Let’s Get Physical!

Posted: March 23, 2013 in Humour
Tags: , , , , , , ,


While sitting in Muskoka chairs by the Athabasca River last summer, and listening to nature do its business, I naturally had a lot of time to think. Time for me is normally compartmentalized in chunks, as in my line of work you run around putting out fires, so to speak, and if I take too much of a look at the big picture, it gets a little overwhelming.

Of course, with time to think come memories of days gone by, and for me, they are often embarrassing memories…. character building situations, to be sure, but embarrassing nonetheless. There was a plethora of things to think about, but for some reason, one memory stuck out, and I relayed it to my son Mackie whom I fear is scarred by the very thought of what I’m about to tell you now.

I was a wee slip of a lad, the age of 16. Actually, I was rather chunky, but wee just sounds better. For some reason in my family 16 is the year they figure you should get your first ‘full’ physical. I had no idea what this meant, and with the absence of any information about just what a physical exam meant, I agreed. I should have tweaked to just how harrowing an experience this would become when my dad said, ‘make sure you clean EVERYWHERE’. ‘Everywhere?’, I asked. ‘Every nook and cranny, every pit, crack, and in-between.’ He specified. So, I took an epic shower, bath, another shower, toweled off, put on a liberal amount of talc (very liberal, it turned out), and pronounced myself good to go.

We lived in Kitchener at the time, as almost every citizen of Sturgeon Falls seems to have done at one time or another. We had no family doctor, so my mom took me to a clinic at the hospital which handles just such ‘delicate’ matters. There was a waiting room full of guys and girls around my age, ostensibly in for what appeared like the same thing. We all appeared nervous. When I was finally called in I had had the chance to start sweating a bit, for it was warm in the waiting room, and, to be truthful, I finally understood how a dog or cat felt when you brought it to the vet.

Now, sweat and talc do not go well together. Let me clarify: sweat and LOTS of talc do not mix well. When the nurse gave me the ‘johnny’ to put on, and I shed my clothes, chunks of what looked like cottage-cheese were falling off me. Then, of course, the Johnny didn’t cover everything.  And so the nurse told me to lie on the examining table, and that the doctor would be in shortly.

This table, to me, looked like something out of Star Wars…all kinds of doo-hickies, doo-dads, articulated machinery, and things I couldn’t even begin to understand stuck out at weird angles from it. It turns out this was also a gynecologist’s office, but I didn’t know that. I lied on the table, and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible, given the circumstances. Then, I did something which I’m sure not only made me a legend at the Kitchener-Waterloo General Hospital, but probably made the Reader’s Digest, and perhaps the New England Journal of Medicine….I put my feet in the stirrups.

I have, of course, since learned just what these stirrups are for. For the uninitiated, these are definitely not for men, unless you have female working parts. I do not. So when the doctor walked in, and took a peek, he needed to excuse himself for five minutes or so. What he saw when he looked in must have shocked him because the face he made was priceless.

The walls at this clinic were apparently not designed for soundproofing, because I could hear the ripples of laughter in the waiting room, which also included my mom’s laughter. Hmmmmmm. What was going on, I thought? Obviously, something funny. A few minutes later, a nurse peeked in. More laughter. Then the doctor came in, composed but flushed, and properly informed me that the stirrups were not necessary for the likes of me.


The remainder of the physical was a blur. As I dressed, then made my way out to the waiting room, a dozen pairs of eyes, moist from their fresh mirth, bore into me, perhaps trying to picture just what the doctor and nurse saw. After we returned home, this became a favorite topic of discussion for days. We even had a turkey the next night to commemorate this occasion.

Somewhere in Southern Ontario, there is a doctor who is either retired, or close, and is perhaps regaling some of his closest friends with this story. To him, I say…. you’re welcome!!!

  1. macintosh98 says:


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