penguin.
“Sorry to hear that,” said Gerber. “Name’s Joe.” Gerber held out his hand.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass who you are,” said the Marine. He crossed his arms over his chest.
The therapist said, “Okay, people, let’s work those lungs. Hug your pillow to your chest and breathe in.” The patients blew into plastic tubes with little balls inside. They worked their cores, waving their arms and lifting their knees ten times.
“Never cross your legs,” said the therapist, “that could cause clots.”
A bird-like lady misunderstood and kept on crossing her legs, flashing a toothless smile and way too much of her thigh. Finally, the therapist let her sit there with her legs crossed.
“Hey lady,” said the Marine, “You got your legs crossed.”
“They are crossed,” said the lady.
Right then, Gerber decided to quit eating cheeseburgers, cold turkey.