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Oh doctor my doctor

13 Jul


I take these hardcore tm prescription meds for a sleeping disorder that require I front to my doctor face to face so he can ring the official drug yeppers and be yepped.

Yes. Give that man them pills. Tick.

Honestly. It’s a drag. Making a booking. Turning up on time. Sitting in a waiting room for an hour or so…. waiting.

I mean, my doctor knows who I am. I know who he is. The phone yeppers don’t even ask if I’m there or how I’m going or anything.

But last time I went in, things were different.

Dr.Lee has been my doctor since, well, I’ve been going to doctors. I remember being enthralled by the fish-tank behind his desk on my first visit. I guess I was about six. He had some mad crazy fish. Spiky, antenna, floaty, fanny things that hovered and gulped. No dumb-ass orange fish (Oh no, I’m golden), but a seriously intense eco chain and a seriously awesome sunken pirate boat. When I got up on to the consulting bed, my head was right at it.

Then he dacked me and stuck a needle in my arse. It took me a while  to trust chinese people again.

Dr.Lee had one of those crinkly smiles that smart people who don’t care that they’re smart seem to have. Cheeky. Kind. Patient. A haiku smile.

He’s pretty much seen every part of my body and heard every one of my embarrassing admissions. He’s always have that same crinkly smile  as I blurted or moaned and then he’d nod and say okay mate in that beautiful chinese/australian accent.  Often, he’d go in to the other room and return with an elaborate model of a body part and show me step by step what was going on. I loved how his voice sounded when he did this.

But on my last visit he wasn’t there. His receptionist told me he’d retired.         Gone bush and running a hobby dairy farm.

Then I thought of the visit before. How he had returned to his surgery after a long lay off. How he’d lost a lot of weight and how his smile had effort in it now. How he’d  quoted somebody as I sat and then leant forward and said, makes you think..

I can’t recall the quote nor the author. What I can recall is knowing, right to my bones knowing, that this man who had cured and kept me for the best part of a third of a century was reaching for words to find himself and was inviting me in.

And I flinched from it.

I was pissy from having to wait. I was grumbly for having to front up for a prescription. I was in a hurry to get some place for some thing at some time o’clock.

And I flinched.

I shifted in my seat and looked away. You’re a doctor. Doctors don’t get sick. He, being the gentleman he is, delicately returned to being that doctor for me, filled my script and then rose and offered his hand as I left.

Truth comes at the strangest times. Or perhaps it is always there and sometimes we are just forced to acknowledge its naked face. Men like to think we are creatures defined by the big moments and I am most certainly a manwholikestothink.  As men, we can float  through our moral narrative, but as long as we hit the big cues, the show will be fine.

I wish I’d listened to the truth in his tone. I’m glad he was the man he was to forgive me instantly for lacking. I’m glad I am the man I am that shaking his hand was the most perfect thing in the world.

I like to picture him now. A ridiculous straw hat. Gum-boots.  Leaning over a huge head holding a home built model of an udder as that lovely timbre explains the whys of the universe to a mind that will never quite get there.

Fair winds Dr.Lee.


Mancrush: Aristotle once said..

4 May

Of man crushes.

None can match the cosmos sized, identity forming crush I gathered on Chris-in-the-Morning from ‘Northern Exposure’ back-in-the-day. This show is still my favourite piece of television. At its best (which is where one judges the best), it reached a plateau of sentiment and insight rarely attempted, let-a-lone attained. Sure, it was Whitman Mach10, but to elicit a quiet smile and sigh is a rare thing. Snarkers take note.

And at the centre, for me, was Chris Stevens; the philosphy expounding, ex-con DJ for K-Bear. He’d spin his tunes and furrow his come hither brow and his bookend monologues over closing Cicilien montages were just about my favourite thing in the ‘now what have we learnt’ universe. Mancrush reached its zenith in the episode ‘Northern Lights’ (s4, ep18.), where, driven by some restless need (Ding!), he constructs a vast sculpture of lamps in the Alaskan night,and then rises before it, HenryV style, and delivers a speech upon the nature of light and longing that just about broke my tiny little heart.  It commences with a Goethe quote. It concludes with, “Light……….is light.”  I ask you!

So,  I still buy lamps. I jam lyricism into any situation and refuse to learn from the awkward silences. I use the words incandescent or luminous in every story I write. I haven’t done hard time in prison or wandered the wide plains of Alaska and beyond, but I did once shop-lift at Venture and walk home to Keysborough from Nunawading. I don’t attract conga lines of  women with a seasonal pheromone release, and I use google, not dog-eared anthologies, for most of my quotes.

I fall short, but the shape of him comforts still.

Oh Chris. Oh sublime, fictional Chris. Such a model you have presented to aspire to.