Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Juan Huang Lowe

Some time ago my roommate, Matt, burst into my room and, without so much as a “Hi, how are you”, dropped his trousers, looked me dead in the eye and said:

“Jimmy, does this look normal to you? Tell me straight. It doesn’t look normal, does it? I’ve got testicular cancer, I JUST KNOW IT. Something AINT RIGHT. WHAT DO I DO?”

I took a few moments to give the topic my full attention before replying: “to be perfectly honest with you I’d have to say no - that does not look at all normal (in general) but I don’t really think there is a problem.”

Despite my complete lack of medical training, he looked immensely relieved, sat down on the edge of my bed (trousers still at half-mast) and launched into a very long explanation concerning testicles in general, and, among other things, a certain size discrepancy which led him to the belief that he was suffering from testicular cancer (none of which made sense and all of which bordered on hypochondria).

Ultimately we came to the conclusion that he should merely keep an eye out for any sort of real anomaly, and perhaps run down to the doctor for a quick peek at the goods. Unfortunately, he understood that to mean that I had a vested interest in his reproductive health, so for the next three months the scene I just described replayed itself on a daily basis.

Nightly after work a mostly-naked Matt would throw my bedroom door open and say: “hey man – what do you think? Everything ok?”, I would reply simply: “Looks ok to me”, and he would respond with “Ok, as long as you’re sure” sigh, and walk out looking relieved.

Finally, his long-awaited doctor’s appointment came around and he went in (somewhat shakily) for a full-physical. The dudes of The Duderanch waited in eager anticipation for a report that evening, and, as Matt walked in; we turned to him and with one voice said: “everything ok with Lefty Hognut??”

He was extremely excited to show us graphically on his new 3"x5" doctor-provided diagram that yes, everything was indeed ok. He then took that small sheet of paper and taped it to his shaving mirror as a constant reminder of what to look out for; where it remained for the duration of Matt’s Duderanch career.

Matt moved out a couple of years ago and got married, but that diagram lives on. I found it this week under my bed between two canisters of dried-out “Floam” (the origins of which I could not even begin to imagine); and it made me miss the days of Matt “Caveman” Dunn a bit.

I guess it was nostalgia that led me to flatten out the water-stained edges, and tape it to MY shaving mirror for a change. It reminds me of Matt, and all those fun times……and the importance of good testicular health.

So, with that happy history fresh in my mind I was not at all surprised to overhear Matt at a rehearsal dinner recently, eagerly describing his previous testicular concerns… the mother of the bride.

She later confided in the bride her concern for Matt’s health, to which the bride responded:

“Mom he’s perfectly healthy! Whatever are you talking about?”

Her mother, fresh from the hairdresser, bedecked in all her wedding finery; inclined her head gently to one side and, with a quizzical look on her face, said in halting half-whisper: “Honey, did he not tell you about Lefty Hognut?”

Thank God I was near enough to hear it.

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