If I have learned anything during this pandemic, aside from the fact that it’s extremely difficult to eat while wearing a face mask, making starvation another health risk, it’s that having a good doctor is very important.
I also have learned that it’s not a good idea to go to the doctor because you could get sick. Then, of course, you’d have to go to the doctor.
That’s why I was happy to see my doctor without having to leave the house.
I used my cellphone to have a virtual visit with Dr. M, which stands for mirth because he believes that laughter is the best medicine, not to mention the cheapest, even with a copay.
He proved it by telling me a joke that’s too risqué to repeat in a family newspaper. It involved dogs.
“You’re not even a veterinarian,” I told Dr. M.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “It was a good joke.”
“Are you going to prescribe flea powder?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “Just dog biscuits.”
“How do I look?” I wondered.
“Very healthy,” Dr. M said.
“I always look better from a distance,” I noted.
“Are you more than six feet away?” the good doctor asked.
“Try about three miles,” I said.
“Good,” he said. “That means you don’t have to wear a mask.”
“Should I stick out my tongue and say ‘ah’?” I wanted to know.
“Did you brush your teeth?” he asked.
“This morning,” I said. “Or was it yesterday morning?”
“Don’t bother,” said Dr. M, who told me that his medical assistant, Jennifer, was going to ask me some questions.
She popped up on the screen wearing a mask, through which she said, “Hi, Mr. Zezima.” Then she said, “How tall are you?”
“I’m sitting down, so I’m about 3-foot-8,” I replied.
“How tall are you when you’re standing up?” Jennifer asked.
“Six feet,” I said. “But I need a haircut, so I’m probably more like 6-5.”
“How much do you weigh?” Jennifer asked.
“I had a big lunch, so I feel like I’m 400 pounds,” I said. “Ordinarily, I’m 175.”
“How old are you?” Jennifer inquired.
“According to Social Security, I’m 66,” I said.
“You don’t look it,” said Jennifer.
“You mean I look even older?” I said. “I must be having a bad face day.”
“You’re a young man,” said Dr. M, who is older than I am.
I rolled up my sleeve, extended my arm and asked, “Are you going to take my blood pressure?”
“We haven’t figured out how to do that through the computer,” he said. “But you seem to have a pulse. How are you doing in this pandemic?”
“Fine, except I’m bothered by two things,” I said. “First, everyone tells me that everything I’m doing to stay safe is wrong. They think they’re all experts.”
“Tell them to call me,” said Dr. M. “What’s the other thing?”
“Those TV commercials for medicines that are supposed to help you, but they come with warnings about how bad they can be,” I said. “Some of the side effects include death.”
“If a medicine can kill you,” Dr. M said, “don’t take it. Water is good for you, but if you are under it, you can drown. If it’s too hot, it can kill you. If it’s too cold, it can kill you. Everything in moderation. Have a glass of red wine at dinner. It’s good for the heart.”
“You have a very good phone-side manner,” I said.
“Thank you,” Dr. M replied. “And I didn’t keep you waiting.”
“My time is not valuable,” I said, “but I appreciate it.”
“Stay healthy,” Dr. M said before signing off, “and you’ll always have the last laugh.”
— Jerry Zezima
Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, which includes his hometown paper, the Stamford Advocate. His column is distributed by Tribune News Service of Chicago and has run in newspapers nationwide and abroad. He is also the author of four books, Leave It to Boomer, The Empty Nest Chronicles, Grandfather Knows Best and Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures, all of which are “crimes against literature.” He has won seven awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for his humorous writing.