Tuesday, May 24, 2011

“Is That Your Real Hair?”

“Are Those Your Real Manners?”

“Is that your real hair?”“Are those your real manners?”
This is one of my favorite jokes in my act because in real life people ask very rude questions, and we all wish we had a snappy retort ready to go. The joke gets two reactions:

1. Knowing head nods and murmurs of approval from people who’ve been asked this crass question.

2. Dead silence from the people who are guilty of doing the asking. They feel called out and judged, and I’m glad. Sometimes comedy has the power to entertain and teach.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Right Eye Goes Rogue and My Inner Conspiracy Theorist Talks Smack

© 2011 Leighann Lord

I go to the doctor every year for an annual check up. He’s never asked me to do this. It just seems like the prudent thing to do, but I think it makes him and the people who work in his office uncomfortable. Theoretically they know that preventive medicine is a good idea but in reality they usually only get to see sick people. Healthy people are a rarity. When I called up last year to make an appointment, there was some confusion about this.
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“Hello, Medical Center Appointment Desk.”
“Yes, hi, I’d like to make an appointment to see my Doctor.”

“What’s the problem?”



“I’d just like to come in for a checkup.”

“A checkup? Oh . . . uh . . . ok.”
See what I mean?

This year was a little different.
“Hello Medical Center Appointment Desk.”

“Hi, I’d like to make an appointment to see my Doctor.”

“What’s the problem?”

“My right eyelid is twitching.”

“Great, can you come in on Wednesday?”
I put the appointment in my BlackBerry and reminded myself that the receptionist’s chipper tone wasn’t a case of Schadenfreude.

My right eyelid started twitching while I was doing my taxes. One minute I’m elbow-deep in receipts, staring at my meager finances in an out-dated version of Quicken and the next, my right eyelid was doing the Lambada. I don’t actually do my own taxes. I just can’t. I’m a smart woman but our current tax system is beyond me. As an independent contractor I can’t just hand in a 1040EZ. I need the slightly more complicated 1040FU.

Thankfully, I have a great accountant who handles the actual forms but it’s not his job to sort through my tear-stained receipts. I have to make sure all my deductible expenses are sufficiently annotated and properly categorized. But because I hate doing this there’s lots of procrastinating, grumbling, and apparently now eyelid twitching.

I explained all this to my Doctor and he said it’s not really that unusual. His diagnosis: stress. His recommendation: chill out. Seriously, he said, “chill out.” A $20 co–pay well spent? I don’t know. Should a doctor’s advice sound like something you’d hear said in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure?

Its things like this that make me question the quality of my medical care. Shouldn’t my doctor have recommended I get an eye exam, an MRI, a cat scan? Sure, it could just be stress, but it would be nice to rule out a stroke or a brain tumor wouldn't it?

My Inner Conspiracy Theorist (ICT) began making noises, pointing out that it’s probably cheaper to tell me I’m fine then to order tests my insurance company may not pay for. Am I really receiving good health care or just being placated?

My ICT reminded me that the medical degree on my doctor’s wall says he graduated but it doesn’t say where he placed. It’s one of the catch 22s of being economically middle class. I don’t make enough money to see the doctors who graduated at the tip top of their class from elite medical schools, and I’m not poor enough to see them when they slum around doing charity work. The burbs are just not the first place Dr. House goes to build up his pro-bono street cred.

My ICT claimed that if I were really wealthy an annual check up would include a visit the dentist, optometrist, audiologist, cardiologist, podiatrist, and dermatologist, just for starters. Given the loquaciousness of my ICT a session with a psychologist might be nice too.

I’ve long suspected that the best medical care in my family goes to my Dog, Rolie. He gets post cards in the mail (addressed to him) reminding him to come in for his regular shots and exams. Rolie has cataracts, which the Vet caught early with just a casual glance, never once suggesting that it might just be stress.

The ranting of my ICT aside, I do believe my doctor is probably right. When I’m not spending oodles of time in front of the computer playing forensic accountant on a deadline, my face is fine.

But part of me had already been wondering “what if.” What if I had to do stand-up comedy wearing an eye patch? Would that make me look edgy and sexy, or pitiful and sad? Clothes horse that I am, would I coordinate eye patches with my outfits, or just go for basic black? Would eye patches be a clothing or medical deduction? Clothing, I’d have to prove I wear it only for work. Medical has to be a certain percentage of my income. What percentage? I’m not sure. Net or gross? I don’t remember.

And this is when the eyelid twitching starts.

I’m hoping on my next visit I can convince my doctor to write a note excusing me from doing my taxes all together.

Join The Urban Erma on Facebook or follow on Twitter. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes. Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com. Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Manners are Due a Dog

The Lost the Art of the Knock

When I was growing up my Mom used to say that manners are due a dog. I don’t know if that’s true for all dogs, but if I say, “Excuse me” my dog, Rolie, will move. If I don’t, he won’t.

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Basic manners and courtesy are not inherent in our species. We are born rude and crude. The niceties have to be taught, learned and practiced. The problem is learning good manners is like learning a language, the younger the better. You can learn later in life but it’s a lot harder, and perhaps the principles don’t sink in as well.