Thursday, September 07, 2006

Give It To Me Straight, Doc.

I was asked to shepherd one of the Thumper's bunnies and of course I failed miserably. It was a little conventional wisdom to be doled out pre, during and post a routine physical check up and another guy could have smoothed over pressing anxieties over, well, you know, guy stuff.

It happens, we all get it. Its a rite of passage.

But I failed miserably because I had to do the career thing and instead of imparting wisdom I was in New York, power lunching with self engrossed media types so unaware of how boring they were that my eyeballs almost fell out into my partner's quail egg salad and I had more than one panic attack as he speared something white and tender.

There's really nothing to getting a physical at eleven. You and I know that, we've been eleven. Its the fear of the unknown that drives panic into the hearts of true believers. That unknown could have been cleared up but, like the foundation the volunteer fire department finally saved, here's the poor Monday morning quarterback excuse.

There are a couple of firm and fast rules about physicals.

One: When you're eleven, you're still developing. We in adult land call it maturing at a different pace. You, rightly so, call it "what the hell is that growing and why is it suddenly sprouting hair????" It happens at different times to different guys, but it happens. Like your voice changing. Mine broke during a class presentation on steam engines and I very carefully explained exothermic energy sounding off like a rabid caliope.

Hair happens to us differently too. All at different times. There was a flourescent bulb the old man put in to an old linen closet he had taken the door off of and mom had arranged shelves with pretty little gee gaws in because twelve straight hours of dusting was just not enough fun. The light was to light the gee gaws and provide emergency illumination for the middle of the night runs to the bathroom when Mexican food had been consumed. The flourescent was artfully mounted on its side to provide illumination not unlike a holding cell in Star Trek. It also caught the fine, delicate hairs on my upper lip and gave me quite the manly moustache at age fifteen if I stared at it long enough and let my eyes glaze over ever so slightly.

You age as you age and you develop as you develop and everybody does differently and there will be no "holy shit run to the bathroom drop trou and check that out" moments if you're comparing schoolyard notes with your buddies.

Two: No medical professional gives a tinker's damn what you look like without your shirt and pants. Wear those Sponge Bob undies with panache and pride. I had Disney boxers once but got rid of them simply because I only wanted one Goofy down there.

Three: Turn your head and cough. Nobody, not the Doctor, not the insurance adjustor, not even the school district administrator can explain the relevance of an exam where your wanker gets grabbed as you hack one up in a hurry. No idea what's being tested there. Embarrassment? Reaction to sudden cold? Just do it. It only happens once unless you're Catholic and then you need to go tell a Protestant adult real fast. Then its over. Its a guy thing, a rite of passage. Plus these days you get to do it one on one with the Doc. Back in my time we were herded without explanation into the nurse's office. That was OK, we all thought we were going to get a spoonful of the tasty pink medicine. Imagine the shock of having to strip down to the waist, then stand in line and step up to Dr. Gripper. I was seventh back and watched as kid number two damn near fainted when kid one was told to drop 'em, turn and cough.

Four: Unless you're prone to spontaneous and uncontrollable outgushings of bodily fluid in a large, arcing manner, you'll probably be okay at your physical. Nothing bad will happen and no bad things will be done to you. That won't always be the case. In about thirty five to forty years, you're going to hear the sound of latex snapping that will weaken your knees and bring tears to your eyes.

It'll be time for Dr. Jellyfinger.

Until then, bunny on. As best you can.

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