Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Pain in the Neck

Interview with an Orthopedist

Stack the Bones Game
 We were hitting it off just fine, the backbone doctor and I. I liked the direction of the conversation. It pointed directly at me and my minor medical ailment.* He spoke English right from the start which gave me ample opportunity to use all the medical vocabulary I've learned while living in Japan

My sojourn here has given me a chance to catch all those missed episodes of the hit TV show ER, starring George Clooney, et al. The show was aired for a while on what I would call Japanese public television’s equivalent to Masterpiece Theatre.

I thought I really impressed the learned doctor with my mastery of medical terminology because about ten or fifteen minutes into our chat he suddenly shouted, “Let’s go!” The pop invitation filled me with wonder as I pondered continuing the discussion over a steaming cup of hot sake at some local watering hole. 

Then to my surprise the good doctor switched language tracks telling me in Japanese to “please stop at the reception desk on your way out.” The words hit me hard with the sudden realization that our conversation had reached the end of the line. The “apostrophe s” in his “let’s go” was entirely me. It was the kind of “let’s go” a baseball stadium usher might use if he found you sitting in the good seats when your tickets had “bleacher section” printed all over them (I would imagine). 

It really should have come as no shock that when it came to making polite conversation, he made minimal use of niceties. After all he was a bare bones kind of guy.

*I'm just well-rounded - Some of the best medical minds have said I have the body of a middle aged man and the neck of an octogenarian, all topped off with the mind of a child.

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