When New York City doctors announced last summer they were going to attempt remove a 25-pound lump of pure crankiness from Michael Singer's back, fellow surgeons around the world were united in their skepticism, many calling it a blatant publicity stunt.
"This is absurd," said Dr. Erich Manstein, of Germany's prestigious Back Off Medical Centre in Dusseldorf. "Everyone knows Singer's crankiness is permanently embedded in his bones. What are those so-called surgeons in New Quack City going to do? Remove his skeleton?"
So, when Singer's wife, the lovely Ruth "The Polar Opposite of Cranky" Reichl, announced to the world Friday morning that the operation performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery on East 70th Street in Manhattan had been a wonderful success, those very surgeons were scratching their noggins, calling it a "medical miracle" and lining up their own patients to perform what has quickly become known as a "Singer Crank Out" operation.
Authorities first became aware of Singer's ACD, (aggressive crankiness disorder) when he was a student at University High School on Oakland Avenue in St .Louis during the Eisenhower Administration. Midway through a class on the Second Punic War, the history teacher, Mr. Barca, caught young Singer dozing and tapped him with a ruler. Singer awoke and - according to University High School archives - bellowed the following "Why the hell shouldn't I fall asleep? You're teaching us stuff we already know. Do you actually think all of us don't already know that Hannibal took some elephants over the Alps? Everyone on Earth knows that. Even drunk men in small Armenian villages know that Hannibal took some fuckin elephants over the goddamn Alps."
(The teacher alerted the authorities at that point and Singer was transferred to the Webb School)
Still, Singer's ACD continued to grow. As a news producer at CBS, he became notorious for criticizing "feel good" stories. . He infamously refused to air the "Miracle on Ice" - the storied ice hockey game in the 1980 Olympics when team USA scored a stunning victory over the Russian team - instead dismissing it as the "Slip on this, motherfucker" game.
In the early 1990s, Singer became the only human ever to officially complain about the ending to "The Wizard of Oz", the John Coltrane solo on "But Not For Me" and the very notion of the Easter Bunny, all within a 48-hour period..
So it was understandable the dubious thoughts of surgeons around the globe had when the staff at the Hospital for Special Surgery announced they would remove the crankiness.
After Reichl released the news that the surgery was a success, his friends were quick to react with jubilation.
"Great news" emailed Robin Green. "Fantastic!" said Susan Kamil. "Fabulous" replied Dinitia Smith.
Still, one of Singer's closest friends reacted with the same touch of skepticism that Dr. Manstein had before the surgery
"I think this is terrific, but do you know if they got all of the cranky out?," said Weinstein. "I kinda hope not. .i mean Michael Singe without any crankiness, well, that wouldn't really be Michael Singer. I just hope they left a few pound of cranky in them old bones."