David Letterman once said that everyone should memorize three funny stories about themselves and be ready to tell them at any time. This is one of mine, and it is all true. I wish to God it weren’t, but it is.
About two years ago I started having some digestive problems. I’ll spare you all the messy details, but let’s just say that things weren’t flowing through the pipes like they should have been. Like any real man, I ignored all the signs of trouble, thinking that everything would magically fix itself. I hoped that maybe it was just something that would go away on its own, like the Ebola virus.
But of course it didn’t, which meant a visit to the doctor. And not just any doctor – I needed to see a proctologist. Our meeting was destined to happen for the dreaded prostate exam that every man must eventually endure, but I wasn’t supposed to receive my first good probing until I was 40. I had expected about ten more years to prepare.
The only way that I knew how to deal with the discomfort that awaited me at the doctor’s office was with humour. As the doctor asked me questions about my condition and my general health, I peppered him with one-liners.
“Well, at least it looks like you have very soft hands…”
“I usually have to buy someone flowers and dinner for this kind of action…”
“Have you ever been in prison?”
He didn’t laugh, and for some reason that bothered me even more than having most of a stranger’s hand in my large intestine. His hunt for the cause of my condition took about ten minutes, with a prostate check thrown in for good measure.
“Since we’re in there anyway,” as he put it.
The good news was that my prostate felt wonderful (at least from his end). The bad news was that my digestive condition would require surgery.
Today’s modern equipment allows surgeons to perform many procedures without the need to cut the patient open, and luckily my procedure could be done in this manner. Unfortunately the most convenient path through which the surgical equipment could enter my body was the place where things usually come out. I was getting the feeling that making it through this was going to take far more humour than I possessed, but I could give it a shot.
The morning of my surgery, I had my wife pick up a black permanent marker on the way to the hospital. When we got into the prep room, I asked the nurse which side of my body I would be laying on during the invasion. Right before they wheeled me in, I laid on the gurney in the position that I would assume during the procedure and had my wife write the famous line from the opening of Star Trek, “To boldly go where no man has gone before…,” on my butt cheeks with the marker. If this didn’t make him laugh, nothing could. At least I figured that it would be something that his proctologist buddies would get a good chuckle out of the next time they played golf, or finger painted, or did whatever proctologists do in their spare time.
I expected to experience a significant level of discomfort from the surgery, but when the drugs wore off I felt like I had just calved a baby elephant. There was a birthday party happening in my rear and my anus was the piñata. I was curled up in the foetal position in one of those horrible hospital gowns with the split down the back, exposing my abused underside for the world to see. All I could do was lay there sucking my thumb and moaning.
My wife saw that I was awake and that I was completely incapacitated, so she came over to spread a blanket on my shaking body. As she brought the blanket around my violated backside, she stopped and started laughing hysterically. Based on the way I was feeling, I thought that the view might be more scary than amusing, so I asked her gruffly what in the hell could be so hilarious. All she could say was, “He wrote you back.”
I struggled to my feet and made my way over to the mirror in the bathroom. Twisting to see my ass in the mirror, I pulled back the blue hospital robe and saw new lettering written in blue marker.
It read, “Been there, done that.”
I guess he had the last laugh.