I was in a slump. My blogging was going nowhere. Instead of blazing blogs, hot blogs, bodacious blogs, I had bland blogs, blah blogs or, on the worst days of all, no blogs. Zilch. Nada. Zip. I had doggy, soggy blogs. I needed … something. What to do? I did the only thing I could think of: I went to see my sawbones, Dr. Marx.
He was running late, as always. Fortunately, his lovely assistant kept me occupied, checking my pulse, my blood pressure, my temperature, the balance in my bank account. All standard procedure. She managed to elevate my pulse and raise my blood pressure, but she had the opposite effect on the ol’ bank balance. It’s cash in advance at Dr. Marx’s place, but at least you can get an appointment. Finally, he breezed in, wearing the same grubby white coat as always.
“Well, well, my lad, what’s troubling you? Or if there’s nothing troubling you, maybe you’d like to hear about what’s troubling me. I’ve got the time, since you’ve already paid. You DID pay, didn’t you?”
“Yes, Doctor, your lovely assistant took care of everything.”
“She did, did she? Everything?” He shot me a suspicious glance. “That’s a first. If this keeps up, I may have to start paying her. She check your pulse?”
“What was it?”
“I can’t say.”
“You can’t say?
“No, I can’t say.”
“Oh, you can’t say! Or, you WON’T say? I hope you know that withholding information from your doctor is a serious breach of trust. What was your pulse when you last saw it and what direction was it heading? Did it have any distinguishing marks?
“She didn’t tell me.”
“And you didn’t think to ask?”
“No, I, uh figured she’d tell you.”
“Oh, you assumed she’d tell me, eh? Then she’d probably assume I’d pay her, too. Well, that’s rich. What about your temperature?”
“What about it?”
“Don’t crack wise with me, mister, I didn’t go through six weeks of medical school to get into some vaudeville routine with you. Did she tell you if you have a temperature?”
“Well, let’s assume you have one. Do you feel particularly hot?”
“Well, you don’t look so hot, either. I don’t suppose you know anything about your blood pressure, either?”
“It’s in my left arm, is all I know.”
“So she just checked the one arm?”
“Well, don’t expect a discount just because we didn’t perform the full bilateral sphygmomanomination. It’s still ten bucks, cash.”
“I said, ‘check’ as in ‘ok’.”
“This is getting us nowhere. Okay, you look to me like you’re breathing, and you can certainly speak, even if you’re not making any sense. Is there some reason you’re here, or were you just lonely? If so, there may be a surcharge.”
“What’s the surcharge?”
“A lot. Those knighthoods don’t come cheap. So, what’s your problem? And make it snappy. There are three very sick people I have to see on the first tee at the country club .”
I laid it on him, “I’ve got blog block.”
The doctor stared blankly at me, shook his head, and said, “Funny I thought I heard you say something like, ‘blog block’.”
“Right. Blog block.”
“Well, that’s a relief. I can do this all day. You make up things that I’ve never heard of and I’ll make up a treatment that doesn’t exist, and I’ll be out of here in time to treat some other sick people at the driving range.”
“No, I mean, I’m getting nowhere with my blog. I don’t have any new ideas, my writing sounds the same, day after day, and it’s all just boring.”
“”Well, I’ve read your blog and I thought that was the effect you were going for.”
“Oh, very funny.”
“Really, I thought it was a fantastic achievement. No one’s been that boring since Reagan. Or maybe it was Eisenhower. I always get ’em confused. You mean that wasn’t intentional? Say, don’t you think you’d be better off consulting with some of your old writing teachers instead of a doctor?”
“They have real doctorate degrees, and they charge a lot more than you do.”
“Yeah? Where did they get their degrees?”
“Oh, you know, the usual places: Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Penn.”
“You’ve got to be kidding. None of those places have a football team that even shows up on ESPNU. My six weeks at Notre Dame have them beat hands-down.”
“Notre Dame doesn’t even have a school of medicine!”
“Yeah, well they’ve been in business for a hundred sixty years handing out degrees for football, and they’re on national TV nearly every Saturday. I never see those Yalies on TV.
“I don’t know what it is, Doc, I just feel sort of funny.”
“Well, you look funny. But you certainly haven’t said anything particularly funny yet. I’m doing all the work here. Say, why don’t you write about dogs and cats? Everyone loves dogs and cats.”
“There’s already seven million blogs about dogs and cats. Besides, I don’t know anything about dogs.”
“I don’t know, every time I read your blog I felt like lying on the floor and panting. Well, if you don’t want my advice, why did you come here? Okay, why not write about food? Almost everyone likes food.”
“I have written about it. Every time I write about food, it ends up being a chili recipe.”
“That doesn’t seem so bad. A hundred generations of ancient Americans ate chili. Why should you be different? You’re pretty ancient, yourself.”
“You’re not being very sympathetic.”
“Excuse me,” he said and suddenly dashed out into the hallway, then quickly came back. “I just looked at the sign on the door and it still says ‘examination room.’ I was afraid I’d been moved to the counseling department. I’d’ve needed another week to get my psychiatric degree, but they said I was already mental enough.
“Okay, what about horse racing? You know something about horse racing, don’t you? I figure you have to, since you’re always nagging your readers.”
“I don’t know about that, but I am getting an idea!”
“Good, now we’re making progress. What’s your idea?”
“I’m thinking about a bird blog, because I’m already hearing a quack.”
“Very funny. Then you could write about chickens, too. That’ll help you beat that cooped-up feeling. Hang on a minute while I check something.”
Here the doc went to a bookshelf, pulled out a thick volume and began leafing through it, “Let’s see … ‘blocked arteries,’ no, ‘blocked intestine,’ nope, ‘blocking and tackling,’ oops, that’s an old study guide from med school, ah! Here we go. ‘Blog Block!”
“What’s it say, Doc?”
“Sez, ‘Usually occurs when writers are lazy, incompetent or undereducated. Make suggestion they give up serious subjects and write comedy sketches. Hmm…. So, as your doctor, I advise you to write comedy sketches. That ought to keep you busy.”
And the doctor slammed the book shut and dashed from the room saying, “Nurse, nurse, get me my stethoscope and my four-iron. I’ve got a critical case waiting!”
I went home, thinking about ducks. Why a duck?
© 2013 Brad Nixon