First Day of October Membership Drive!!! Woooo!!!!

Hello, all you POCA-People out there in POCA-Land! If you're reading this, it means that we're all in the process of experiencing the absolute JOY of a MEMBERSHIP DRIVE!


So, why I'm coming to you here on the blog with the rah-RAH that I usually save for the daily numbers posts, is because I've got some EXTRA special Membership Drive content for all of you FABULOUS lovelies! How would you like to hear my STORY of what was quite possibly the WORST job in POCA? Would you like to hear a story of watching a clinic-entity DIE, and of how *I* had to help sort and bury its BONES?!


“Gee, Mike, I dunno…That's kind of a stark shift in tone for a Membership Drive, isn't it?”

Well, you see, there's two things to this. One, the theme of this 'Drive is “Don't Stop Believin'”, and I do feel that there is some of that in what I experienced at the Worst Job in POCA/CA. I don't necessarily think it’s the way most people might imagine, though.

The other thing, is something correctly pointed out by someone at the most recent POCAFest(<3 all the Canadian punks and POCA People SOOO MUCH <3). Having had the first-hand experience of what exactly it looks like when someone deliberately goes out of their way to travel the exact opposite direction of where POCA's basic principles of community-acupuncture are trying to send them, means I do have a bit of a unique perspective on said principles. "Proof by Contrapositive" n' such. And so, yeah, there's probably something there for people who may be still trying to wrap their head around what all this POCA/CA stuff is supposed to really look like, not simply mean(wasn't there a book put out recently about how theory and Praxis relate when it comes to punking? Too lazy to Google that at this exact moment...)

But, really, there's a third thing, too.

The third thing is that, I've been thinking about how to do this for a while. I got out of TWJIP/CA on 02 July 2017, and I definitely had a sense of there being some “content” to be had. However, the reason I’ve mostly only talked about it here-and-there with people is because I do have a real sense of wanting to get this *right*. Especially since said clinic is no longer, and so unavoidably I would be providing at least some semblance of “last word” with regards to it, and the clinic was much, much more than just what happened while I was there.

Oh yeah, SPOILER: the clinic has since been closed down. No surprise to anyone who knew about what was going on in the end, of course.

For almost five years before I got there, this clinic was a real resource for its community. It was a wonderfully cozy space, full of excellent patients, AMAZING volunteers, and punks who were plugged into the mission of POCA; the phenomenal Fractal was in full-effect. The clinic wasn't this one-off, “outlier” operation that was always skirting the edges of “viability”. People who cared about the mission of POCA had built it, and the community it served embraced it back sincerely, and really helped in the continual process of the clinic’s care and feeding. Most of the history of this clinic was a lot better than what it ended up to be, and I don’t want that to be lost.

Even after everything started to go sideways(and well beyond into some truly non-Euclidian territory), that community was still there trying to support it, and even supported me when I had become the only employee left that still gave a damn about helping people with acupuncture; as opposed to selling them a “lifestyle”.

The experiences I had at this clinic, which is to say the experiences I had with the community of people who were a part of its greater history, very much made me the punk I am today(working now at a much, MUCH better clinic at FSPA Community Acupuncture in Wisconsin). I feel like that if I inadvertently reduce my first clinic’s memory to something that makes people just roll their eyes, or a punch-line, or a cold, detached case-study of Exactly What Not To Do, and How Not To Do It, then I would erase the vibrant community that was behind it in the process. After everything else that happened I didn’t feel like adding more insult to injury, to say the least.

So, I’m gonna try my DARNDEST not to. Yeah, this is going to be an at times truly wacky detail of Just How Bad Things Can Get, in addition to what at times felt like a heart-wrenching experience of watching a varied community of people lose, inch by inch, a valuable healthcare resource. The circumstances of its passing should be mourned, of course, but its greater life and the way it touched so many people’s lives should in at least equal measure be celebrated.

Now you may have noticed by this point that I have not yet mentioned the specific name of said clinic.  To which, I can only say,


You’ve been paying attention, 10 points to Ravenclaw!

But honestly, the reason why said job I had at said clinic was TWJIP/CA was because my boss was AWFUL. Just, AAAWWWWFFFUUULLL. And, before taking the reins at this clinic, 1) had a legal background, 2) was and likely still is exceptionally vindictive and petty, and 3) liked to stalk people who upset them.
Further, the decisions they made were at times both cartoonish and seriously bad stuff, and I don’t even want to begin the risk of what they did somehow mistakenly becoming attributed to the good people who ran the clinic before my boss got there. If knowing exactly where this happened really matters to you, message me privately and I’ll be happy to tell you where.
I’d sincerely appreciate that people not immediately post where this was in the comments on any of the public-facing places on POCA, and that includes the POCA Members Facebook page. This isn’t part of the “bit”, I really am asking you to do me this favor right now. Thanks, I appreciate it.

(And, in case *you* happen to be reading this right now, I want to take this serious moment to create a special message JUST for you…
I want you to know in your heart-of-hearts, right down to your core, that I wanted to be MUCH nastier during that last phonecall, but I was too tired and frazzled to do so. Not because of the eight-hour drive ahead of me, either, but because that’s often the state people find themselves in after having to work for abusive narcissists for a year and a half. I hope you enjoyed yet another unearned free-pass.
I want you to know that I’m living SO well now, and I’m starting to regularly pull off 80+ treatments a week, even accounting for the usual kind of cancellations and people forgetting they had appointments.
I guess that friend of yours wasn’t so “psychic” after all, huh?)

So, I’ve definitely teased all of the rest of you cruelly enough by this point, so with all that aside, let’s start this off and get all the way down to the nittiest of gritties….


Author: teatree

lover of bikes, gardens, loaf shaped animals, kids, contra dancing, books, and weird smells. poking people and helping them feel better is amazing.

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  1. omg THE SUSPENSE!!!

    Mike, I’m so sorry you went through this, but grateful that you are sharing it. Especially the part of celebrating/mourning what the actual community built and grew and loved and lost. We felt some of this when WCA Lents burned, and again when we realized we couldn’t rebuild in the same location. It’s very very real and very very sad and you’re right, way more than a cautionary tale.

  2. Thank you, I appreciate that!

    It’s been hard to re-visit, and I thought for quite a while how I would even DO this. Especially towards the end, things just got so bizarre, it kept feeling like it was going to come out as a really depressing story of people losing a clinic, or something more appropriate for the Zang Fool.

    In the end, like I mention, I tried my best to just start from a way that doesn’t “cheapen” things. I don’t want to completely center the story on myself, and certainly not the [insert your choice of expletive here] of a person who wrecked everything. I wanted to as much as possible center the clinic, and I wanted to keep space for all of the people who worked really, really hard to try and preserve something good. I wanted that story to come out.

    Also, I wanted people to realize I actually did pour a lot of effort into NOT letting this turn into a book. You’ll see why.


  3. Recently in a 3rd year POCA Tech class, students specifically asked to hear stories about clinics that failed, and why. Mike, thanks for transmuting (redacted) into learning material.