It happens a couple times a month. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I don’t enunciate well enough. Either way, I go into a patient’s room and it’s usually some glum-looking old guy hang-dogging about in there. He sees me and his face lights up. Good morning Dr. Parker! You’re here early! Or: Helen wake up, this is Dr. Parker, he did your surgery last night! I stopped correcting them years ago. I don’t mind. I even embrace it. I’ll be Dr. Parker. Hell yes I will. It’s a nice change of pace. Sometimes I get caught up in it. Start acting a little weird. Arching my eyebrows, making my eyes big and crazed. Bobbing my head like a metronome. Literally tsk-tsking if there’s like bubbles in the IV line or jello stains all over his gown. Sometimes I’ll grab a slice of bacon from his plate. Good stuff here, boy. Only heartland hogs for you and me. Yessir. I like it a little crispier, know what I mean? Winking at his wife. How’s that old belly feeling? I start talking in this odd accent. Like if Joe Pesci was born and raised in West Virginia. Old Dr. Parker. Slinging pearls of wisdom left and right. Get yourself some dried fruit. Big bowl of shriveled cherries. Gorge yourself. And no sex for 6 years. The wife chokes on a cashew. Tears in her eyes. Hallelujah, I say, waving around the bacon, while a con man televangelist on the TV hawks prayer guides for $19.99 a piece. Do you pray, Dr. Parker? Are you a man of the Lord? Oh Dr. Parker, we just knew the Spirit was in you. I make myself right at home in there. Ask the old guy if he has any bourbon hidden under his pillow. Tousle his white hair. We got some celebrating to do. Look at that light streaming in through the window. Look at all that! They see it alright. They saw it from the very beginning. I knew you’d help us, Dr. Parker. I just knew it. You’re wonderful! Oh, if only you really knew, I say. I’d stay in this room forever if I could. But I can’t dawdle all day in there. The other guy has work to do. I’ll have to go back to being Dr. Parks or Jeff or no one at all. Just a guy strutting down the hall in funky green shoes. The guy everyone thought they knew.
We love you Dr Parker!
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