I met Travis, aka The Holmes, a few months ago through the DadCentric blog. His writing is brimming with brilliance, and his comedic chops are honed razor sharp. As we continue our “Just A Little Crazy” series, he shares a story of getting a little crazy in a lab coat. Visit the new Crazy! page to read previous entries in this series . . .
I blame Doogie Howser. You know, M.D.? I mean the TV show, of course, not Neil Patrick Harris. I can’t think of anything to blame on Neil Patrick Harris. Neil Patrick Harris is the shit. And Doogie Howser was the shit as far as I was concerned back when I was young. Here was this freakishly smart kid doing these big important grown-up things, but still going through all the same agonizing teenage bullshit as I was. His girlfriend was hotter and his best friend was dumber, but still, it put the idea in my head that even as a kid, a pre-man if you will, I could insinuate myself into the adult world and do the same things they were doing.
I had decided that I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. That’s the fourth thing that I can ever remember wanting to be, the first three being a carpenter, a lawyer, and an actor. Rock star and dope M.C. would come later, but at this particular time, I wanted to be an animal doctor, to help people’s pets feel better, to heal their wounds, to assure their owners that, indeed, everything was going to be all right because Dr. Holmes was on the case. My mom, ever supportive, called up the vet where we took all of the non-human inhabitants of our house when they were under the weather and asked if perhaps I could spend the day with them, just hanging out, observing, helping out where I could. Being the good fellows they were, they agreed to it.
Foolish foolish men.
As it happened, I ended up spending more than one day with the vets. I liked being there and they seemed to like having me, so they welcomed me to come pretty much any weekend. I got to sit in on appointments, help clean up exam rooms, help feed the boarded animals, all kinds of stuff. And I picked up on a lot. Like the fact that some pet owners are pretty shitty towards their pets. And the fact that the resemblance between some pets and their owners can be uncanny. I’ll never forget lizard man, but that’s another story.
Their mistake may have been in giving me my own white lab coat to wear. I know their intention was just to help me feel like one of the crew, but I think it may have contributed to me forgetting where I belonged in the order of things. So really, I could you could say it was their own damn fault.
So this one day, there’s some lady waiting in one of the exam rooms with her little dog. I knew she was in there waiting for one of the doctors. I also knew that the docs were presently tied up with other business, and that she was going to be waiting for a bit. I also knew that I had watched the doctors examine people’s pets dozens of times. I’d seen how they held them, how they felt them, I’d heard the questions they asked, the little details they pointed out, the measured way they offered diagnoses. So I decided, hey, why not?
I walked into the exam room and introduced myself as Dr. Holmes. I asked her dog’s name, what problem brought them in to see us, plus a few other questions that I’d heard the docs ask. I assumed that the lady had seen Doogie Howser, so she knew that doctors were getting younger these days, a trend which extended to veterinarians as well. I assumed this was the reason why she wasn’t asking me what the hell I thought I was doing and where the hell was the real doctor. I assumed I had this lady fooled, and her little dog too.
Of course, a few minutes into the exam, I quickly realized that no matter how well I might play the part, I had no idea what I was doing and I didn’t know how to make this lady’s little dog feel any better. I wasn’t Doogie Howser, I was just some kid with a white coat and a dramatic streak, and we needed to get a real vet in here stat.
“Okay,” I said to her. “Somebody will be right in to see you.” Or something like that. I ducked out of the room, thankful to be out of there, thankful not to have been called out on my bullshit. I resolved to never pull a stupid stunt like that again. And when one of the docs asked me about it, I swore up and down that I wouldn’t ever do it again. They were so cool about it, they even let me come back again.
Yep. All Doogie’s fault.