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And only slightly dampen his spirits.
"No woman wants an abortion," Finkel is fond of saying. "But circumstances demand it, and women will do it." And if they're going to do it, he figures, why not have the best: him.
After a few glasses of wine and a lot of talk one evening, he concludes with a flourish:
"I'm the prince of the pelvis, the disciple of Elvis! The uptight, out-of-sight, feeling-all-right Dr. Brian Leslie Finkel.
"And you know what? I like myself. And that's what these other fuckers here in town don't understand. I like myself."
Brian Leslie Finkel was raised in Pasadena Hills, a tony St. Louis suburb. His father is Jewish and his mom was Irish Catholic, so they decided to raise their four kids without formal religious training.
"I grew up with a clean brain instead of a poisoned one," Finkel says.
That's the only nice thing he has to say about his parents.
"They were both alcoholics, and my father was an abusive alcoholic and beat the children on a frequent and regular basis," he says, tilting back in his office chair and fiddling with the brass knuckles he keeps on the desk. "My mother had no nurturing skills at all. She farmed me out as soon as she could. . . . They put me in the Cub Scouts, Weeblos, Boy Scouts. I was never home because I was always gone with other men's fathers."
At 17, Finkel left home for good. He won an Air Force scholarship to the University of Missouri and washed dishes in a girls' dormitory to earn pocket money. He studied to be a physician, like his father.
"I thought maybe if I was a doctor, maybe my father would like me."
Apparently the plan didn't work; Finkel says he's been estranged from his entire family for years. "My mother's dead, but I'm looking forward to being an orphan. I can't wait for that nasty son of a bitch to die, so I can go piss on his grave," he says of his father.
"I met my wife in high school, this woman over here, my wife for life," he says, gesturing to a portrait on a shelf behind his desk, "and began dating her when I was 19, in college.
"And married the first woman who was nice to me."
Finkel won another scholarship to the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines, then it was on to an internship at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. He decided to specialize in gynecology because, as Finkel puts it, "the only guy that was nice to me was the chief of OB/GYN."
That guy, retired Air Force Colonel George Randall, now lives in upstate New York. Finkel was "rather flamboyant," Randall recalls. But "as far as his work was concerned, he was one of the best residents we had."
In 1974, the word came down that Finkel was going to Vietnam.
"They said, 'We're going to make you a flight surgeon, Finkel, and we're going to send you to Vietnam.' Then they called up and said, 'Goddamnit, the war's over, we can't send you to Vietnam. But we're still going to make you a flight surgeon.' I said, 'Okay, where am I going to go?'"
Iceland, without your wife. Finkel refused.
Greenland, without your wife.
"I said, 'Hey guys, you don't understand, I just got married. Isn't there a place you can send me with my wife?' So they sent me to the Philippines."
With his wife. Finkel was assigned to Clark Air Force Base, and traveled all over the Pacific.
"It was an exciting place to practice medicine. I've never seen so many infectious diseases in my life. Malaria, leprosy, all sorts of bizarre shit that you only read about--and I was seeing it."
Finkel practiced general medicine, but a fellow physician, Chris "Fast Fingers" Vondippe, really turned him on to gynecology.
"He would whack on anything!" Finkel says of Vondippe, who now practices medicine in Nevada and couldn't be reached for comment. "He got bored just operating on Air Force personnel, so he started going down to the charity hospitals for the local Filipinos, and he'd take me with him. Boy, oh boy, did I see some Third World shit."
The combination of eager servicemen and cheap prostitutes--$8 a night--made unwanted pregnancies rampant. Abortion was illegal.
Finkel says the madams who operated their businesses out of local bars had their own way of dealing with pregnant prostitutes.
"They'd put them up on the bar, and then they'd stick stuff up inside their cervix so they'd get infected."
What kind of stuff?
"Stuff. Sticks, pieces of wood . . . whatever they could find, so the girls would get an infection, and then they'd expel the product of conception spontaneously. By then they could go to the hospital."
Often, the women got sick, and some died.
"I learned from a Third World country about the savagery and the horribleness of illegal abortions because I saw it. And beautiful women. And they died. They were dying. You know, Filipinos have absolutely drop-dead gorgeous chicks. We used to call them LBFM. Little Brown Fucking Machines."