It is a well-known fact that we are allowed to chew out the people we care about. Most recently, this came to mind when I gave my old friend, Andrew, a serious tongue-lashing.
Andrew is a lifelong bachelor, and a committed curmudgeon. He is better than most curmudgeons at being curmudgeonly because he started young. Andrew showed signs of being a grumpy old man when he was still in his 30s. But Andrew is no longer in his 30s, and this is what brought us to our recent conflict.
Andrew is not taking care of himself. He would argue this is not true, of course. He would say that he lives a healthy life and even eats vegetables on occasion. He rides his stationary bicycle on a nearly daily basis, and he has no bad habits—which is probably true, except for the bad habit of ignoring the advice of his dearest and most concerned friend.
My problem with Andrew is that, like a lot of men, he does not go to the doctor. I’m betting every woman reading this right now is clucking her tongue in unison. I rarely make sexist generalizations, but I have observed that women seem to take the whole “going to the doctor before there’s anything wrong” thing a lot more seriously than men do unless there’s a woman nudging the man in the ribs. This brings us back to Andrew.
Andrew knows he’s supposed to see a doctor. He also knows he’s overdue for a colonoscopy, which he is not looking forward to, and so he dawdles and, eventually, he puts it out of mind completely—until I remind him.
“You haven’t had a doctor’s appointment yet?” I ask, accusingly.
“I’ve been busy,” he says.
This is true. He has been busy lately, as he is a tax preparer and tax preparers are madly busy for about three months of the year. The rest of the year, however, he has been dawdling.
“So, have you had your annual exam yet?” I asked again, after he had a chance to rest up for at least two-and-a-half days. He did not answer.
I told Andrew if he died early of something preventable, I was going to give his eulogy and say, “He was an idiot and he got what he deserved!” and sit down.
I wouldn’t really do this. But I feel like it every time I hear he still hasn’t gone to the doctor.
Andrew will tell that you he is extraordinarily healthy. Logically, he knows this is no reason not to have a medical exam, but he will cite the fact that he has never had a cavity as evidence of his better-than-average health. There are no reputable studies linking an absence of cavities to immortality, that I am aware of, but Andrew clings to the conviction that he is not like the rest of us cavity-riddled mortals.
I checked my email to see if Andrew had written this morning. He has not. This means one of three things: He is still mad at me, he has not yet scheduled an appointment, or he is mad at me and has not scheduled an appointment.
But I am still nagging him.
I don’t care if he is angry with me because I don’t think he has anyone else nagging him to take care of himself, and I care about Andrew very much.
A person doesn’t get more than one friend like Andrew in their life. I’ve got to do everything I can to keep him around, complaining as long as possible.
Till next time,
Carrie Classon’s memoir is called, “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.