I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 36 - Korpulent

I went to my first physical examination in six years. When I checked in, the receptionist handed me eight sheets of forms to fill out. I was still filling them out when my name was called.

The nurse showed me to a comfy, upholstered chair in the examination room. She asked me all the same questions that were on the forms and then took my blood pressure. She told me to disrobe and put on the infamous gown that ties in the back and is too short even on me and then to have a seat back in the upholstered chair. I was halfway through that exercise when I started to wonder how many other semi-naked people had been sitting on that chair before me. I'm OK with them up on the table with the removable butcher paper, but not down here sharing my cushion. (I bet you'll think about that next time you are in a doctor's office, won't you?)

I sat tentatively in the comfy chair as directed, wrapping the gown around me as tightly as possible, and selected between a 2008 issue of Field & Stream and the really large print edition of the Reader's Digest which measures about two feet in each dimension.

In the limited amount of time that doctors allocate to each patient, they have to cover a lot of territory. This encourages them to use a technique that I call the "entering and leaving ovation" in honor of the Midwestern audiences who politely stand and clap for mediocre performances both to be "nice" and to be in an upright position aimed at the parking lot ahead of those in the adjacent seats. In the doctor's version, he or she will start conversing with the patient in a friendly manner while opening the door with one hand and opening the file with the other. The reverse happens on the way out and the last syllable will coincide with the click of the door latch.

The friendly chatter has the double purpose of trying to put the patient at ease while attempting to diagnose environmental health threats. "What terrific weather we are having! Sure could use some rain though. So, how are you feeling about these changes in your life? Any trouble sleeping or mood changes? Played with mercury lately?"

I try to save them time. "Hi, it's good to see you. I'm not clinically depressed. I always wear my seat belt. I'm not in an abusive relationship. I'm not drinking or using drugs. My turn-ons are Thai food, long walks on the beach and crisp, Autumn days. My turn-offs are mean people and nuclear war. Yes, the weather has been lovely." I'd like to think that Andy Kaufman would have handled the situation just like that.

I like my doctor and try to curb the sarcasm, but it's hard not to go for the joke when asked "Is your uterus still in place?" "Why, yes, unless it's gone to the movies, I'm pretty sure it's right where I left it." The doctor glanced at the door with longing.

As the essay portion of the examination was over, we proceeded to the butcher-papered table and a symphony of lights, poking, prodding and the womb with a view. I've never had a good experience that has included the phrase, "You'll feel a little pressure now."

All seemed to be well, so I was allowed to retreat to the comfy chair where I nonchalantly managed to isolate myself from any previous occupants by throwing my jeans over the cushion before sitting down.

The doctor stared at her notes intensely, slowly turned to face me, and fixed me with a riveting gaze. I was a little nervous at this point imagining that she was going to tell me that some organs were indeed missing or needed to be made that way.

She cleared her throat and said, "You're overweight."

This was not a surprise. I don't need to be weighed at the zoo but I was aware that I was fat since I had been there when it happened. She showed me a matrix where the intersection of two columns enumerated exactly how fat I am compared to my height. It seems that the whole problem could be resolved if I could grow to 6 feet 8 inches tall.

The doctor strode toward the door with a file in one hand and reached for the doorknob with the other. She glanced back to say, "I want to see you down twenty-five pounds." Door latch click. And I was alone in the germy chair.

So I think I'll make an appointment next week with the trainer at the gym where I like to pay the membership but not actually go. Some of those machines look like they could stretch me taller.

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