Thursday, November 14, 2002

From The Brain of the Giant Head

Pull Down Your Pants and Cough

Once a year it’s important to see that guy that charges you a second mortgage just to enter his office. No, I’m not talking about a scalper for a National Football League game, I’m talking about your General Practitioner of Medicine -- also known as your doctor. You voluntarily go to this guy (or gal) who always has bad news, like quit drinking or start exercising or stop sniffing glue while at work. You give him two of your paychecks and ask if he’ll take your plasma as payment for the rest. Oh joy.

Of course I bring this up cause it’s time for my own yearly check up, the one day I hate more than any other day of the year. And to make matters worse, it’s on a Monday and I enjoy Mondays about as much as I’d enjoy getting poked in the eye with a sharp stick. But I suck it up and go cause if I don’t I’m sure my leg or arm will fall off from lack of healthy activity and monitoring.

So I walk into the doctor’s office at 8 a.m., since the only hours that are ever available are 8 a.m. and 8:10 a.m., and inform the receptionist that I am here. She hands me a set of forms that resemble the SATs that ask me questions like, "What is your Social Security Number?" and "What is your ATM password?"

After filling out the stacks of forms, I plopped down on one of those horribly uncomfortable waiting room chairs and picked up an issue of Seventeen magazine. Liv Tyler, daughter of giant-mouthed Steven Tyler, was on the cover to promote Lord of the Rings, which meant this issue was as old as Christmas -- which is when I must have bought that Poptart I ate for breakfast.

So after 6 hours of waiting in the lobby, a nurse called my name and had me move back into an examining room to wait another 6 hours before the doctor finally made his entrance.

Doctor: "How are you doing today young fella?"

Half of me wanted to yell at him for that remark since I was 23 years old, but the other half of me wanted a sucker, so that side beat the crap out of the other side and it shut-up.

The Brain: "Fine. I’m just here for a general checkup."

We started going through all the normal things you have at a doctor visit, like sticking out your tongue, saying "Ahhhh," letting him molest your chest with his stethoscope and dreadfully stepping on the scale to see how much each of your new chins weigh. Maybe I should lay off those Poptarts.

Finally comes the part that is generally reserved for porn -- the dreaded pull down your pants, turn you head and cough ritual. This might be the most humiliating act any man has to perform, other than buying his wife tampons.

So I drop my pants like any good patient would and immediately looked toward the ceiling. While the teddy bear and rainbow tiles comforted me for a moment, reality shoved its way back into my mind as I felt a finger jab me between the boys.

Doctor: "Okay, now turn your head and cough."

As I turned my head and began coughing, I noticed the door to his office was left half way open. This wouldn’t have bothered me as much if Northbrook Elementary’s 3rd grade class wasn’t taking a tour of the doctor’s facilities at that exact moment. So 30 little heads with 60 little eyes glanced at me, a grown man with my pants down and a doctor fumbling with my good stuff. While holding back the tears I did the only thing that I could think of to hide my embarrassment. I waved to the children and said, "Don’t do drugs." Valid advice if you ask me.

Anyway, the doctor finally rose from south of the Equator and told me everything checked out all right. No hernias. No testicular cancer. No weird splotches. Life was looking pretty good again, and I reached down to pull my jeans back up until the doctor stopped me again.

Doctor: "You’re going to need to leave those down for a minute."
The Brain: "Why? I thought the twins checked out okay?"
Doctor: "Oh they did, I just need to run another test."

At this point I was extremely confused. Usually the groin check ends the physical because you can’t look the doctor in the eyes afterwards. I was about to ask him what the other test was, but all of a sudden I noticed him putting on a new pair of gloves. He put some sort of goo-ey jelly on his index finger. Finally he spoke.

Doctor: "Bend over."
The Brain: "Are you kidding?"
Doctor: "No, bend over."
The Brain: "No thank you."
Doctor: "I need to check for..."

I stopped listening to that quack, pulled up my pants and ran. I ran fast. I ran long. I ran right into a pole. The receptionist began yelling, "Sir, you need to pay your bill." So I handed her a blank check, telling her to fill it out for the appropriate amount which I’m sure was a couple of thousand dollars and scrambled to get the hell out of there -- after grabbing a sucker, of course.

When I got outside, I stopped and took a deep breath of the fresh air around me. It felt good. I was out of there. The humiliation was over.

Then 30 little heads with 60 little eyes walked by. A voice rose out of the crowd.

"HA HA, we saw your wiener!"

I’m glad to know third graders are maturing faster these days.