Thursday 18th October 1990   Morning surgery  08.56 

“I want to see the chiropodist.”
“The chiropodist?”
My Dad look puzzled.
“I phoned the Department of Podiatry. They said that I need to come to see you to see if you think I need to see them.”
“Right?” My Dad looked even more puzzled.
“If you do think I need to see them, they want you to send a referral letter.”
“Right. What’s wrong with you?”
“I’ve got a corn.”
“Is it painful?”
“Well, if you’ve got a painful corn you need to see them. I am not sure why I need to write a letter to them. Couldn’t you write to them and tell them you’ve got a painful corn?”
“They specifically said that you have to write to them. I don’t think it’s just a letter they want. I think they want you to make sure it’s a corn.”
“I am afraid I don’t know much about corns. When I was in medical school, we didn’t really spend much time in looking at feet in general. We certainly never covered corns, callosities or cutting toenails. If I remember correctly, the podiatry students did that. I have seen a few verrucae, though. Both my children have had them.”
“They said that they can’t see me unless you write to them.”
“I will write to them, as you are here but I don’t think I should be doing this. If you had a toothache, would you come to me, to see if you needed to go to the dentist?”
“No, obviously not. Do you want to look at my foot as I am here? They might like a description of the corn in the letter.”
“No, I don’t think so. I’ll just tell them you’ve got a painful corn. I imagine all corns look pretty similar.”

The lowest common denominator.