Running Some Tests


Seeing The Doctor is just one of those things most adult people have to do a couple of times a year.  They don’t even have to be sick.  But in this day and age, there’s generally something slightly off kilter with almost everyone; something which in an earlier era would have been just ignored and/or occasionally complained about. A persistent ache. Difficulty concentrating. Sensitivity to pollen. Nothing that really constitutes a medical emergency, but why put up with even the slightest inconvenience when They Have A Pill For That Now?

That’s me, kind of. I don’t have many actual meds — I have an elbow that hurts a bit, and I could just take aspirin a couple times a day and it would be fine, but they have a pill I can just take once, in the morning, and it lasts all day, so I prefer that one. It’s a prescription though. And I have a prescription for Valium even though I don’t need them unless I am on an airplane (YOU try being my size in coach when the plane is stuck on the tarmac for four hours) or I have had to do an effect that involved a certain amount of jittery Making-Sure-Everything-Is-Set-Right-Because-We-Only-Get-One-Take and now I can’t calm down.

But if you want these things, you have to pay the price, which means going in to see the doctor a couple times a year even if you feel perfectly fine, just so that he will allow you to continue to have access to the little amber bottles doled out from behind the pharmacist’s counter. What you are mostly doing, I suspect, is essentially bribing the doctor; but in order to make it look all Medically Necessary they always insist on Running Some Tests.

I get silly about this. I really do. About all I have to do is show up and not fall over, but I get totally obsessed with how my blood work is going to come out.  You end up with a spreadsheet of data listing things like HEMOGOBLINS and MIDICHLORIANS and CHOLESTEROLBACON and XGENE, and what your standing is compared to what is considered healthy.  I’m always trying to optimize my stats.  I’ll fast for days, take vitamins, drink soy milk; sleep with electrodes attached to my nutsack — always looking for that extra edge that will drop my LDLs another three points or raise my testosterone.

I don’t know why.  Apparently I expect the doctor to take a look at my results and shout “HALLELUJAH!” and promptly found a religion based on myself. But all I ever get is a “Hunh, you’re normal.” BO-ring. I find myself envying my son John, whose resting heart rate is something like 40 and whose body temperature is a constant 101 — a biological quirk that he used to exploit in grade school to get out of class on test days until we had a talk with the school nurse. He’s on the far side of the bell curve for normal body temperature and heart rate, but for him, that’s normal.

But despite all my efforts, I myself still come out USDA Standard Grade Regular Unleaded. At this point, that’s probably about the best I can hope for.

Keeping a lookout for radioactive spiders, though.

–Bob out.

Artist’s Notes:  So in the top panel, “Fynch” (a familiar name) is spelled out in the bodies of flying crows, which I think looks pretty cool, and crows are a symbol of death, as they say.  -Max