Patient from Helsinki

Stalin comes in my office with a hangnail. Right off the bat there’s confusion over his medical chart on account of his new name. We get that straightened out, but his damn flowergirls out in the waiting room won’t stop crying. Thank God for those old lollipops in the bottom drawer. No sooner do they shut up than the next thing you know my nurse is telling me he’s insisting the thermometer should go in his armpit. I give in and let him have his way with the mercury. I had to really bite my tongue because he was starting to get to me–you know, a really controlling guy? What I wanted to say was, “Hey Joe, that may be how they do it in Siberia, but this is the Ocean State!” But I had the good sense to keep it to myself. Instead I tell him the joke about the Red Army doing tonsillectomies through the rectum because everybody keeps their mouth shut over there. Now a regular joe would think that was a hoot! In fact it’s one of my top icebreakers. Well this goes over like a lead balloon with Mr. Big! The thermometer falls right out of his armpit! Boy was he hot. My nurse notices it too, and said we should concentrate on his hangnail. He said it had been bothering him since Yalta. So I patch it up in no time, along with a few paper cuts, and send him on his way. He calms right down and said he felt like a new man. The flowergirls were on the phone seeking asylum, but one look from Uncle Joe and they hightailed it out of there. I waved and said, “Next!”.

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