God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (Hemingway)

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God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Two ambulance surgeons discussed a case of a young boy who sought castration to rid himself of lust, but ended up self-mutilating with a razor on Christmas Day.

In a city that was once very different, with hills and dirt, a man walked through the snow after admiring a silver racing car in a dealer's show window. He had just enjoyed a free turkey dinner at Woolf Brothers' saloon and was heading to the city hospital on a high hill. There, he found two ambulance surgeons, Doc Fischer and Doctor Wilcox, in the reception room.

Doc Fischer was thin and sand-blond, with a thin mouth, amused eyes, and gambler's hands.

Doc Fischer — thin, sand-blond ambulance surgeon; amused eyes, gambler's hands; extravagant speech.

Doctor Wilcox was short, dark, and carried an indexed book called The Young Doctor's Friend and Guide.

Doctor Wilcox — short, dark ambulance surgeon; sensitive, reliant on a medical guidebook; defensive.

The two doctors discussed an interesting case they had encountered the day before. A 16-year-old boy had come to the hospital, asking to be castrated because he believed his natural bodily functions were sinful.

The Boy — curly-haired, well-built, around 16 years old; religious, desperate to rid himself of lust.

I want to be castrated. I've prayed and I've done everything and nothing helps.

Doc Fischer tried to explain to the boy that there was nothing wrong with him, but the boy refused to listen.

There's nothing wrong with you. That's the way you're supposed to be. There's nothing wrong with that.

The next day, the boy returned to the hospital, having attempted to mutilate himself with a razor. Doctor Wilcox, who was on call, struggled to find the appropriate treatment in his book. Doc Fischer teased Doctor Wilcox about his reliance on the book, but Doctor Wilcox defended himself, saying that he was only trying to help the boy. The boy, now in the hospital, lamented that he had asked the doctors to help him, but they had refused.

Oh, I asked you to do it. I asked you so many times to do it.

Throughout their conversation, Doc Fischer and Doctor Wilcox continued to argue about their differing beliefs and approaches to medicine. Despite their disagreements, they both seemed to care about the well-being of their patients and the challenges they faced in their profession.