Aitken, Terence

At the time when this event occurred in our rural city, we had just one ophthalmologist - a rather opinionated fellow with fixed views, for whom things were fairly black and white - a fine chap nonetheless, a great raconteur who also enjoyed a good story. April 1 was approaching and another FP colleague hereafter R and I thought that we would play a little trick on him (hereafter J).

The eye specialist in question owned a fairly recent model Volvo, his pride and joy. R and I decided to move his car a few houses up the street and replace it with R's ancient Saab. We needed the co-operation of J's wife who agreed to help. Around 10pm on March 31 she phoned me and whispered conspiratorially that she had moved the Volvo. This was the signal for me to call R to drive his car round to park it in the place left vacant by the Volvo. I drove over and waited to give him a ride home after the deed was done. R lived 2 or 3 blocks away, and soon the quietness of the night was shattered by the rowdy approach of his mufflerless vehicle. He cut the engine at the top of the cul de sac, then coasted it down to the space left by the Volvo.

The morning of April 1 was unexpectedly icy. J went outside to get the paper.

“O-----, O-----“, he exclaimed to his wife as he came back inside. "Someone's taken my car and left an old car in it's place. You'd better call the police!"

O seemed reluctant to do so, and shortly afterwards J went outside again, and spied his vehicle parked several houses up the street.

In the meantime, I had arranged for the wife of the family physician across the road from J, to call and ask J if he would be so kind as to give her husband a ride to Grand Rounds that morning. J responded that he had not planned to go to Grand Rounds, but then relented and gruffly agreed to take his colleague. He then trudged up the street and spent 10 minutes scraping ice off his Volvo, all the while being ribbed by some fellow Irish friends in whose driveway his car had been parked. This did not improve his humour. After he got his car started, he drove back down the cul de sac to pick up his FP colleague for Grand Rounds, but the wife of the FP greeted him at the door, and blithely announced that her husband was not going to Grand Rounds, it was just an April Fool's Day joke.

J by this time was furious, and seemed to want to avoid eye contact with me, the presumed author of his misfortune, at Grand Rounds that morning.

It was only by that afternoon that he had calmed down sufficiently to visit my office (which was in the same building as his) and expostulated with some vehemence.

"If I had slipped on the ice, I would have sued you!"

After that, we remained good friends and enjoyed exchanging stories of many hilarious medical encounters over afternoon tea in his office, after his secretary had called mine with the prearranged signal "Mrs. Brown is ready!"

Theme: Physicians | Médecins

Stories in Family Medicine | Récits en médecine familiale [Internet] Mississauga ON: College of Family Physicians of Canada. 2008 --.




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