Guest Editorial: The Priests of Rad

By David L. Weiss, MD
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Dr. Weiss is a member of the Department of Radiology, Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA. He is also a member of the editorial board of this journal.

As the 21st century came to a close and the monotheistic belief in a single healthcare deity receded into dim memory, new gods appeared,along with specialized priests to attend them. One of the most powerful gods of this era was known as Rad. Hundreds of years ago in the valley of the Rhine, the original Priests of Rad harnessed from the cosmos his mysterious force which they called Rays of X. Throughout the centuries, Priests of Rad required years of training to understand and control this awesome power. Lesser gods coexisted with Rad, including the gods Card, Orth, and Er. While the priests of these gods denied the omnipotence of Rad, they still worshiped at his altar, providing more and more of the X power that he demanded. This greatly pleased the priests of Rad, for as their god grew more powerful they grew ever richer. All prospered throughout the land, and the people were content.

Inevitably, however, a new god appeared. While some still vaguely remembered the provenance of Rad, no one could recall where this new god, named Rvu, had come from. He simply was suddenly apotheosized and immediately demanded complete fealty. But the people responded enthusiastically, and a new priesthood was ordained. These Priests of Ledger shed their traditional long white robes and instead wrapped themselves in rich worsted wool garments of 150 thread count with a soft hand. Their necks they adorned with decorative sashes of the finest Italian silks draped over crisp white Egyptian cotton vestments, lightly starched. Thus in sartorial splendor did these sacerdotes construct such an altar of pure gold for Rvu that even the formerly omnipotent Priests of Rad felt compelled to worship this new god. At first, Rvu required only small sacrifices, but as time progressed he became ever more powerful and demanding, insisting on greater and greater amounts of the mysterious power of X from the Priests of Rad. The Priests of Er, Orth, and Card were also required to supply the Priests of Ledger with X to feed the gaping maw of this new god and ensure health to all the people.

The priests of Er and Orth were happy to acquire X from the Priests of Rad, but the Priests of Card had discovered the source of X for themselves and were able to save some serious coin by eliminating the middleman. Wait, cried the Priests of Rad. You are not trained to handle the awesome power of X. The other priests scoffed at this self-serving complaint. We know enough, they replied, and continued to offer their own sacrifices at the golden altar, thus delighting the Priests of Ledger who had even less understanding of the fearsome power of X.

As time passed and his golden coffers were filled to overflowing, the power of Rvu far exceeded that of the other gods. But one question still remained. Why, the people asked, do you not call yourselves the Priests of Rvu? The Priests of Ledger, in a rare moment of honesty, replied, not only do we have no idea of the origin of Rvu, we don't even know how to pronounce our god's name. The people were satisfied with this most sensible explanation, and peace was maintained.

All throughout the land were healthy in these years of plenty. Soon, however, the Priests of Rad began to notice disturbing omens from their god. There were those born with three arms; some with none; some with eyes that see-eth not. You have angered our god by abusing his power, cried the Priests of Rad. But the other priests, with less training, did not understand that Rad was not only a merciful god of healing but could also be a wrathful god of destruction. They once again failed to heed this tocsin from the Priests of Rad. Some even rejoiced at a newfound diversity within the species.

Seeing his warnings ignored, Rad's anger mounted and the suffering of the people increased. They soon began to notice that their seed was no longer potent. Homes that had previously known many children playing among the fig trees were now empty. And the people were sore annoyed. They turned first to their own priests of Er, Orth, and Card, who proved powerless against Rad. They next appealed to the Priests of Ledger at the golden altar, but these priests answered not, all having been recently promoted for flawless execution of their pernicious peculance. With fear mounting, the people prostrated themselves before the Priests of Rad. Help us, they cried, our children are deformed and our women barren. Dudes, intoned the Priests of Rad, you have worshiped the wrong god and Rad is now vengeful. The actions of your leaders have brought forth his great wrath and indignation upon you. Your priests must forsake the Priests of Ledger for they serve a false god. They must begin to Image Gently. 1 Yes, declaimed the chastised priests, we must all Image Gently. We must no longer worship the false god Rvu. The people cheered, and unnecessary X sacrifices were henceforth eliminated. Rad was mollified and became once again a gentle god dispensing kindness and healing.

Thus unto the future generations health and prosperity were restored among the people. Mirth and merriment prevailed throughout the land and all reveled late into the night. All save the Priests of Rad, who went home at 5 o'clock, for such was their power and wisdom that they alone might worship their god remotely.

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Guest Editorial: The Priests of Rad.  Appl Radiol. 

November 05, 2008
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