Thursday, February 24, 2012
The day began like any other, which is to say with me crying myself awake. The tears were the result of my stomach being sad, because I had to fast in preparation for the second part of my physical (a.k.a. confirmation of my anatomical perfection). As part of a corporate-wide “Be Well” program, employees are incentivized to lead a healthy lifestyle. Since I was the picture of health, I figured I might as well get compensated. Two things Damion McCloud doesn’t pass up: free money and getting paid for something I’d do for free (i.e. free money)…oh, and Trident Layers (sponsorship, please). Though the payout is the same, I opted for the full physical versus a simple health screening, because I wanted affirmation that I was perfect from head to toe…and everywhere in between. Now, to clarify, I’m not yet 40, so when I say “full physical”, I don’t mean the “Shouldn’t you at least ask me my favorite color before you do that?” physical, but rather the “Why am I turning my head? We’re both adults. We know what’s happening here. Look me in the eye. Stare into my soul. Let’s get through this awkwardness together. There’s no shame here. “ physical.
I bounded from my bed to tackle the morn like Tigger ambushing Winnie the Pooh, and like Pooh, the morn never saw it coming. (Or did it? Did the morn know it was coming all along? Did it simply humor me, because it knew that’s what I needed to start my day off right? Do, I underestimate and underappreciate the role you play in my need for ritual? Oh well, that’s something to be explored at a later date. I had a long day of poking and prodding ahead of me. Time to get pretty.)
I cut on the stereo, queued up the perfect song for the day (Olivia Newton-John’s “Xanadu”. Did you think I was going to say “Physical”? Please, that’d just be lazy. You deserve better than that. Well, not “deserve” so much as being given a gift.), and headed to the bathroom for some grooming (and excretion, but that’s private and not an image you need. And yet, there it is. Don’t worry. I will replace it with something else. I didn’t say something pleasant. Just something else.) I flipped on the shower and replaced the smell of self-loathing with the smell of Hope, of Freedom, of a New Day’s Possibilities, which, oddly enough, smells a lot like Old Spice. (“Old Spice, when you want to smell as good as you feel”…Nothing? No marketing department wants me? I’m giving you gold here….Gold.) I stepped out of the shower just as the Ms. Newton-John was finishing her final refrain, “Now, that I’m here…Now, that you’re near…In Xaaa…naaaa…duuuu…”
When I arrived at the Health Center, I was greeted with warm “Good Morning, Mr. McCloud!” (Though I had only been to the corporate Health Center on two occasions for official business, they routinely asked me to come in to help recalibrate their instruments.) “Please come around back.”
I made my way to the first station where they collected information pertaining to my height, weight, and blood pressure. My weight seemed a bit high, but that could result from the fact that my pockets were full, I had my shoes on, I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and my body’s like steel. Once that data was collected, I was ushered to one of the examination rooms in the back.
“Take off all of your clothes, except your underwear --” she instructed (if I had a nickel…am I right?).
“--and put-- How did you do that so quickly?”
“I went to an Ivy League school, my parents were both school teachers who were also putting my brother through school and supporting my sister, and work-study didn’t cover all my expenses…You do the math.”
“Well, it’s always nice to have a skill. Put this on. It opens in the back.”
“Not until I’m 40 it doesn’t. Am I right? Up top…Nothing? Okay…I amuse myself…I don’t need affirmation.”
She started out the door, turned back, and gave me a high five.
“That’s what I’m talking about! Bring it in…No?”
A few moments later, there was a knock at the door. “Are you decent?”
“I’m Dr. Suchandsuch. First, I am going to go over your lab results, and then we’ll get to it. Your numbers are beautiful. Your BMI is a little high, but that is misleading, because it doesn’t take into account solid muscle mass. You look to be in pretty good shape. Do you work out regularly?”
“Yes, I do…and you’re welcome.”
“As for your cholesterol, again, your numbers are beautiful. Your LDLs, HDLs, QVCs, UTFOs. Everything looks great. Your diet must be really good.”
“I watch what I eat.” Meaning I watch me put whatever is available into my mouth hole. Anyone who has seen my “diet” knows I eat like a cockroach. And like the cockroach, it has made me nigh indestructible.
“Your liver, heart, blood…all beautiful numbers. All perfectly beautiful…”
“I believe it was Camus who said, ‘Perfection is a beauty all its own’, but I don’t speak French, so I could be mistaken.”
“Going to check your eyes now. Focus on that keyhole across the room. I am going to turn off the lights and check your eye arteries.”
When she flicked the light switch, the room went dark, two spotlights and a disco ball descended from the ceiling, and music started playing.
“Is that Al Green?” I asked somewhat confused.
“Sorry. Wrong switch. That’s for next year’s exam.”
The rest of the checks were pretty standard: Lung capacity? Perfect. Reflexes? Cat-like. Heartbeat? Like Don Johnson’s 1986 cult-classic by the same name, surprisingly strong. Then, came time for the “money test”. The “Let’s look each other square in the eye and take this beautiful journey together” test.
“Do you check yourself regularly in the shower?”
“Sure, let’s call it that.”
“Would you like me to check you?”
“I didn’t get all dressed up just to lean against the wall. I’m here to dance.”
“May I have this dance?”
“You may. Did you want me to turn on some Kenny G?”
“What?” she asked as though somewhat confused.
“Nothing. I’ll just play it in my head.”
“Did you shave ‘Hello, is it me you’re looking for?’ into your pubes?”
“I did. I was going to go with the ‘Abe Lincoln’ in honor of President’s Day, but without the top hat, it just seemed weird.”
“Is that ‘Corbel’?”
“The font? Yes, it is. I was going to go with ‘Book Antiqua’, but that seemed to formal.”
“Stencil or freehand?”
“Impressive. Good penmanship is a lost art.”
(Editor’s Note: The next part of this conversation is entirely true. Not that the previous parts did not contain an element of truth. There just may have been some embellishment thrown in for good measure.)
“Well, next year, you will be ready for your prostate exam.”
“Looking forward to that,” I said with a hint of sarcasm.
“Well, I have small hands. So, I’m the girl for you.”
(An awkward silence fell upon the room as I struggled to process what she just said, while simultaneously trying to scrape that image from my mind’s eye.)
“You can get dressed now, and –“
“How did you do that so quickly?”
“I’ve made some choices that have led to the need to make a quick exit. Not proud of it…not ashamed of it.”
As we were making our way back to the front desk area, the good doctor turned and asked if they could make a mannequin of me as evidence of my existence since so few believed the embodiment of DaVinci’s perfect man could exist in Nature. I informed her that my meeting schedule didn’t allow for such frivolity this day. I did, however, grant permission for them to frame my results and post them as motivation for all those who enter. You’re welcome, World.
Cue the music…Seacrest out.