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07 April 2009 @ 11:36 am
Theatrical Muse: Week 277: Question 277  
Name: Dr. Sid Hammerback

Fandom: CSI: New York

Word Count: 987


Customer service.


Some people call what I do for a living public servant. I am a public servant, that is what they call me. Considering it, yes, I do provide a service, and to the public at that, but my job is more than that. In investigating the cause of death, in cutting open and examining the insides of any particular victim, I am speaking for those who can no longer speak, as the old forensic pathology adage goes. I am exploring the territories of a grisly story, individual to each person, but still which shares the similarities of those other cases that have come before it. For us Medical Examiners, down here in our domain we are one of the first ports of call for people who have just been notified of the death of a loved one, and who are beginning the grieving process. Inevitably, in many cases, even if they are not required necessarily to identify the victim, they still come here to see the person that has left them behind. An so we take out and uncover the sibling, the parent, uncle, cousin, friend or co-worker who has suffered death, and will, in the future, return to the Earth, so to speak. Time must move on without whoever is gone, and I sometimes help people to start realising that, depending on the situation at hand.

If I merely let people look at their dead loved one, that wouldn’t be enough. Any machine could do that, could retrieve and display what is really, for me, a day’s work in the process. No, in doing what I do, I don’t only show someone a body, I don’t only autopsy and examine the dead, I care for what I do as well, for who I see and who I work on. There are those who would seek to refute this, saying that getting closely attached is hazardous to my own mental health, but I am wry and humorous towards this point of view. You see, I have already experienced the worst of it! I have lost, my wife, my children, and now, well, now, I care for the people who have lost like I have, and for those who are lost, like Michelle, Christopher and Michael are. I am not saying that to do my job, a person must have suffered, but even before I came into the social situation I am in now, I saw victims not only as victims, but those who needed the care I could provide. The families were not just part of a functionary whole, but they were an individual, individuals sometimes, who had lost something that transcends normal, everyday customer and service provider relationships. Whereas someone working in a department store or a restaurant works to please their customers and to speedily solve their problems if they arise, I provide a different kind of service. I do not seek to please, I seek to comfort and inform, I do not seek speed or absolution of my customers from their problems, but I am a middle ground to their despair. I do not throw them out if they are displeased, I welcome them in, I show respect, and I display their lost one if they want, because it is their right to see them, something I should do, not something I could do if I pleased.

The reality of my service is that I see people who are dead, I see them naked and marred, bloodied and injured. I see them on the worst day of their lives, because there is not one single moment worse than death, and then I go on to see the people they have left behind. I see the sorrowful sisters, the fearful fiancés the pickled parental notion of futility that fathers and mothers feel, that they should have been there, should have been able to do something. When I provide a service to a customer, they are not a customer in the sense that they have come to me to partake of my service. No, my customer service is provided to people who are there because unfortunate circumstances have brought them there to the doorstep of my workplace.

I worked for a long time in cooking, and I still do now, occasionally. When you provide customer service to a person in a restaurant, you cook their food in hygienic surroundings, using proper methods, and you ensure that is well presented for their personal pleasure. Providing service here to the customers that inevitably come to the morgue, both the victims and the ones left behind, I still have to use hygiene, and proper methods, but it is not for the end game of customer pleasure I do it for. Instead, now as I work, now as I cut and slice, it is for science that I do it, and for the notion that, if I find evidence that can help solve a case, then there will be a few more customers who can sleep a bit more easily at night. There will be a few more who will have had my service rendered to their unwilling hands, so they can go on with their lives and remember fondly what has been lost, without having to grieve maybe as much. People worry, I know, that I cut into their loved ones without giving a damn as to what thing, what body, I was further damaging, and I provide customer service to them. I assure them that whoever or whatever the person was in their life, I respect them now, irrelevant of what they have done or had done to them. Even in cutting up a dead body, the victim’s family, their loves ones, deserve to know that they can expect a service out of me in this particularly sad customer service situation, and I try very hard, yes I do, to provide one to the best of my ability.
 
 
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