Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

The EKG and me

March 14, 2014

I’m itchy. It all started with a routine medical exam. I was scheduled for an EKG. If you don’t know by now, an EKG stands for electrocardiogram, which makes no sense at all. First of all, it should be just E. Electrocardiogram is all one word. They hit the syllables and not just the first letter. By that logic, the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be abbreviated as FDRL-BR-O-IVTGT, not simply FBI. P.S. There’s no K in electrocardiogram. That’s just confusing.

But I digress, like I do. I scheduled my doctor’s appointment for 8 a.m. I like to be the first in and the first out. Though you do risk getting a doctor before his first cup of coffee, you get in there before things get backed up. In the office, not in the doctor, but I guess both apply.

I got there at 7:40 a.m. I was the only one in the waiting room. I reached for a magazine. It was “Archaeology.” I read about the Roman viaducts unearthed under a temple somewhere. I couldn’t understand the whole thing. The television in the waiting room was blaring. I kept reading the same paragraph over and over. I was just glad Al Roker wasn’t talking about bodily functions gone awry.

Quick question: Are we incapable as a species of sitting quietly anymore? Go to the doctor’s office, the car dealership or the barber shop, and there’s a noisy flat-screen booming in your ear. It’s pretty annoying for those of us who want to read about the underbelly of ancient societies (a subject I was unaware I was even interested in prior to this appointment). Another distinct advantage of going early is that you get “The Today Show,” which has some actual news content, instead of “The View” or one of those 8,000 judge shows. I despise the judge shows.

I was called back to the exam room, and told to remove my shirt. I have a very hairy chest. I have been mistaken for Sasquatch on more than one occasion.

The nurse had to shave parts of my chest to attach the nodes of the EKG. She kept shaving and shaving until I had patches of hair and bald spots all over my torso. It looked like aliens landed on me; I had crop circles. The next morning, I had to shave away vast sections of hair from my upper body. I wanted to be symmetrical.

There’s something really emasculating about having a smooth chest. I haven’t had a hairless chest since the ninth grade. I feel very strange. I know it’s ridiculous, but I’m really glad it’s not pool weather just yet. I don’t know if I could walk around anywhere bare-chested with an actual bare chest. It would be weird and wrong.

Today, my chest has stubble. I have 5 o’clock shadow on my belly. Did I mention I’m itchy? The hairs are literally and figuratively itching to get back out there where they belong.

I should probably mention that I passed the EKG with flying colors. There’s nothing wrong with my chest on the inside but, for the moment, I’m more worried about the outside. Luckily, the moment will pass and gratitude will finally sink back in. I’m alive and healthy. All things considered, I guess I can handle itchy.



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