Scenes from An American Life

Are you a doctor?

I am sitting in the examining room, waiting on the doctor to come in and tell me what I have. He walks in just like he’s God, or a reasonable facsimile. Takes a good look at my paperwork on the clipboard, then looks up at me. “I see you have gallstones,” he says.

“Are you sure?” I asked, really worried.

“That’s what it says here,” the doc shows me the clipboard.

“Well, that’s the information I gave the nurse,” I say. “That I thought I have gallstones.”

“But it’s here on your chart. It must be true,” he says to me. “These charts never lie.”

I am getting frustrated. “I told your nurse that I have all the symptoms. But I never claimed that I had gallstones.”

“Look,” he says, then asks, “are you a doctor?”

“No.”

“Then why are you putting stuff on your chart. That’s my job.”

“I’m not putting stuff on my chart,” me, even more frustrated. “Your nurse did.”

Then he hits me with, “I don’t have a nurse.”

“But the woman who took down my information.”

“You mean my receptionist? She’s not a nurse. I keep her here for entertainment purposes.” He winks.

“All I know is that I have the symptoms for gallstones.”

“Of course you do,” he says. “It says so right here on your chart.”

“Well, that’s what the internet says.”

“Is the internet a doctor?” he asks.

Before you can say two shakes, I’m getting the hell out of there. This guy is crazy. But I’m not saying so. He might ask me if I am a psychiatrist.

Wrong address

Two suits show up at my front door. They show me their badges. They are from a government agency. I am not free to say which agency ’cause I don’t want them coming back again.

Tall suit says, “Mr. So-So, we have some questions for you.”

I say, “I’m not Mr. So-So. My name is Dudley W.”

“Then we need to see Mr. So-So.” short suit says.

“He’s not here. He hasn’t lived here for ten years. He’s my wife’s brother and he only stayed here for two weeks ten years ago. Then he moved out. Moved all the way across country for all I know.”

“His mail comes to this address, does it not?”

“Yes. He put in address change with the post office when he left. But we still get some of his mail. We’ve got a closet full of it just waiting for him to pick it up.”

Tall suit reveals, “We googled his name. Google says he lives here with a Ms. Charlene W. No Dudley is mentioned at this address. So where is Mr. So-So. If we need to, we’ll get a search warrant.”

Now I own the house. My name is on the deed with Charlene. Google doesn’t show that I live in the same house as Charlene. I say, knowing it’s no use to refuse these guys, “Well, come right in. If Google says it, it must be true.”

Weather Report

I am watching the national news.

Anchor Man says, “Our next report is from Perky Weather Girl.”

A woman appears, wearing a yellow rain suit. Rain is pouring hard wherever she is. “Hey, Bob, we’re getting bad storms here.” It’s coming down so hard it looks like it’s raining cats and dogs. There are even growls and meows in the background.

Bob says, “That bad, huh?”

“Yes,” Perky says, “I just had my hair done, and would you believe?” She pulls the hood off her head. Her hair is a mess.

“It looks real bad,” Bob comments. “An umbrella won’t help?”

“No. Can you believe it? This was a $300 do.”

“I’m sure the viewers really sympathize.” Bob turns to look at the audience out in television land. “You do sympathize, Audience, don’t you? Of course you do.” Then he’s back to Perky.

She is crying. “I had to wait three months to get an appointment with Mr. Dazzle.”

“I feel your pain. But we’ve got to leave you now.”

She wipes the water and the tears from her face. “Okay.”

“Our next story,” Bob says to his audience, “the almonds are striking at the Nutso Candy Factory in Nutso, Florida. They’re wanting a pay raise. Say they can’t support a family on the peanuts that Nutso is paying them.”