Wednesday 28 Sep 2016

The Annual Visit
Sjef Frenken

Jack was late. I had already sat down with my Greek salad at a small table in the food court. I was getting antsy; all the other tables had filled up. Some people were standing around with trays in their hands, looking for a place to sit down.

Finally he showed up. "I can't stay for lunch," he said. "I have to be somewhere at 12:30."

I said: "Sit down, Jack, and I can guarantee you that you'll still be somewhere at 12:30."

"Don't be stupid," was his reply.

I said: "What's so urgent, anyway? Where do you have to go?"

"To my doctor, for my annual physical. You know ..." and he held up his hand with index and middle fingers pointing up in a corkscrew motion.

"Ah," I said, "the old prostate probe! And I guess you just can't wait to get there?" I said, "When is the last time you actually got to see your doctor at the appointed hour?"

"Ok," said Jack, "I'll make time for a coffee. But first I have to fill this little contraption. I'll be back in a minute."

I chewed away at my salad, thinking about my own unpleasant visit to the doctor two weeks ago. And about all those people who claimed to have been abducted by UFO aliens, especially the men among them who'd been subjected time and time again to rectal probes. What is it with those aliens?

Jack came back with his little yellow container.

He said: "Some graffiti artist wrote this above the pissoir -- 'Don't leave your cigarette butts in the urinal. It makes them soggy and hard to light.'" Neither Jack nor I smoke, so we thought it was funny.

Jack said: "remember the old one: "'We aim to please; You aim too, please.'"

I said: "You know, Jack, at Amsterdam airport all the urinals have a picture of a fly near the centre. Apparently it improves the customers' aim."

"Talking about urinals," said Jack, "you know what pisses me off?"

I had to head him off at that particular pass.

I said: "Jack, I don't think we have time right now. You're going to be late for your appointment. We'll pick up on that subject next week." I raised my two fingers. "Have a great time". He didn't look any too happy, walking away.

Sjef Frenken is a renaissance man: thinker, writer, translator and composer of much music. A main interest, he has many, is setting to music the poetry, written for children, during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Nimble of mind, Sjef is a youthful retiree and a great-grandfather. Mostly he's a content man, which facilitates his relentless multi-media creativity.

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