I got this email from a friend of mine just now:
"Around 3:30 there was a furor down the hall from me. A group of people gathered around a colleague who was prostrate on the floor, having literally fallen down on the job, ill.
"Some building people came running up. Others--the take charge types--were shepherding people away. "He needs air," was all I heard. In short order, a couple sets of EMS people made it up to our work area with one of those gurney/stretcher contraptions and a steel canister of oxygen.
In minutes they had him up on the stretcher, they had done an EKG, his blood pressure and pulse and were wheeling him out to the ambulance and then off to Roosevelt Hospital, or whichever hospital has the highest insurance reimbursement rate.
"I kept my distance. That's the wise thing to do in these situations. If you can't help, stay away. But along about the time I was leaving, say 9PM or so, I ran into a friend of mine in the men's room.
"You heard what happened to Frank," he said as we were washing up.
"I knew someone collapsed. I didn't know who it was."
"Yeah, it was Frank. I spoke to his wife, though. He's ok. He'll probably be back at work in a couple of days."
"Thank god," I said, knocking wood. "What happened?"
"He got Laconicitis," my friend said.
"Laconicitis?" There was a disease I hadn't heard of.
"Frank's lasted 35 years in the business by being Laconic--using very few words."
"I had noticed that about him," I responded, "the Gary Cooper type."
"Yup. Finally, all those words--35 years of unsaid anger, disgust, not calling bullshit--just piled up inside him and constricted his windpipe around his larynx and he went down."
"Fuck," he's alright though.
"Yeah, he's ok. But shit man, you gotta watch out for Laconicitis. That shit'll kill y'."
"I took a taxi home. But didn't say a word of this to anyone."