Story Of My Life

31 Jan

Thursday was my day off from work, which naturally meant I had to get up at 6:30 in order to go pick my dad up for a doctor’s appointment. Haha, very funny, life, you big jerk.

Anyway, dad has doctor’s appointments approximately 47 times a week (his warranty ran out years ago), and as such he and I spend a lot of times in doctor-office waiting rooms, searching for something to talk about. Let me tell you, I love my dad, but I can only hear the life history of Hank Snow or Ernest Tubb so many times.

Thursday, our conversation ended up on a row of pictures. The Lexington Orthopaedic Associates office lists its five participating doctors on its door, and the five doctors were pictured along the wall.

Now, one of the longest-lived jokes about my dad is that, while he’s nigh on blind in general, he can (and does) spot a slightly crooked picture from 10 miles away. I don’t know what it is, but the dude can tell me when a frame is two degrees off kilter when he can’t tell me the difference between Eva Longoria and Evan Longoria in a picture.

Anyway, of these five pictures, the one on the far left, was the one that was slightly unbalanced, and dad of course noticed. He and I discussed the crookedness for a moment, then moved on to discussing the names and attributes of the assorted doctors (we were waiting a while).

A bit later, while we were still waiting, one of the nurses came out. With my phone battery not exactly powerful and my conversation with dad at a slight lull, I watched as she went up to the row of pictures, stopping at the slightly crooked one at the far left. She stood in front of it for a moment, then reached up and pulled it down from the wall and started to walk (ever so slowly) back to the rear office.

“Look at that, dad,” I said. “They’re kicking him out of the practice altogether just because his picture was a little crooked.”

The nurse, only a few feet away from me when I said that, stopped. She looked at the picture for a moment, then at me, then at the picture again. She paused.

“Actually,” she said, “the doctor died in his sleep last night.”

I mean, I apologized, and the nurse wasn’t actually mad. She understood. There was no way I could have known. And when she came back out with the picture (she had just taken it to the back to tie a black ribbon around it), I helped her hang the picture back up, and she thanked me with a smile.

But come on. It might not have been a hilarious joke I was making, but it should have been a harmless one. I’m not a jerk.

Sigh. Sigh so damn hard.

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