His name is Khan, cosmopolitan Turk (international urologist of mystery!), and despite imperfect English hosts his own radio show, because everybody, sooner or later, has a question about sex or plumbing. The office is studded, if that is the word, with vased peace lilies, their prominent spadices all long and drooping, like phalluses with hurt feelings. A dog’s tail looking for two legs to hang between could not be more poignantly disappointed. When people say, ya gotta have a sense of humor, what they are really saying is, what choice do you have? Why make it harder on yourself? Or even, Stop whining, schmuck!
I forget the exact anatomical models and cross-sections, each emblazoned with some drug brand, displayed on the shelves of the consultation room, but the skin color on these groins and testicles is invariably a eerily homogeneous even brown, at once unreal and yet very politically neutral, and reminds me of certain blonde students I had at Iowa, who would walk into my afternoon lit class fresh, if that is the word, from the tanning salon. I remember taking one of the models apart, just to see if I could put it back together, and that was when the doctor walked in. He is the kind who grandly and affably addresses you as “young man,” perhaps because your kind is a rarity in his waiting room.
Perhaps this is a relic of his London education. Apparently he also picked up some French there, something I learned in the middle of a cytoscopy, when his Filipino nurse (was there no one in that office with a firm command of English?) decided to pipe up brightly with the information she’d gleaned from me in the sort of casual conversation that naturally occurs while pumping a large syringe of anesthetic gel up someone’s urethra. “The gentleman is a French translator,” were her exact words.
It was a smooth handoff. Dr. Khan grabbed the baton and kept running. “Ah oui? J’aime parler français. C’est une belle langue.” I seemed to be the only one riveted by the pink and dark recesses of my bladder on the small monitor as the inquisitive camera continued its ascent.
After that, it seemed the worse his French got, the more he insisted on using it to narrate the procedure, supplementing his vocabulary with a word or two of what sounded like Spanish whenever he seemed to be grasping about for the mot juste. He conducted the rest of the visit in French, in fact.