Mr. Punster's wit strong as old concrete; he just cracked himself up

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Nov 01, 2006



Will Dawdle was a great veterinarian in the 1970s. In fact, he still is.

However, Will never quite found high gear. In all the years that I worked with him, he never seemed to finish his work on time. Such was the case one evening in 1973, when he asked me for a favor.

"Mike, could you see my last office call for me?" he asked. "I'm running behind, and it's almost closing time already. Besides, you'll like the guy. He's been a client for years. It's just some little lump to check on the dog. You'll be out of there in no time."

I entered the exam room and met Mr. Punster with his dog, Scooter. "Scooter's been rubbing her back end on the floor, Doc," he said. "I know it can't be a terminal illness. Scooter has never even been to the airport."

He then proceeded to laugh like a hyena at his own joke. Unfortunately, he had more. "I guess we can't do a CAT scan, Doc. Scooter's a dog."

At this point, his face was turning red, and his eyes began to water. I had never seen a client laugh so hard except, of course, for those cases where a beloved pet tried to bite me.

Since the pooch had a history of stomach trouble, I asked if there were any G.I. symptoms.

"G.I. symptoms? Heck no, Doc," he said. "Scooter wasn't even in the army. However, now that you mention it, she may have some colic in her. I never was sure who her father was, but the neighbor down the street has a colic named Laddie.

Anyway, the last time she was sick, Dr. Dawdle was going to take X-rays and use barium. I said, "We can't barium, doctor; he ain't dead yet."

The laugh fest continued. Closing time came and went. Through the window, I saw Will Dawdle's car leaving the parking lot. I started dreaming of ways to get even.

As the exam continued, I pointed out a small tumor near the dog's rectum. "I node it; I node it," he said. "But, I only see one lump. How come you said there's tumor?"

I explained that surgery so near the rectum could be a problem due to the local blood supply. This caused the volcano of corn to erupt again.

"First of all, don't worry about that artery," he said. "Scooter doesn't know a thing about paintings. Furthermore, she's a humble dog. There's nothing vein about her. I am worried about the location though. My friend's dog had a lump there, and it was serious. It rectum all right. In fact, it dang near killed him."

The conversation, if you can call it that, continued. Mr. Punster had a comment for everything I said, and each of those lame puns was followed by one of his time-consuming fits of laughter.

"Did you see the look Scooter gave you when you talked about controlling the bleeding? You really cauterize when you said that. And I don't know how you are going to clean out that rectum. She has lots of friends, but she's never had an enema."

Eventually, I was able to schedule the surgery for a day later in the week, and within minutes, was hustling Mr. Punster out the door. Unfortunately, he had a parting shot that he managed to yell in my direction as he headed for the car.

"I haven't worried about a post-operative recovery this much since my mailman had surgery," he shouted.

"The next morning, Dr. Dawdle gave me quite a smirk. "How did you like Mr. Punster?" he asked.

I was compelled to tell him that the visit made me feel a great deal like an elevator. "Really?" he asked. "Is that because a visit with Mr. Punster has its ups and downs?"

"Not at all," I responded. "It's because I got the shaft."