Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Humor Your Best Medicine


Khuk Khak, Thailand - I saw a picture recently of Hugh Hefner, aged 108, Playboy reunion, however many years in publication, two beauties on either arm, who were no doubt with him because of his radiant personality.

Those toothpaste ad girls were young, blond, beautiful, and righteously endowed with big tits exploding from low-cut dresses, and I wondered, 'I wonder if those girls have a sense of humor.'

Could be the basis for a long and fulfilling relationship.

"Yeah, guys," he said, as his friends passed around the photograph, each one of them examining it closely, then extending their arms, looking again, raising their eyebrows and not saying anything. "I know she ain't much to look at, and she don't cook, but she's got a great sense of humor."

Someone once said that time is your best medicine, but humor works pretty good, too. In fact, the combination of humor and medicine is great. I think I might have killed a guy once with humor. Or, I was at least complicit in his death.

We were flying along in a helicopter, and my audience, my client, my patient, had his guts and lower body ripped away by what they said was a booby-trapped 109mm artillery shell.

The guy was gripping my hand so tightly I couldn't treat his profuse wounds, telling me, "IT HURTS, DOC! IT HURTS!"

So I told the guy, "Yeah, I know," using a line moms and doctors use on kids. "The reason it hurts, it because it's getting better."

The guy burst out laughing, coughed up blood, relaxed his grip on my hand, and died with a big-ass smile on his face.

The pilot glanced over his shoulder and keyed his mic, asking, "Is he going to make it?"

I said, "Yeah. He's going to be okay."

Same thing last week with Willie, the poodle that stays with Marsden who's hopping around on three legs since being run over by a mini-van.

As he lay there, I gave him a warm, hands-on treatment for his racked hip socket, and told him, "Willie, you shouldn't be trying to stop mini vans with your hips."

Willie is a Thai dog, but understands a smattering of English, although he doesn't let on. He laughed, jumped up from the floor to his feet, and began running around on all fours, limping slightly, much to everyone's amazement.

"What the fuck did you just do?" asked Mars.

The other guy I killed already had a history of heart trouble, they said later.

"Go out there and kill them tonight," said the master of ceremonies, backstage before the show.

The man was sitting at a table up front, and was just taking a drink of water as I delivered my punch line. He laughed and coughed and spit his water mostly back into the glass and all over the table, clutched at his throat, and then his chest, then collapsed onto the table, and then the floor, sending his wife into hysterics with bedlam erupting all around, people crying out for a doctor in the house.

"I...I'm a doctor...", I stammered into the microphone from the stage. "Well..." I began to explain, "...almost a doctor...I never fin..."

"Well, get down here, then!" they hollered out as they loosened his tie and pounded on his chest.

In the middle of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, I said to those huddled around, "I never finished medical school...too tall," and the guy was laying there, semi-conscious, still chortling, foam at the corners of his mouth, big-ass smile on his face.

"This is no time for your antics!" screamed his wife. "Bring him back to life!"

The paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Rolled him out of there with a sheet over his body, his grieving and traumatized wife casting daggers at me with her looks.

The joke? No. This was years ago, way back in the day. I forget what the joke was, but it was a good one. A couple of guys said so after the ambulance left.

Well, so, those guys died laughing. That's more like 'Humor As Lethal Injection', rather than medicine. For medicine, you've got life and death, life and death going on down here on planet earth and elsewhere in the universe, it seems.

And life, depending on how you got your card punched, could give you that silver spoon, that birth defect, that particular way you carry yourself, and you could be strong-suited in, say, intelligence, or serious, or compassion, like Mother Theresa, even though they say now, after examining some of her letters, she was haunted with doubt. So there you have it. Strong-suited in fortunate birth and compassion, weak-suited in certainty.

The guy is sitting over there, across the table, holding four-of-a-kind, big-ass smirk on his face, upping the bet, causing the weaker hands to fold, seeing if you're bluffing, going along for the ride.

You're going along, going along with the bet, wondering what he's got. Going along, just to see his cards. Going along, holding a full boat.

I don't know who you meet when you die, other than your Maker. Some say Jesus. Indians say your relatives. Could be. For me, I see...my loved ones, my friends, some teachers, a few patients, and a whole pack of dogs.