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The Greater Good

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The Greater Good

Previously on Egos Rising, new nurse Sam Taggart showed up with a cocky swagger and tried to win our hearts with Haldol and a scruffy young son. It didn't work. Luka took charge with a plan to clear triage much faster. Abby began a surgical rotation as part of her return to medical school. And finally, Bob Newhart promised Susan that he wouldn't kill himself yet.

We fade up on Bob Newhart's little toy village. Susan is at his apartment reading aloud to him, ostensibly in an effort to keep the lonely man's spirits high. But as she's droning a passage involving the words "melancholy," "death," and "funeral," I'd say she's not doing such a spectacular job. Bob interrupts her oration by coaxing a loud "thwppppt" noise from the bowels of his espresso machine, something I gleefully imagine to be a subtle protest of the endless, monotonous dirge that is Susan's company in this moment. Susan rattles off a couple of quick questions about his meds. "Coffee does the same thing," Bob says of one of his pills. "It also raises your blood pressure," Susan tsks. "Luckily, you gave me a pill for that, too," Bob says dryly. As he shuffles back to his work bench, Susan continues to intone very dramatic things from a dense and boring book, and Bob begins to wonder if perhaps Susan could add to his drug pile by putting this moment in pill form and prescribing it to him for nights when he has trouble sleeping. Then he evidently gets a better idea. "You don't have to keep doing this," he suggests. "I have time to finish," she protests. "I've never read this before. It's good!" Bob frowns. "You don't have to keep coming here," he says. "I don't have this book," Susan counters. "Keep it," Bob offers. "I'm never going to read it again." Susan explains, "That's why I'm here. That, and the coffee." What's with Susan being The One Who Cares Too Much? First Patrick Fugit, and now this. Can't she take an unnecessary stalker-like interest in a patient her own age?

Bob apparently decides to give Susan a taste of her own medicine by dispensing some depressing trivia designed to send her fleeing in search of some bliss. "[Stephen Crane] died at twenty-nine," Bob says of the author. "Nice. Very cheery," Susan breezes. Apparently, she's reading The Red Badge of Courage. And based on these featured excerpts, I will not be. Susan opens her mouth and burps up the following apt sound bite: "'Though he adopted toward him an air of patronizing good humor, his self-pride was not entirely restored.'" Bob frowns his jowls clear down to his shoulders. There will be no sweet release from tedium today.

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