Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Tuesday, November 15

In the Garage

I can usually spot people with ulterior motives easily enough. I am drawn to them. But distinguishing those motives has taken time to refine.

Girls who I thought wanted to suck my cock only wanted to sell me drugs. Guys who I thought wanted to sell me drugs only wanted to suck my cock. Guys who I thought wanted to suck my cock only wanted to shove Christ up my ass.

So when someone from the gym started talking to me and invited me to his house for ‘a dinner with some friends’ I was intrigued. Pyramid scheme? Orgy? Real Estate deal? Designer drugs? Who knew? But it was worth an evening to find out.

Due to a rain storm, I arrived quite late. When I got there, the salad had already been finished and the beef stroganoff was being served. I looked at the people seated around the table. I wasn’t exactly surprised or disappointed, but a bit uncertain what to think.

My seat was at the head of the table. To my right was Don, the forty year-old exec who invited me, a nineteen year-old software engineer who worked for Don, the engineer’s elderly mother, a man in his thirties who taught drums at the local music shop, and a single mother with her fourteen year-old son.

We looked rather like we were having a big meal before heading out to the comic book convention. I checked my pocket half expecting to find a twenty-sided die.

As the not awkward small talk continues, someone asked what I did for a living and I began the conversational dance I have fairly well rehearsed:

‘I work at the hospital.’

‘What do you do there?’

‘I work for the internal medicine department.’

‘What do you do for them?’

‘I help out with patients, what ever needs doing, really. Are those Wasabi peas? Could you pass them down? Are they terribly spicy?’

By that point, I hope, people figure I am ashamed of whatever it is that I do, and let it drop.

This time, they didn’t. The questioning continued with an endgame confrontation, ‘Are you a doctor?’

‘Yes,’ I confess.

‘Oh,’ the drummer exclaimed, ‘I have something I want to ask you.’

When this happens, you have to take your lumps. I prepare myself to hear about a mysterious ache or look at a rash, but instead he asks, ‘have you ever watched Scrubs?’

‘Yes,’ I say, ‘I have.’

‘I love that show,’ he says, and that’s it.

I think about pointing out that he didn’t ask me anything, but decide against it when I realize he, technically, did ask me something.

The dinner continues in this way. I get to dust off my Monty Python and Dr. Who jokes that I haven’t used since sophomore year—and even then with nostalgia. I am a little disturbed that the two teenagers find them as funny as the rest of us. I’m not sure if it’s healthy to expose young geeks to the same material we were exposed to, but whatever.

The evening ends with us spending several hours playing in the guest bedroom that has been entirely converted into a model train diorama. We have to crawl on the floor under the platform to pop up in the separate control centers. Don tells us which ones are limited edition and which ones were made in which factory.

All in all, a more enjoyable evening then I could have ever hoped.

Given the scope of things I might have been exposed to that night, model trains and a return to über geekdom were not illegal, not something that required me to shower afterwards, did not need a $12,000 initial down payment or cause me to blackout and wake up in a Puerto Rican transvestite bar.

Unfortunately, they also held no interest for me.

I did not return any of Don’s other calls.


Anonymous B writes:

...and another nice guy finishes last.


Blogger Erik writes:

Exactly, kids let that be a lesson to you.

Being nice is, well, just nice. It's not interesting and it's not attractive, unless you're particularly needy-and you don't want the needy attracted to you. Trust me on that one.

Reminds me of something Gertrude used to say:

He told me she was very kind. I said I know that kind.


Blogger Spider writes:

Gertrude is a very smart woman...


Anonymous B writes:

I started liking nice guys once I realized that I deserved to be treated well. Nice is far more interesting and attractive than some of the self-centered, brooding, artist-types I dated in college, or the intelligent-but-unmotivated guys I spent waaay too much time thinking about in high school. Nice is a hell of a lot better than the guys who talk to my boobs instead of my face when hitting on me and wonder why their "bed-head" hair and inability to shave isn't enough to get me to leave my boyfriend or just cheat on him. Nice isn't needy; it's functional.


Blogger Erik writes:

Your comments are certainly more interesting than Spiders’ Flavor Flav cheerleading efforts. That makes me want to put away my self-centered, brooding, adamantium claws and shut my unshaven face…

But you’ve doubly misread my comments.

While I said that nice is not attractive or interesting, I did admit that nice is nice. If it’s supplemented with other traits then it’s most certainly nice for the interesting and attractive to additionally be nice.

And I didn’t say that nice is needy, but rather the opposite; I said nice is attractive to the needy, which your follow-up post seems to confirm. You describe a series of unpleasant relationships and then realized that you ‘deserved to be treated well.’ But that realization shouldn’t hobble you, settling for nice because attractive and interesting have been your Achilles’ heel in the past.

Finally, while I’ll agree that nice is functional, I’m not sure I have the stomach or the cynicism to spell out exactly why. I’ll just point out that Dianetics, Hare Krishnas and Jehovah’s Witnesses have established empires with the simple principle of being nice to the vulnerable.

I’ll save Spider a post and just close with:



Anonymous Anonymous writes:

One doesn't have to settle for someone nice who isn't attractive or interesting. I didn't have to give up anything when I stopped seeing the self-centered types: they were no longer interesting or attractive to me. In other words, I stopped finding assholes sexy because being nice became a sort of prerequisite. Losing interest in those types wasn't a moment when I became needy; it didn't happen until I was sure I would be quite fine on my own. I noticed the nice guys once I stopped caring if this self-centered or that self-centered guy acknowledged my existence. And yes, nice guys like boobs too; they're just less obnoxious about it.

Sorry to have such a long tirade on your blog!


Anonymous B writes:

D'oh! Anonymous=B


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