The other night at dinner my youngest son Isaac said from the depths of his seven year old wisdom, “A human is the only animal that wears clothes.” He then went back to chewing his food as I nodded in agreement. Clothes and the adornments we place upon them say so much about the person. They can place a person on an economic scale and give a sense of belonging. Clothes can mark us as different and rebellious. If an outfit is strong and becoming it may be called a “Power Suit,” as though the clothes can make the man.
I think its works the other way within The Walking Gallery. Recently I painted a jacket story for Ian Eslick. Ian plans to wear that jacket for his dissertation defense at MIT. Ian is really smart, as in getting a doctorate from MIT smart; but Ian does not flaunt his mental abilities. He speaks from a patient view as he talks of data aggregation and the possibilities if we harness the power in patient reporting within scientific research.
The painting for Ian is entitled: “The Highest Double.”
In this painting, I placed Ian, his mother-in-law and his two twin daughters. They are playing a game of Mexican Train. Have you played Mexican Train? I love it. I love it because it looks so hard at first but it is so easy. Someone had the brilliant idea to color code the dominoes. Each color is also a number, so seniors, children and parents can all play. I learned to play this game with my in-laws. I told my boss at the toy store we should carry it. He brought it in reluctantly. He said it wasn’t a very hard game, why would anyone want to play it? I told my boss it had some good addition drill and it was fun, but most important of all anyone could play. So if you look closely at these dominoes you will see they begin to morph from regular dominoes into patient reported diagrams. How can a chronic condition be affected if we remove one agent of causation and compare outcomes? What if we start comparing patient populations and look for doubles? Look for patterns? Think of that train of knowledge.
You see Ian is looking for that highest double. He is looking at entire patient populations just as you or I would look upon a pile of dominoes. He is looking for the match, the pattern, the train.
You might notice coins are laid upon this table (you also might notice they equal 73 cents). My family uses coins as markers when we play Mexican Train. If a coin is placed upon my domino track, I am unable to play on it and it becomes a train held in common. Anyone can play on it. In the game upon this table all trains are private. Ian has a train and his two daughters have trains. That final train with its foreshortened perspective facing the viewer; whose train is that? It is yours. It belongs to all of you who look upon Ian’s jacket. You are welcome to join this game of data.