Dec 18 2013


I bought a lot of life insurance. More than necessary. In the event of my demise my wife and kid will be rolling in it. They can pay off the mortgage, buy a new car. College won’t be a problem. It is pleasing to imagine this so long as I ignore the one minor prerequisite.

The insurance company sent a medical professional to the house. If you go past a certain amount they want to make you’re a good bet.

I was at home by myself that day. The guy came in and we chatted about whatever. For a while he lived in Washington, D.C., and so did I. He was from New Orleans. I have been very drunk in New Orleans. And so on.

He drew blood. I peed in a cup.

Then came the part where he asked me to take off my shirt and lie on the couch.

Of course doctors and nurses are always asking you to take off your clothes, open up, bend over, turn your head to the side and cough. The difference is that it happens in an appropriate setting. You’re in a room with an adjustable bed-like thing and a counter with jars of Q-tips.

In this case we were in my living room. I was reclining shirtless on my blue IKEA couch. Playmobil scattered on the floor. A half-eaten sandwich from a couple hours earlier on the coffee table.

He rubbed some gel onto the little suction cups that he attached to my chest. The suction cups had wires coming out of them. The wires were tangled and he struggled to plug them into a computer that looked like what UPS delivery people carry. It took some time. Meanwhile I was shirtless, supine, gel smeared on my chest.

The guy was wearing a white lab coat. If you showed up randomly at someone’s house wearing a white coat and said you were with the insurance company, what percentage of people could you convince to give you a blood sample and disrobe? My guess is higher than you think.

Once he had untangled and plugged in he had trouble with the readout. The machine is old and they won’t buy him a new one.

He finally got it to work, wrote something down in his folder, and then removed the suction cups.

“Do you want a Coke or something?” I said.

“Nah, I’m good,” he said.

I walked him out. He drove off with my blood, my urine, and a record of my vital signs. After he was gone I took a shower.

(the end)