Taking one for the team 

The Observer got to the doctor's office the other day. We hate going to the doctor. Loathe is a better word. In the form of a sentence, it would be: "The Observer hates going to the doctor with the same white hot intensity that Trump voters would hate being forced to read the seminal grammar primer, 'The Elements of Style,' by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White." Yes, it's that bad.

It's the residue of our church mouse upbringing, we're sure. The Observer's family was often so poor that trips to the doctor were reserved for broken legs, required school physicals, infections lasting more than three days, and any cut deep enough to require stitches (but not stitches REMOVAL ... dear ol' Pa did that himself with a pair of vodka-soaked clippers and a pair of tweezers sterilized with his Bic lighter). In The Observer's household, finding yourself sitting in your tighty whiteys on the crinkly paper, looking at the sterile jars of cotton balls and tongue depressors, meant that the shit had decidedly hit the fan.

So it is that Yours Truly carries a terror of the doctor to this day. We've supposedly got high blood pressure, but we've been prone to wonder many a time if that's actually just a side effect of our heart going "Eye of the Tiger" every time we see a stethoscope.

Because of that fear, The Observer has spent the past 40-odd years partying, medically, like it's 1899, throwing whatever liniment, tincture or poultice we can buy down at the drug store at our innard and outward problems, our aches and pains, tummy troubles and stiff knees, kitchen burns and sinus apocalypses. We've drunk enough Robitussin over the years to float a battleship, snorted enough saltwater to drown Smackover, ate bushels of vitamins, fizzing Alka-Seltzer, Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol tablets and the allergy meds they keep under lock and key behind the counter so the meth-mixers can't get at them without a fight.

Recently, though, The Observer has decided to try and take better care of this lumbering skin suit, lest we wind up like dear old Pa, taken from the world at just 51, seemingly with miles to go before he slept. He hated going to the doctor's office, too, and likely would have fist fought anyone who came at him with a lubed finger, even though that exam might have found what laid him low in the end.

And so, as much as The Observer didn't like filling out forms and waiting in the waiting room and getting weighed and seeing the neat jar of tongue depressors, we got into the doctor's office last week for a whole-nine-yards physical: the peeing in the little cup and getting blood drawn in a little vial, the turning the head and coughing, finally the bending over and spreading 'em while a guy with his finger where the sun don't shine asked about our golf game. It's been a long time coming, and should have been done sooner. Our last physical was the season we played basketball in junior high school, if that tells you anything. But we got it done, and we're glad.

The doctor found a few things, of course. We say "of course," given the aforementioned neglect of 40-plus years, coupled with a familial medical history that should probably have us hermetically sealed in a padded plastic bubble. Nothing too serious, though. Nothing that can't be fixed or mitigated with diet, exercise and the aforementioned meds. We can hack that, as we can hack getting another ass-to-appetite exam next year, and the year after that. We'll just think of England. And our Beloved. And Junior. And seeing Junior's kids. There are no guarantees in life, but if it means we get to hang around this beautiful, confounding, torturous, joyful world for a few more years or decades, what's a finger between friends?


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