The Illusion of Knowing

Mark sat down on the table.  It was cold, and his lack of clothes didn’t help.  He studied the obscure anatomical drawings adorning the walls to distract himself from his hairy thighs being covered by little more than his underwear.

He glanced back and forth at the door, hearing piqued by the sound of footsteps outside. The noise passed, and he went back to trying to make sense of the pressure point diagram; a diagram of a foot labeled with other parts of the body.

The sound of the heavy door opening made him jump, breaking him away from the nonsense that seemed to make up the poster.  “Matt?”  The man stepping through the door called out.

“Err, I’m Mark.”

“Ah yes, Mark.  Slip of the tongue.”  The doctor apologized.  He waddled in through the door, white coat buttoned awkwardly all the way to his neck.  His face twisted up in concentration, and his dark unkempt beard followed the movements of his face.

Mark uncomfortable shifted on the table, trying to stretch the pity amount of fabric of his boxer shorts down over his thighs.  Avoiding staring at the doctor, he looked back at the same poster.

“Shit’s crazy.”The doctor bursted out suddenly.  Mark looked over to him nodding at the same poster.


“Oh uh.”  The doctor stammered.  “I said ‘seems crazy.’  It totally works though. Yes sir.”

“Oh, we’ll see I guess, right?”

“Don’t tell me you’re a skeptic.  I’ll tell you, it works better if you let it.  Let’s get started shall we?”

Mark scooted himself up on the table and took a deep breath.  The room seemed to shake ever so slightly as the doctor waddled around the room.  One leg of the examining table seemed to be slightly not the right length.  The heat radiating from the doctor’s body came closer, and Mark closed his eyes.

“Now just relax.”

A pair of fingers patted at his neck.  They seemed to be slightly greasy.  They rested under his jawline, around his lymph nodes or something.  They moved away and he could hear the sound of heavy breathing.  Opening a single eye, he looked to the side to see the doctor breathing onto a spoon shaped object.

It made contact with his skin.  It was slightly warm and not so slightly moist.  He began to tap it against Mark’s neck, rapidly but with delicacy.

“Isn’t that for eye exams?”  Mark inquired.

“Ah well, doctors aren’t afraid of multitasking.”

“That isn’t really what I’m talking-”

“Lift your arms up in the air.”  The doctor interrupted him.  “Higher.  Good, now hold your breath.”

Mark complied, and the doctor prodded the coarse hair under his arm with the base of his pen.

“How long has this been growing here?”

“Uh well, since I hit puberty.  Like 14 or 15 I guess.  There was the one time I shaved them for this girl; but that relationship didn’t last long.” Mark pondered.

“Did I say you could stop holding your breath?”  The doctor snapped at him. “It’s just that roots like those can signify other problems.”

“What kind of problems?”  Mark groaned, arms getting sore.

“Do you find yourself having to cut your fingernails and toenails more frequently than most people?”  The doctor said, ignoring him.

“I don’t know?  What’s normal?  Are you going to get to the pain in my back soon?  This is uncomfortable for me.”

The doctor let out a hmm sound, and scratched his beard more loudly than Mark though was possible.  The handle on the door clicked, and it swung open.

“Mark, I’m sorry but the doctor had to run out of the office for an emergency, we can reschedule you for tomorrow-”  The receptionist spoke.  “Wait, who is that?”

The doctor turned around, jumping away from Mark.  Turning his head, Mark watched as the man push past the receptionist.  He saw a flash of flip flops and heard their trademark flapping sound as he ran out the door.


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