Do people say to housepainters, "You know who else was a housepainter?"
This will be at the beginning of the book. Writing about lobotomy is a lot like writing about vampires or homicidal maniacs, as it turns out, because I have to make the same effort to convince people to think in a new way about a subject they've already decided how to be appalled by. When I read "Poor Thing" at the open mike those bastards didn't laugh in the right places, but they cracked up as soon as I said the word lobotomy. To be fair, it was ice-pick lobotomy, a more inherently funny term, but still, the sentence in which it first occurs in that story is not what I'd call comical: "In her childhood my mother was subjected to a transorbital or 'ice-pick' lobotomy, at the time considered a legitimate treatment for epilepsy." See? But the audience laughed: lobotomy still scares us that much. You try getting a laugh with the name of some other outdated medical procedure, like cranioclasty. Crickets.