Face painting at the Vancouver Art Gallery during a Fuse event, October 2009

While America ties itself in knots in a farcical debate whether it will make health care available to all its citizens, here in Canada I am enrolled in the provincial Medical Service Plan, which covers all my basic health needs: emergent, urgent, preventative, and elective care. It costs $48 per month. Paperwork? My doctor’s office simply swipes my Care Card when I arrive, hands it back to me, and we’re done. Ask a Canadian what a deductible or co-pay is; they’ll just look at you with a blank stare.

And lucky thing I’m covered. Just look at that gash on my forehead!

Actually, that was another freebie, hand-painted at Friday night’s FUSE event at the Vancouver Art Gallery by professional make-up artist Katheryn Sainsbury. Kat’s normal gigs involve high-fashion photo shoots; but like the other make-up artists at the museum last night, she was working in a more ghoulish mode.

While this paint job was considerably less extensive than my last touch-up, it was seen by way more people. One woman, catching sight of my “wound” as I left the restaurant at which we dined after the gallery event, became quite distressed and looked as though she was about to be violently ill. My friends calmed her down, telling her it was just make-up. But had they not stepped-in to relieve her — had she fainted, fallen to the ground, and split-open her noggin so that we were effectively twins — she still would have been okay in the end.

Because she is Canadian and has health care.

6 Responses to “Care”

  1. 1 smita 24 October 2009 at 4:03 pm


    If you’d just asked Kat to paint you a bandage as well, neither of you would have needed a CARE card.

    That’s how we do it here in the good old USA.


  2. 2 Lady 24 October 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Seems you are on tour as a model of body paint. As a professional painter and moulager myself, kudos to the current artist. Personally, I prefer the painting on your lower cheeks.

  3. 3 Donna 24 October 2009 at 10:23 pm

    That’s a seriously creepy PSA photo.

  4. 4 millyonair 26 October 2009 at 7:46 am

    I love that you went out to eat with the head-gash.

  5. 5 Mona 28 October 2009 at 9:22 am

    Marc: How about sending that fabulous posting to Congressional leaders? Trust me, its compelling as is the explanation that follows. Show them what a mockery their debate is. Health care could be done so easily, but with all the rich health insurance and pharmaceutical companies trying to keep the past in the present in future, very little “real” change will occur. America is going the way of the Desoto.

    Van and I loved meeting you and have wanted to contact you. With my father’s ailing we were distracted to say the least. Finally my father was released.

    Love your artwork! Fondly, Mona Friedman (Janet’s sister) Jamison

  6. 6 kaffir 1 November 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Not to worry – Obama is in the house (a white one too), along with the Democrats controlling the House as well as having a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. So who exactly is to blame for this lack of progress and capitulation on the health care issue, or for taking single-payer off the table and not even considering it? Could it be the millions of dollars that Obama took as “campaign contributions” (euphemism for bribe) last year while saying no to the public funding option? I guess the paymasters want their pound of flesh from Obama now and have hamstrung him when it comes to reforms. Here’s a solution – for those who need health insurance, say the magical three words – “Hope and Change” real loud and it’ll take care of all your ailments.

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