Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gettin' the Finger

The lights are intense. They burn your skin. They blind you. Sweat pours into your eyes. Your throat's parched, and you swear you are about to die. How did you get here? How did it go so wrong? You were never supposed to be here? How did it all come down to this?

You want to hold your daughter. But she's a toddler. She's got other concerns. Like how many blocks can she stack on top of each other. Or does a doggy go "arf! arf!" or "me-ooh." Besides, you should be strong for her. She can't see you whimpering like she does when you're about to put her in her crib.

The nurse is nice. Cute. Roberta. She greets you with a pleasant smile. The one that tells you she can be bothered--though she really can't. But it comforts you. After all, you know the doctor's just going to rush in, invade you, and rush back out. At least Roberta will know your name.

She takes your pulse. It's thumping a little. She takes your blood pressure. It's a little high at the moment. Can you blame it? It knows what's about to happen.

"Please, Mr. Campbell, be patient. The doctor will be in any minute."

She goes to leave and then turns around, suddenly remembering something. She produces that horrible hospital gown, the one that never closes in the back, and hands it to you.

"Could you please strip totally down and put this on?" she asks, with that smile.

"Sure," you gulp.

Your daughter's sitting on the floor, "reading" her ABC book.


You look. It's the cat.

"No, baby. Meeow."


"That's my girl."

You strip. You don't want to lie to yourself, don't want to act like you're too cool for school, you are a prude. You hated the shower after swim class, and you were never a fan when the doctor ordered you to turn your head and cough. But the day you always dreaded is now here.

You're looking at 39 while 40's jumping up right behind him, waving vigorously. There was a time you thought you'd never see 25, but, now, here you are. The doctors aren't caring so much about whether or not you have a hernia. They have waved your balls good-bye. They have moved onto bigger and better things: your prostate.

Yeah, yeah, the wife wants to know what you're complaining about. She's like, You should see what we women go through.

Yeah, I know. I was there for the prenatal exams. But hey, we men don't have it so easy, either.

"My boy, Leroy. They once used the jaws of life! to check out his prostate. Couldn't sit down for months."

"His farts sounded like yawns, yo."

Those light sure are bright. You blink. Sweat gets in your eyes.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name...

"Good afternoon, Mr. Campbell."

The doctor sweeps in. His pen has a corporate sponsor. So do his pocket protector and lab coat. You have the feeling that you're leaving here with prescriptions.

He brusquely probes your eyes, nose, and throat. He thumps your chest, tells you to breathe deeply. Consider it foreplay.

He quickly gets down to business. He smears a jelly over his gloved fingers. You know that jelly. Yes ... you know that jelly.

"Now, stand here, Mr. Campbell and rest your elbows on the table."

You tearfully look over at your little girl. Wow, six blocks. A personal best. You're proud, but ...

"Hey, Doc, could you take her to the waiting room?" you ask, gravely. "I can't have her see me like this."

He hisses, "Roberta!"

Roberta hustles in. She's not smiling now. She plasters one on for the kid. "Oh, you are so adorable."

Your daughter reaches out for you, but Roberta whisks her away. You can hear the girl cry through the door.

You bend over.

Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven...


Your sweat splashes across the wall.


What the hell is this guy looking for?

"Would you please stand still, Mr. Campbell?"

I will not stand still for this!

Hey, wait ... a ... second ...

Have the lights dimmed? Is that a cheesy sax you hear? Is that ... no ... Barry White?

‘Cause deeper and deeper
In love with you I'm falling

What is that?

Your doctor's voice drops a few octaves. It's like he's whispering in your ear.

"That's your prostate."


Sweeter and sweeter
Your tender words of love keeps calling

"Hm. It feels healthy. Of course, I can only reach the one side."

A little to the left, wouldya--OhmyGod! What the hell?!--Isn't this what Jerry Falwell used to warn us about?!!!"



Suddenly, it's very cold. When will they make hospital gowns that close in the back?

The doctor icily snaps off his jelly-smeared gloves. "There are tissues over there in the corner," he states, dumping the gloves in the trash and quickly exiting the room.

It's just so cold.

You shuffle over to the corner, feeling exposed. Vulnerable. Just like Coco in Flashdance when they made her strip down to her brown boobies. The lights are harsh again. But a different song is playing. "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston. You grab some tissues and start wiping.

Roberta pops back in the room with your daughter. She sets the girl down on the floor with her ABC book. She looks at you, says, "Welcome to middle age, Mr. Campbell," and giggles out of the room, shutting the door behind her.

Your baby girl points at her ABC book, and declares, "Me-ooh."

1 comment:

nunya said...


That is some good writing. I'm not a middle aged man and I know the whole " Giveusthisdayourdailybread!Andforgiveusourtrespasses!AsweforgivethosewhotrespassagainstUS!!! " drill.