A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker


The morning was cold and cloudy. A light rain fell, chilling the air. The carís windshield wipers beat a slow, steady rhythm, a pounding dirge to accompany the somberness of my soul.

It was the morning I had been dreading, the morning I hoped would never come. I was on the way to the doctorís office. Oh, sure Ė it was only a routine physical. But have you heard what they do to 47-year-old men during routine physicals?

"Oh, please!" Anita said as I whined my 100th whine about the indignity of what I was about to suffer. "You have no idea about medical indignities. Let me tell you about my last doctorís appointment."

She spoke of things gynecological and mammographical. And she was right Ė I had no idea. But while it helped a little to know that at least I didnít have to go through THAT, it still didnít take away the dreadful anticipation of what I was about to endure.

I parked the car and trudged through the drizzling rain to the doctorís office. The sign on the door said Dr. Peter Sundwall. I could almost hear the spooky organ music swell, accompanied by the rustle of bats on the wing and the whinny of frightened horses. "Velcome to my laboratory. Iím Doc-tor Sundvall. I vant to take your blood!" Say that out loud, with a thick Transylvanian accent. Itíll make your corpuscles coagulate.

Inside, the doctorís assistants greeted me warmly Ė almost too warmly. They asked my name and if I had an appointment. I scanned the magazines as they pulled my chart and whispered among themselves. Plotting, no doubt.

"Excuse me, Mr. Walker," one of them said, "but what time was your appointment?"

"Nine," I said, glancing at my watch. "Is there a problem?"

"Well," she said, "somehow youíre not showing up on our appointment list."

No. It wasnít possible. Things like this just donít happen to me. Ed McMahon doesnít come to my house with an oversized check. The bank doesnít make an error in my favor. Nobody volunteers to make me an American Idol.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "I wrote the time down as soon as I made the appointment."

"We donít show you having an appointment anywhere," she said. "Iím so sorry. Iím sure itís our fault. If youíd like to sit down, weíll try to squeeze you in somewhere."

"Oh, no," I said. "Iíll just make an appointment for later. Itís no problem."

"Are you sure?" she asked. "I hate to inconvenience you."

"Itís no inconvenience," I said, graciously. "No inconvenience at all."

So we set another appointment for next Monday morning, and I left the office Ė smiling. As I walked back to my car, the world was suddenly glorious. The sun was shining. Birds were chirping. Little bunnies frolicked on the lawn. And unless Iím mistaken, behind the doctorís office in a stand of trees I could see Bambi nuzzling his mother.

Life was good.

While itís true that life often throws us hard-breaking curve balls that leave us swinging at empty air, it is equally true that once in a while life hangs a big olí piece of cheese over the plate and begs us to hit it out of the park. The IRS auditor loses our file. The police officer decides to issue a warning instead of a citation. Our team scores an amazing, improbable victory over a heavily favored opponent. The dentist finds nothing to drill. A wise man once had some good advice about how we should handle days like these: "Rejoice! And be glad in it!"

At least until next Monday.

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--- © Joseph Walker


Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through