Fanfare for the common man

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2013

As I am growing older I find I’m going to the doctor less and less.
I don’t get sick is what I tell everyone. And I don’t. I go to the doctor when I have to get prescriptions refilled.
Over the years my doctor visits get more and more interesting. Things happen during them other than the doctor telling me to raise my right arm and cough.
There was one such visit when I really did have a serious problem. I had this problem with my feet, more specifically my big toe. The toenail was ingrown.
You know I don’t do feet. My problems with feet begin and end with my own. They are gross, and mine are the most grotesque – what I like to call “Beast Feet.”
I was at the doctor for treatment of my ingrown big toenail the day they were using a nursing intern from the local nursing school wrapping up the last six weeks of her nursing degree.
I knew we were in trouble when she entered the examination room wearing this too big, too friendly smile. Those of you who know me know I am not an expressively happy person. While I may be feeling mirth inside, on the outside my demeanor maintains a persistent state of scowl.
I might look aggravated but I’m not. It’s just easier not to smile. They say it takes just four muscles to smile, but those four muscles are holding up a lot of cheek.
The intern’s name was Buffy and Buffy carried a pen disguised as a flower, a daisy in fact.
I hate pens disguised as flowers. It’s like flavored beer and coffee. I want beer to taste like beer and coffee to taste like coffee. I don’t want blueberries in my beer as much as I don’t want to write with a pen that looks like a flower. If it writes I want it to look like a writing utensil. 
So I’m sitting there with my face in Scowl Mode as Buffy entered.
“Oh my, Mr. Brown let’s turn that frown upside down. Do we have a case of the Mondays?”
If I didn’t before Nurse Buffy walked in I did then.
“We look depressed,” she said. “You look depressed. Are we depressed?”
No, is my reply. I tell her I have a problem with my foot.
“If you are depressed, it’s okay. I’m depressed but, you see, I take these pills that make my depression go away and my days are happy and I’m smiling!”
And Buffy flashed a big, wide, and way too happy smile.
I told her again, it’s my foot. My Scowl Mode face deepened.
Nurse Buffy made a Shirley Temple face and called me Mister Grumpy Pants and said, “Okay, then let’s have a look at that grumpy toe.”
So I whipped off my sock to show her. Remember now, she asked for it.
“Oh God…” she said and visibly recoiled.
My big toe looked like somebody took a big meatball of ground beef and stuck it on the end where the toenail should be. 
“I’ll go get the doctor,” she said but I think getting the doctor required a side trip to the bathroom to give back lunch.
She never came back. When the regular nurse returned I asked, “What happened to Buffy?”
“She went home,” the nurse replied, but added, “And I don’t think she’s coming back. What did you do to her?”
I showed the nurse my hamburger big toe.
And smiled so big.

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