Note: The names of the persons directly involved in the following account have been changed to protect their right to privacy, as guaranteed (okay, maybe not “guaranteed,” but “implied”) under the Medical Privacy Act of 1923, as first instituted squid pro quo somewhere in Liechtenstein; amended in 1927, somewhere in the Nether Parts; and later modified (see attached pamplet explaining “said” modifications) somewhere over the rainbow.
“Follow me, ” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss. “The doctor will see you now.” She walked down the hall and opened a door to an examination room. Three words came out of her: “Sit. There. Now,” and she was gone.
Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo did as he was told and sat up on the white examination table, sidesaddle. A moment later, Dr. Phuphuey made his grand entrance. As usual he was smoking one of his Export A cigarettes. “Before we begin,” he said, “please remove that mask.”
“But,” said Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo, “I’m not wearing one.”
“Hmmm,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “how unfortunate. So…that’s your face?”
“Yes,” said Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo, “I blame it on my mother’s side of the family.”
“She was ugly?” asked Dr. Phuphuey.
Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo lowered his eyes and nodded. “Fell from the Ugly Tree,” he said, “and hit every branch on the way down.”
“No kidding,” said Dr. Phuphuey as he opened the chart. “So…what can I do for you today?”
“I’m here for my yearly physical. Gotta keep an eye on things, ‘specially given what’s going around these days.”
“What’s going around?”
Dr. Phuphuey took a deep drag from his cigarette and a saggy length of ash fell on his lab coat. “No, can’t say I do.”
“VIRUS. It’s in all the media. I’m here to get swabbed–to get checked to see if I have it.”
“Ohhhh,” I see,” said Dr. Phuphuey. “Well, just for the record, I don’t swab. That’s a little high tech for me. I do things the old school way.” He approached the examination table and stood in front of Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo. “Stick out your tongue,” he said.
Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo made a pitiful attempt to do so.
“Farther,” said the doctor. “C’mon, put your back into it.”
With that, Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo, leaned forward and extended his tongue as far as he could.
“And…hold,” said Dr. Phuphuey. With that, he fumbled into the pocket of his labcoat and pulled out a tape ruler and measured, mumbling ‘from lips to tip’ as he did so. “Ah, ha, ” he said, “Two and seven-eighths. No metric for this doc.”
“Is that good?”
Dr. Phuphuey was charting. “Average,” he said. “Now, stick out your tongue again and say do re mi fa so and hold on laaaaa. Then swish your tongue back and forth like a basketball player going for the dunk.”
Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo opened his mouth and began to follow the instructions, but Dr. Phuphuey backed away suddenly. “Egad,” he exclaimed, “you’ve got mutton breath!”
“Mutton breath?” said Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo.
“Bacterial, a strain of sheepicus toocloseicum. Highly contagious. Comes from following the herd too much. Don’t worry, it’s not deadly–but it’ll ruin your life if you let it.”
“Will it go away?”
“Yes, as long as you stay away from sheep.”
“Do I need a prescription?”
“You mean drugs? Heavens, no–don’t believe in them. I recommend cutting any connection with the herd. Live it up. Do something for yourself. Put your noggin to good use and think for yourself.”
“Certainly. Will do.”
“Oh, and one more thing. For the next seven days, whenever your bladder’s full…”
“Go pee on your T.V. Unplug it first, and then soak it with urine. Pee like a sprinter arching for the tape. Drench it. Don’t leave a square inch of it dry.”
“Just ‘cause. Trust me, it’ll feel good.”
Mr. Ihavenothingbettertodo hopped down from the table and headed for the door. “Do I need a follow-up appointment?” he asked.
“Heck, no,” said Dr. Phuphuey, after lighting another cigarette. “Just go live.”
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell