Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Wednesday, July 27

Uncynical over Coffee

I’m on my way to meet the guy from the local news for coffee and I’m still leery. The media has tapped into the emergency department’s walkie-talkie system before to get exclusives on patients’ conditions, so my concern is that he may have an ulterior motive for befriending a physician.

But when we meet, he’s wearing these ridiculous sandals with patent leather straps, and they appear just a little too goofy for a man with an ulterior motive to wear.

Still, I have my guard up, trying to figure out the angles someone might have for wearing ridiculous sandals. Is he trying to put me off guard?

I do relax some, though. I don’t hang out with many college-educated people anymore except for physicians. And they don’t count because their college degree is a bachelor of science, which doesn’t create educated individuals. So I enjoy my conversation with him.

He tells me about some of the recent shoots he’s done, but I’m more interested in the details of the shoot than the stories they’re doing. He tells me about the sign in the studio that says ‘Talent: Don’t forget to turn your mic’s on.’ He tells me someone had crossed out ‘Talent’ and written in ‘Journalists.’

‘Did you major in journalism?’ I ask.

‘No, communications,’ he says.

‘My sister says that communications is a terrible major,’ I say, ‘because no one who majored in it can communicate what it was they studied.’

We both kind of laugh and I realize that might not be a good opening joke, so I try to soften it some by mentioning that my father majored in geography because it required the fewest credit hours to graduate. He likes this and says he identifies with my father.

‘Except that my family is terrible in geography,’ he says, ‘my sister took a geography course and my father told her he had failed geography and that she would likely fail it, too. And she did.’

We both laugh a bit.

‘And I’m no better,’ he said, laughing, ‘In western civ, we had to fill in a map of Mesopotamia and after the test the professor came in and told us how poorly we had done. He told us, “One of you,” and stopped right above my desk looking at me, “could not even figure out which way was North.’

We both laugh. But I start thinking about it, and think about the Tigris and the Euphrates and think that it shouldn’t be that difficult to fill in, or at least to figure out which way the rivers are going. I could do the modern map now, though the ancient one might be more difficult if they wanted territories named by fill-in-the-blank. So I ask, ‘Which period?’

He scowls at me for a second, then says, ‘Are you fucking kidding me? Let me clarify something for you: It’s my job to smile and read aloud.’

He smiles, sips his coffee, and adds, ‘I know my place.’

To be honest, I am not sure what to make of this. To be sure, it’s amusing. To be frank, it’s what I expect: personable, charming, and soft.

There’s nothing threatening about this guy. A trait useful if the senior crowd—who make up the last remnants of the local news viewers—is to welcome him into their homes.

‘The old ladies love me,’ he says, and I have no doubt that they do.

And what could I have against someone whom grandmothers love?

Next week: What I have against someone whom grandmothers love


Blogger hot babe writes:

I bet the grandmothers love him even more because he's the sort of guy that would watch Mabel drive her Lark machine home next door...


Blogger dan writes:

If I was fortunate enough to have my own mysterious sage who slipped keenly prescient In/Out lists onto my windshield, I would make sure that patent leather flip-flop sandals were situated at the top of the "Out" list.

Oh that was needlessly snotty of me. I will not judge his book by his patent leather cover.


Blogger Bewareoftheblog writes:

This is true. Communications is a dumb major. Don't do it if you are thinking about it or doing it right now. Get specific. Film is a major. Broadcasting is a major. Not "Communications."

That's like majoring in "Science."


Anonymous Papa Mark writes:

Was this a "date"?


Blogger Erik writes:



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