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Doctor, Doctor!!
by Tom Schmidt

47 year old Brian McDougal grimaced in discomfort as the doctor probed his abdomen. “Does this hurt?” asked the doctor as he continued to examine the man’s chest.

“Yes, a little” came the reply from the middle aged man. The tenderness around his lower ribs had brought McDougal to Dr. Stanley Penske’s office. The pain was not intense but rather just uncomfortable for the middle aged man.

The doctor stopped his exam in order to make some notes on his patient chart. “Well, I think you just have a strained muscle right below your rib cage.” The doctor continued making his notes before finally raising his eyes to look at the man.

“Any idea how this happened?”

McDougal looked to his right, trying to divert his eyes from the young primary care physician. How much should he tell his doctor? The story was, well, kind of embarrassing. 

“Well, it might have happened at McGinnity’s Pub last night….”

“Yes?” Penske was perplexed at the reluctance of his patient to talk.

“Um, I was having a drink with some co-workers and it happy hour you see…”


“Um, well, this young woman Linda McGovern had come in and was looking over at us. She’s rather attractive. A redhead you know…”

The doctor just nodded. Where the hell was this story going??

“Um, she started to come over to see us and I…  Well, I….  Um, I decided to suck my chest in.”

“Suck your chest in?”

“Yeah, you know, to make me look flatter.”

Penske looked perplexingly at the 200 pound McDougal. The man would have had to suck in an ample gut in order to look flat.

McDougal sighed and then continued. “Um, I just wanted to look better when she came over. You see she is very attractive. Did I mention her red hair?”

“Yes you did.”

“Well, I didn’t think she would be spending much time with us so, um, sucking in my chest seemed like a good idea. But she ended up spending over 15 minutes talking to us.”

“Over 15 minutes?’

“Well, 17 minutes and 24 seconds to be exact.”

“Uh huh.”

“Afterwards, my lower chest started to hurt and that is why I came to see you.”

Penske sighed and thought about what to say. Finally, he decided to just lay it on the line for his patient. “Holding your chest in causes stress on your abdominal muscles. That is why you have your pain. You just need to let yourself heal. It will take some time.”

McDougal sighed as he turned a little red. “Kind of a dumb thing to do, right?”

Penske nodded as he started to write on his prescription pad. “So what were you planning to do when this girl happens to come by again in the future? Hold your gut in each time you see her?”

McDougal looked away as he responded. “I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”

Penske sighed as he ripped off the prescription and handed it over to McDougal.

“What’s this? A prescription to help with my pain?”

Penske grinned as he looked at the perplexed patient. “Well, sort of.”

McDougal read the paper out loud. “Stay away from McGinnity’s Pub and pretty red heads” was all that was written…..