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Why bother lying when the truth is so obvious?

Fibbing to one's physician is kinda like telling your auto body repair guy that someone backed into you in the church parking lot when what really happened is that you hit a deer full-on at 72 mph while racing home with a bursting bladder. I mean, c'mon, there are eyeballs in your grill, a leg bone sticking out of the radiator, and enough fur in the fender to make a vest, you ain't foolin' anybody.

But still, I do it, lie to my doctor, that is. When he asks if I've been watching my weight, I say, 'Gee, doc, I've really been trying this year,' when it's obvious that I've walked by the doughnut case without buying something far fewer times than I've looked for the treadmill power switch. When he asks if I'm getting enough sleep, I say 'A good 8 hours a night,' skipping the fact that the first three of those hours are in my recliner with my eyes twothirds open while watching the latest 'Very Scary People' episode.

Hey, that Son of Sam guy was a mean dude. You try to sleep soundly after watchin' that.

I had my annual checkup last week, which really wasn't annual, because it had actually been two years. Waiting that long is sorta like goin' 10,000 miles between oil changes, but maybe that explains why I was dirty, viscous and smelled like burnt tar. Needless to say, my fluid levels were low, my tire pressure was weak, my engine rhythm was two ticks off kilter, and my air filter had enough bugs in it to choke a frog. Explains the cough, anyway.

A kind nurse collected me from the waiting room, and steered me forthwith to a scale. Not one of those bathroom types, oh, no, this was an industrial model onto which you could drive a semitrailer to see if your load exceeds highway limits. As I stepped on, the scale groaned, and she slid that weight indicator gizmo a little to the right and then some more and a little more, until finally, after reaching past one-eighth of a ton (yeah, go ahead, do the math, I'll wait), she stopped and punched a number into her laptop.

'You accounted for the shoes?' I asked.

She had. As if that solved my problem.

In the exam room, the nurse took my temperature, which at 98.5 degrees was not just good in a non-coronavirus setting, but in such virally diseased times, enough to call Mom to tell her about it. The nurse thought it could probably wait, so she proceeded to the blood pressure reading, which at 116/82 was decent, and certainly not enough for her to race out in the hallway to yell 'Code Red!' That's really what I shoot for.

The physician entered next, and his first order of business was to review my medications. I take four -- not counting the Snoopy vitamin -- and he asked me if I remember to take them regularly, as directed on the label. I said I did. He asked if I was sure. I said I was. I think he believed me.

After some discussion of my general health issues and a few questions from me regarding the effectiveness of beer on controlling internal parasites -- no reason, just broadening my knowledge base -- the doctor left the room and told me to strip to my skivvies. I hate this part, of course, especially when I forget about my appointment and wear my Power Rangers briefs, but I complied, all the while wondering how an intelligent species that can invent super microchips cannot come up with a gown that uses Velcro instead of strings. I mean, I'm not the most coordinated creature, I get that, but tying something I can't see that's behind my head, get real. I could more easily solve a Rubik's Cube while blindfolded, I think. Anyway, Doc came back in and performed his physical exam. While pushing on my bloated belly, he inquired about my weight, which is kinda like sticking a needle in a leper's open sore and asking if he's had any skin irritation. In fullon lying mode now, I said I'd been taking steps to control the poundage, which, paradoxical to my statement, had swelled since last we'd met. OK, I figured, I said I had 'taken steps'; I hadn't said they were all backwards.

Further along in his poking and prodding routine (and, no, we hadn't even neared the digital prostate part yet), the doctor peered in my ears.

'You're using Q-Tips, aren't you?' he said, his tone of voice revealing that said practice was naughty in terms of canal care.

'Nooooo,' I snorted, realizing right off that I had carried out the 'oooo' part way too long, to which he said, matter-of-factly, 'I can see that you are.'


I now knew -- and he knew that I knew -- that everything I had said to this point of the exam was suspect. I mean, if I was willing to bend the truth on something as harmless as use of a cotton swab to shove the wax deeper into my ear, why would I not pull a Nixon when asked if have cut back on the chocolate or go all Bill Clinton ('I did not have relations with that woman') when asked about my carbohydrate load. If this had been a court hearing, at this point my doc would have turned to the bench and said, 'Your Honor, permission to treat the witness as hostile?' I now realized it was silly - counter-productive even -- to be anything less than honest with a person whose sole motive in this situation was the betterment of my health. If he is to prescribe the drugs I need to live longer and better, than why would I tell him I eat four cups of fresh vegetables every day when in truth there hasn't been a hunk of broccoli near my lips since that time I tripped at the farmers market. And really, how stupid to tell a trained physician I've been making effort to lose weight when he can easily see my size 38 belt is on the last hole and straining like a $2 bungee cord to hold down an angry rhinoceros.

For the rest of the exam, I complied, told the full truth, all the while already knowing I had ruined my chances for a sticker. It's an odd quirk of people, I realized, to lie about how well they take care of themselves -- or don't -- when their very physical appearance tells the truth. Who me? Yeah, I work out all the time. Ignore those flabby flanks. That's all muscle.

Well, anyway, the checkup went mostly OK. After I left, the doctor went into his office and added to my file: 'Overweight. Low muscle tone. Pale skin. Weak metabolic condition. Lies like a rug. Same as two years ago.'