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Times Colonist (Victoria)

The end of days? No, rather the day of ends

Sun Jun 22 2008

One imagines that when one reaches these slightly overripe years, one could expect to be left alone to the few thoughts still sailing about in the old noggin, but apparently not.

Let us take by way of example the seemingly innocuous Father’s Day last weekend.

One would not normally entertain the image of taking the proverbial pie in the face when it is announced by the women’s section that the home of homes will be renaming Father’s Day Prostate Day.

Now I know before any of you start to write me that this wretched disease is dropping the male side of the species like flies, but dash it all this is a club, not a walk-in clinic.

It soon became clear that we were merely corks in the Niagara River and this outrage was going to occur no matter what, with the pink section of the home of homes having the temerity to send letters to our residences so our wives were alerted to deliver us with no excuses taken.

On the day in question we filed quietly through the large doors and into the senior reading room, where we were introduced to Dr. Piddle, the same Dr. Piddle who wowed us at the speakers’ lunch months earlier.

Several elderly men of the hard-of-hearing school of thought threw themselves in front of the doctor as if he were the pharaoh Ramses II and lay there until one of the large women lining the room to prevent any escape shouted that it was prostate, not prostrate, day. Much embarrassment ensued as the members involved were helped to their feet.

The good doctor then explained that this would all be over after a short physical and a blood test, and he would see us one at a time in the large cloakroom.

Mrs. ffrangington-Davis gave the Brigadier a mighty shove and so he became the first of the male club mems to stumble through the dark entrance.

As we stood silently, lost in a collective stupor, there came a shout from the closed door, followed by the Brigadier emerging at a good speed wrapped in a mink coat, saying no one had suggested that since an hirsute prefect at school had offered him unlimited toffee for the privilege.

I remember my own nightmare of the “short-arm salute” when as one of 200 soldiers I queued in front of a barn marked Medical Corps wearing nothing but

our Stanfields.

A doctor sitting upon a chair with a cigarette in one hand asked each man to cough as he passed while using the other hand to give a good pull on the chap’s curtain weights.

As I approached, I could see the doctor was a disgusting man with a terrible case of warts, including the hand doing all the work, as it were.

The man in front of me stepped forward with a grey pallor and stuttered his name nervously, then spread his legs slightly for the main event.

The filthy medic took hold of his meat and two veg and gave a desultory yank, instructing him to cough. But instead of a cough he chuckled heartily from a nervous affliction.

“Cough, you fool,” said the dreadful doctor, this time giving the whole apparatus a goodly squeeze with a twist, bringing a hyena-like scream of laughter, the sound of which curled some 2,000 nearby toes in fear.

Finally, after much tugging, two large provost corps types took away the now hysterical soldier. I stepped in front of the fevered medic, who quickly grabbed my block and tackle with a terrible look in those wart-encrusted eyes, and on cue I coughed like a Welsh miner in the final stages of the black lung.

A digital exam is nothing, so please see your doctor, chaps, and enjoy the rest of your days.

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