A word of explanation here. . . Though based on facts, the following little sketch contains a number of embellishments. Also, names and incidents have been disguised to protect the innocent and still present our hero in a positive light. Therefore, it could legitimately be considered "fiction." If you object to legitimacy, call it "political autobiography." And, if you think you see yourself in here somewhere, that would be your imagination at work, not mine.
Considerations of genre aside, most people would agree that no one likes to look like an idiot. And, nothing makes a person look more like an idiot than being hopelessly behind the times. So, after having been in Thailand for over six years when we arrived in the States for a short furlough in 2007, I decided to fall back on a little tactic that is widely used in missionary circles, even if it isn't explicitly taught in missionary school: I'd keep my eye out for contemporary topics of conversation. Then I'd drop these little gems into conversations at opportune moments and make a good impression on friends and supporters.
I picked up on my first topic even as we were leaving the airport after arrival. There was a big sign with a handsome man and a beautiful woman smiling at each other. The message said something about a colonoscopy. I don't remember that being a topic of conversation last time we were in the States, but new fads come and go with some regularity. I wasn't sure what it meant, either, but it seemed to make the people on the billboard happy enough and it was obviously a topic of public interest. Just what the doctor ordered. I made a mental note for future reference.
It wasn't long before I had a chance to use my new-found knowledge. I confided to a friend that I thought I might get Mary a colonoscopy for our anniversary. His reply: "Boy, Gene, you think of everything." Bingo! I could tell this was going to work. He was probably picturing Mary and me up there on a billboard, smiling at each other. I know I was.
"You can't get them in Thailand?" another friend asked upon hearing my plan.
"Well, I'm sure they're available," I said, winging it. "But in Thailand they'd be, you know, kind of a high end proposition." This seemed to satisfy him and we went on to talk about, of all things, the details of some recent medical issues he had faced. Isn't that gross? Is everything fair game for conversation these days?
I mentioned getting a colonoscopy to a third friend, and she asked me, "For Mary, not for yourself?" I hadn't anticipated this, so I had to think fast. Trying to sound unselfish, I said, "Well, I thought I'd get her one first. If she she takes a shine to it . . . I don't know, do you think two colonoscopies are too much for one family?"
That really stumped her. "How long have you been married?" was all she could say. When I told her we'd been married for over thirty years, she just sighed, "Amazing." I could tell she thought Mary was one lucky lady. I knew I was setting the pace pretty fast for the other men out there, but let's face it – someone's got to be out front. If not me, who?
I soon discovered that I wasn't in the vanguard; I was bringing up the rear, so to speak. We were staying with some friends and our hosts asked us if we'd like to go to Wal-Mart. "That would be perfect," I said. "I need to pick up a colonoscopy anyway."
Well, I'm no fool. I could tell right away by their reaction that Wal-Mart would not be where one goes to find colonoscopies. So, I immediately went into recovery mode: "I mean, you know, if you're also planning to swing by Target. I'd like to get two; one for me, one for Mary."
"Gene, do you know what a colonoscopy is?" came the inevitable question.
By this time, I could tell that I was pretty much eliminated from the running so far as avoiding looking idiotic went. As long as you're going to be behind times, you'd just as well do it in style: "Well, is it bigger than a breadbox?" I parried, borrowing a line I had often heard on a TV game show that was popular about forty years ago. I tried to flash a smile, but I think I looked more like I was getting a colonoscopy.
I was mortified to find out what a colonoscopy really is! I guess I should have googled it first. I'm still trying to figure out why that couple on the billboard was so happy. Maybe because they only talked about things like this on the billboard, and not with friends. Former friends, I mean.
Just a little behind,
PS I realize that this is a little off the main topic of this blog: nutrition and exercise. Still, one of the main points of eating right and getting exercise is good health, and monitoring one's health is part of that.
I'm not sure of the correlation between a healthy diet and unremarkable (i.e., good) results from your colonoscopy, but I'd bet it matters. Ditto for exercise. If you've ever wondered about a sensible way to go about that, you can do yourself a favor by ordering Tom Venuto's eBook, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by clicking here. This course is designed in such a way that you can begin implementing what you learn soon after you download it. And, it is detailed enough that you will continue learning and refining your own program for an unlimited time.
Don't get even a little behind!