Sunday, January 09, 2005

"She dragged me to the doctor..."

Dr. Copperfield, at Sunday Times Online, writes about the two types of male patients he typically sees in January.

Category One is incredibly fit, and is there for validation from the doctor. But Category Two...
is commoner and hasn’t really resolved to get healthy at all; he’s had the resolution thrust on him by his well-meaning partner. And he wears it forlornly, like an unwanted, tasteless Christmas woolly.

“I’m a bit overweight,” he mumbles. “I probably need more exercise and I should pack up the fags.”

“Tell him about your drinking,” prompts his other half, who has attended partly to hold his hand, but mainly to prompt him in case he fluffs his lines.

“I drink too much,” he admits, like a teenager caught with a porn mag.

“And he can’t . . . ” says a voice from off-stage.

He turns crimson. “And I can’t . . . er . . . get it up.”

“That’s right, doctor,” confirms his partner. “And he has smelly feet.”

It’s tempting to cut to the chase and suggest that she exchanges him for a sleeker, more vibrant, less pungent model. But I go through the motions and establish that he’s overweight, under-fit and leads an unhealthy lifestyle. He knows this already.

“Thanks, doctor,” says his partner, as they leave. He and I simply exchange glances. He has done his duty but we both know that our next significant encounter could be when I sign his cremation forms.

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