I have a dermatologist named Dixie.
I like having a “Dixie” for a dermatologist, because I believe no “Dixie” could deliver seriously bad news.
“You have a life-threatening skin disease.”
“Doctor Morton Fishbein.”
“You have ‘Winter Rash.’”
(You can see why I prefer to believe this. “Winter Rash” is gone in the spring.)
The following occurred during a routine “body check”, an examination in which you stand in your underwear wearing a clothette smock and the dermatologist checks you over, looking for anything growing on you that could kill you.
From the start, Dixie and I have had a playful, platonically flirtatious relationship, less because I’m in my underwear and she’s a female doctor than because she’s Dixie and I’m me. And, partly, I believe, because she’s trying to make me forget that she doesn’t take insurance.
As with all doctor’s examinations, he paranoidically observed, there is some uncontrollable “Spin the Wheel” lottery-element in the process. In this case, you come in with the skin you currently have, and you spin the wheel, hoping that none of your body’s moles and weirdnesses resemble the “Red Flag” illustrations in the dermatological textbook.
You do not want to hear,
Or the question,
“How long have you had that?”
When I hear that latter, I inevitably lie and say,
“I was born with that.”
Hoping she will move on, and I can go home without anything being snipped off of me and Fed Exed to a lab. Dixie invariably catches me, because I can’t lie. And because, in reality, I do not want to go home in possession of a ticking time bomb of a mole.
So here it comes. The Exquisite Comedic Moment, more special in my books, because it actually happened.
I’m sitting there, trying to look dignified in my paper smock, though I will settle for “not ludicrous.”
Let the playful banter begin. And it does.
My angle invariably involves how quickly things will now move, as – and this observation has been confirmed by a cousin who is one – dermatologists have this unconscious clock in their heads, pressing them to get out of one examination room and into another one as quickly as humanly possible.
While still providing exemplary dermatological surveillance.
Now watch carefully. The Moment passes in a flash.
Dixie drops onto a stool in front of me. She affectionately squeezes my exposed right knee. Then, in the blink of an eye, her visage turns concerned, and the next thing I know, she is examining the knee she just recently squeezed with a magnifying glass.
It was an amazing, and to me, hilarious transformation. Fueled, somewhat, no doubt, by the apprehension that the situation had instantaneously become “Uh-oh.” (Though it turned out it was nothing.)
Mostly, however, I luxuriated in the comedic juxtaposition. It was a quintessential comic moment, unpracticed, but executed with the precision and timing of a Chaplin, a Keaton or a Lloyd.
An affectionate squeeze on the knee.
Then, suddenly concerned,
“Wait a minute! What’s that?”
For me, a moment like this is the four-leaf clover of comedy, a perfect snowflake, a miraculous sunset, more spectacular because it was generated by life, rather than confected.
As country singer Brad Paisley sings in his rapidly-growing oeuvre,
“I live for…
I am seeing Dixie on Friday. I cannot count on this happening again. The best I can hope for is to keep her in the examining room for more than five minutes.
Not because she found something to snip.
But because my inestimable charm slowed her down.
Just a little.