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Dom Joly: Total pants

PUBLISHED: 15:44 22 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:07 22 January 2016

" I believe that we are the butt of a huge joke among the medical community"


Something is going on in the medical profession, and I have my own theories…

I’ve never really had a proper job. Actually, I lie. I was ‘something in the City’ once, when I was about 24, for six months or so, but I never understood what it actually was. I was also unbelievably, a diplomat in Prague for a year in the early 90s, but only as an intern (albeit with full diplomatic immunity and the only convertible in Czechoslovakia, as it then was).

But I’ve never had what my parents would consider to be a proper job - you know the sort of thing – doctor, lawyer, architect, Dragon on Dragon’s Den.

Consequently, much as I adore the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants nature of my existence I have always been a little jealous of the ‘professions’. Sure, they are boring and predictable but conversely they are also steady and reliable. When the demand for me dressing as a squirrel and writing about my pig disappears, the world will always need Dragons, lawyers, architects and… doctors.

Yes it’s the medical community that I’m angry with, this month. They are respected members of the community, doing good work to help others and yet, I have this feeling that they are taking the mickey. Allow me to explain. I believe that we are the butt of a huge joke among the medical community. The joke, such as I can understand it, is this – how many people a day can you convince to strip down to your underwear for no reason whatsoever?

I can’t remember when it first started. There was the time that I popped into see my GP about an earache. “Just pop all your clothes on the chair and let’s have a look shall we?” he said, looking away quickly.

I reiterated that my ailment involved my ear and that they were already fully unclothed. I didn’t know what to do. I was not a medical man. I was a comedian. So I stripped down to my pants and T-shirt… but this wasn’t good enough.

“Just slip the T-shirt off please…” And then I’d be standing in the GP’s office in my pants, feeling vulnerable and confused as he peered into my ear with a magnifiying torch thing…

Then I went to see another doctor about a problem I was having with my foot.

I’d broken my metatarsal while competing on Total Wipeout in Argentina. “Just slip your clothes off and hop onto the bed here please…” whispered the foot doctor in a calm manner. I stared at him hoping to catch a hint of a smile or a repressed giggle. There was nothing and once again I was soon in my pants allowing a man to grope my foot while I sucked my tummy in.

Maybe I just haven’t understood some basic medical necessity for nudity? It’s like when I very occasionally go for a massage and the masseuse hands you a little package, tells you to get ready and leaves the room. You then have a desperate dash to get your clothes off and try to work out how to put on the tiny paper pants in the least embarrassing fashion before she returns. God help us if doctors get this idea.

Here is my theory. Medical schools are renowned for high jinks – amputated limbs in beds, skeletons stolen for rugby tours etc. Then they become proper doctors and their world is suddenly full of hypochondriacs and minor sniffles. It makes sense that one day one of them suggested to another that they have a little wager?

I can imagine the high-fiving in the pub as the winning doctor recounted how he’d ‘bagged’ his 20th of the day just before closing time.

How they laughed and howled. And soon news of this competition spread through the medical community and suddenly everybody was at it with secret leagues popping up on the Dark Web.

I had to pop in to see one the other day for a pig-bite on my thumbnail (Wilbur had broken into the dog food room and was not best pleased to be asked to leave). I extended my black thumb for examination. He just looked at me and said, “Pop all your clothes off and we’ll have a little shufti…” Something is going on, I tell you. Am I alone in this?

Follow Dom on Twitter: @domjoly


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