The Diary of Shecky Kafka


By Larry Friedlander


    My body aches.  It is a chore for me to elevate myself from my bed each morning.  I wake up and I feel as if I’ve been run over by a freight train.  It is a feeling that will not subside, holding me prisoner for all of my waking hours.  I have but one desire now.  It is one that burns deep within my very soul.  It is one that aches from the core of my being.  I have an unyielding craving for Arby’s curly fries.  But it savages me to know that they are not yet open for breakfast.  I sit numbed, sweat pouring down my anguished brow, cursing the gods.  And now I am a torn man.  Do I gnash my teeth, counting the minutes on the clock, waiting for the drive-thru window to open?  Or do I go to Burger King.  I hear marvelous things about their Croissandwich.   I decide to do neither for I do not deserve to treat myself to such an extravagance.  I opt for Hot Pockets.

    My liver hurts in unimaginable ways.  Incomprehensible ways.  And my heart is pounding, beating as if it desires exit from my ribcage which imprisons it as if it were Otis, the town drunk on the Andy Griffith Show.  I know I must call my supervisor at the County Tax Assessor’s office where I am an insignificant clerk and inform him that I am in desparate need of medical attention.  He is a rude, pained man with a nervous facial tick and a pronounced limp, but I know he will understand.

    I arrive at my doctors and attempt to wait patiently in his waiting room.  Around me are other of life’s dispossessed.  The unwashed masses.  The air hangs thick with the scent of men’s cologne; Drakkar Noir, I think.  Or is it Obsession?  I curse them both.  For better or worse, I am still a Polo man.  Suddenly, a pale nurse opens the door to the examining room area and calls my name.  She is a woman I would like to know.  But to ask her for one of her evenings, I know, would be an imposition on her, and my delicate system is not constructed to handle rejection.



    The nurse escorts me to an examining room and instructs me to undress.  Then she departs disdainfully.  However, I do not harbor any degree of animosity toward her for her implicit rejection of me.  I am of weak body, but of strong mind, and because of that, I shall not let this daunt me.

    Finally my doctor enters.  A gangly man with a strong chin and thinning hair, Dr. K begins his evaluation of me.  I know that this will not turn out well and I am prepared for the worst.  

    He asks me about the stone I passed last year.  I tell him that I was so impressed by its sheer immensity, I took it to a local jeweler and had it appraised.  He expressed sadness at that fact, as he was interested in retaining the stone for the medical journals.  He told me that he had a significant breeze in his office and desired to use the stone as a paperweight.  My torture never ends.  And now, it’s the cholesterol test of which I have only dread.  Sweet sublime dread.  

    My doctor takes my blood and immediately informs me that my blood serum levels are too high.  I immediately query him, finding it odd that he has just drawn my blood but can already tell me such news.  He then informs me that if one is able to actually see chunks of bacon and feta in the syringe, it’s too high.  He then invites me to a cheese tasting party in his waiting room.  However, I decline.  

    Dr. K now informs me that he must initiate both the prostate and hernia checks.  The prostate check is performed by the doctor digitally violating me for a brief moment.  A brief moment of sheer terror.  The hernia check is done by the doctor grasping onto my most delicate region and having me cough.  It is with great apprehension that I allow these rituals to be performed, for I am well aware that they are essential.  However, I feel somewhat uneasy about having him do the procedures simultaneously.  In the future, I must make a note to ask him to refrain from nibbling on my ear while this is going on.  

    Several days later, I receive a call from my doctor informing me that I am indeed sick.  It seems that I have a problem with my stomach.  He refers me to a specialist to assist me with my troubles.  

    A week later, I sink to another level of self-loathing as I find myself in the waiting room of a proctologist.  I look around with a degree of astonishment at all the others, vexed by their dumpers.  I pass the time reading back issues of Colon Quarterly and Lower Intestines Digest.  I note that they are quality publications and I must look into getting subscriptions.  But do I have enough time left on earth to make it pay?  I must make another note to see if they’ll prorate the money for the unused issues back to my estate.  The nurse calls me back.

    This examining room is very different than that of Dr. K.  A large, peculiarly shaped table sits in the middle of the room.  I know that this will be the site of my misery and I wait, dreading every moment.  Then the doctor enters.  He is a Middle Eastern man of approximately three feet.  I remark to him that he had obviously chosen his profession well.  He is not amused and proceeds to take out his wrath on my naïve and docile colon.  I now regret my passing remark like I have regretted nothing else in my life.  

    As I am being violated,  I  witness the fruits of our highly technological age.  I am able to view the entire procedure on a small television set located directly in front of me.  I am soon bored and change the channel.  I am now disturbed to discover that I am able to watch the office’s other patients’ examinations as well.  Even their colons are more interesting than mine and I am disheartened by this fact.

    My doctor is now deeply engrossed in what he is doing.  I exist in a state of supreme discomfort.  He informs me that a man of my age is very likely to have three pounds of undigested red meat in his colon.  I relay to him that if this is indeed true, I will make it a point to obtain a bigger freezer.  I wince.  The camera with which the good doctor is examining me is providing more discomfort that I am able to handle.  I ask him to remove it immediately.  I also ask him to remove the tripod and lighting equipment.  He obliges me.  Then he relates the news to me; the news I long feared.  He believes the answer to my discomfort lies in an enema.  He then informs me that I must go to the pharmacy and purchase it myself.  I can think of no greater humiliation.

    I am now at the pharmacy.  It is here, I decide that I will procure the device of my consternation.  My doctor tells me that I must purchase a vinegar-based enema.  I decide that this is probably the best option, although I contemplate purchasing the blue cheese or ranch style instead.  I notice that the label informs me that if I use this product for a prolonged time, I may become dependent.  I am careful, as this is a dependency I could certainly live without.

    I pay specific heed to the instructions, not wavering one bit.  As I am lying on the floor, fully nude, and with the apparatus snugly in place, there is but one thought running through my mind:  Perhaps I should have waited until I left the store to begin.  I am receiving strange looks from the store employees and patrons.  And it is only a matter of time before the manager asks me to leave.  I oblige.


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