I don’t understand why every comedian feels the need to talk about his or her colonoscopy. To celebrate my 58th I had one and I didn’t think any of it was at all funny.
So my doctor said, “I want to take a look at your colon.”
Don’t lie to me, doc. You’re a nice man but you don’t really want to take a look. You’d rather be golfing. I understand. Like the Copper Queen tour guide, you’ve probably had enough mineshaft tours to last a lifetime.
On second thought I’m sure my insurance company makes my doc’s spelunking expeditions worth his while. A Porsche payment per peek would make me want to inspect my bomb bay compartment, too.
On Friday I swung by the drugstore to get my Sunday prep sauce for my Monday colonoscopy. The pharmacist said, “It’ll be a breeze.” As soon as they thought I was out of earshot I heard the pharmacists slapping their knees, hooting and snickering as one of them said, “If a hurricane passing through the southern parish, and wiping out everything above ground, is a breeze — then it will be a breeze.”
Prep day had arrived.
10:00 a.m. — Chug first keg of “Yuck,” the official liquid propellant used by NASA to launch Saturn boosters into low Earth orbit. Add 4 Blast-o-lax tablets, 2 plugs of colonial musket gunpowder.
6:00 p.m. — Chug second keg of “Yuck.” Add ½ cup ammonium nitrate, gargle 1 pint of tiki torch lighter fluid, insert 16 Roman candles.
I followed instructions. The family gathered. I reminded them to stop laughing. No treasure can rival the love of a supportive family — although I discovered certain ointments that come close. This was serious business.
My wife said, “Do you hear migrating whales? I hear whales singing.” The sonar pings, whistles and gurgles grew louder. My wife gasped. The kids took cover behind our sofa. The dog ran.
Comedians who think the prep part is funny must think it’s a hoot to turn your body into the Bellagio fountains, blasting out geysers to the “1812 Overture” every 20 minutes. Tourists gathered in front of my home, waiting for the local Mirage volcano with their iPhone cameras. My kids, the traitors, sold popcorn and organized tours.
There’s no humor in performing “Riverdance” for the amusement of your alleged loved ones, knees locked, prancing back and forth between your living room and your plumbing for 27 encores, reminding them with your every return their juvenile and crude humor “is not funny.”
In the course of “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,” times 30, I evicted twigs, an intact Twinkie, assorted pebbles and a wad of gum I had gulped when Chuck Muncey slapped me on the back in the fifth grade. At sunset the National Guard found me on top of my porcelain throne waving a white flag, weeping and mumbling something about, “a breeze...”
I had been looking forward to sitting down and watching the new “Breaking Bad” that day. By the end of prep day I never wanted to sit down again; the question of Walter White’s fate was not nearly as compelling as my futile search for a Dutch boy with a cork, a mallet and a hammer swing like Thor. As a magician might say, there were no more rabbits left in my hat.
In the morning my pristine tube and I arrive at the Institute for Gastro-humiliation where all of Tucson was waiting for the same procedure. Nobody made eye contact.
The anesthesia was the best part. As I slipped into Michael Jackson’s rainbow land, my esteemed physician and polyp plumber said, “Are you going to write about this? It’s good to encourage checkups.”
“Doc, there’s nothing funny about ...”
The nurse woke me and said, “You’re all done. You may feel gassy because we inflated you like a dirigible. We rode you around the exam room just for laughs.” I felt like I had been abducted out of a cornfield and probed by the nicest aliens. My doc came by and gave me the all clear. And my insurance company gave him the all clear to golf nine holes.
When I told my ride home that my “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” was polyp free — she had tears in her eyes — not from relief but from fighting the urge to make insensitive jokes as I squirmed in my seat. Katie Couric had become Phyllis Diller. She bit her lip all the way home.
“How do you feel?” Snicker.
“Like the Santa Ritas after experiencing ‘21st century mining.’ You know there’s nothing funny about any of this.”
“Right.” I could hear her eyes rolling.
“Take us to Jerry Bob’s. I’m starving. And you’re still snickering.”
“You should get that checked. I recommend a colonoscopy. You can’t be too careful.”