Life does not cease to be funny when it is serious any more than it ceases to be serious when it is funny. – Oscar Wilde
I’m not a doctor, but I’d like to play one on TV. So I got an expensive blowout, threw on a lab coat and hopped the Metro to Hospitalitat Generalitat, where I began walking up and down the corridors at a smart clip. “My own expertise suggests Borderline Personality Disorder,” I informed an X-ray technician. “Could we be looking at … alopecia?” I whispered to a cardiologist.
“Who am I?” I stammered. “Why … I am Doctor Doug Ross!”
“Ross doesn’t do rounds anymore,” she sneered. “He makes our Nespresso.”
“And admires our toilets,” added an orderly.
I ducked into a patient’s room and hid behind the door. Cesc Fabregas lay in the bed, his head bandaged like a clumsy mummy. Carles Puyol leaned over him, making the “V” sign with his fingers and taking pictures with his cell phone.
“I always wanted to be like you guys, you know?” Cesc was mumbling. “It’s so great, dudes … bein’ on the same team as you, and wearin’ the same kit as you, and even gettin’ an owie in my head like you …”
“Shhh,” said Piqué, patting him on the shoulder. “Try not to talk.” He used his free arm to edge Shakira behind him and out of Cesc’s line of blurry vision.
I spun into the hallway and landed like a Mascherano tackle onto the lap of … Pedro Rodríguez! We sped down the linoleum, Pedro’s arms flailing as he pushed the wheel-rims of his rickety chair at an Olympic pace.
“Busi, capuuuullllloooo …” he swore, as Sergio Busquets rammed his wheelchair into ours. Busi snorted and spun his stuck-out leg into David Villa, who went flying. Screws rolled along the floor and under parked gurneys. Villa and Busi shouted something about working mothers and scrambled for the hardware.
“Awesome!” replied Villa. “Get Puyi to take a pic for my Facebook page!”
Fearing for my safety, I leapt into a supply closet. There were Alexis Sánchez and Isaac Cuenca, rifling through lab tubes and plastic pots. “Are you sure about this, man?” Alexis said. “I mean, Alberto just got really busted for–“
Cuenca grabbed him by the collar and Alexis turned grey. “You can’t leave me out there alone, man! I need another winger! Look, here’s morphine … and codeine … and Copadelredrine … ”
“O.K., man,” Alexis rubbed his shoulder. “Just mix them all the hell up and shoot it into me already. Besides, you’re not alone. You’ve got Leo. Hey, where is Leo, anyway?”
“He’s at the Camp Nou,” Cuenca said, snapping the syringe. “Match day.”
“Right, right,” said Alexis, hissing as the needle went in.
I don’t believe in other people doing drugs, so I stared down at my clipboard and backed out until I reached the exam room. There were chairs, and I sat down. When I looked up, I saw Andrés Iniesta hop up on the table in a gown with bunnies on it. Pep Guardiola stood next to him, frowning.
“Is it serious again, Doc?” he asked.
“Well, let’s have a little look, shall we?” said the doctor. “That’s a good fellow.”
Andrés whispered something to Guardiola, who sighed. “Does he get a sticker afterwards?” he grumbled.
“Sure,” said the doctor. He took a small, rubber reflex hammer and tapped Andrés’ knee. Andrés sucked in his breath through gritted teeth as his stocking foot wiggled about. I buried my face in my hands, too panicked to watch.
“Geeeezus!” I heard Guardiola shriek. “Can you be a little more *&$#@ careful, for God’s sake?”
Just when I thought I couldn’t take another ounce of suffering, the door burst open and a nurse popped her bobbed head in. “Doctor, it’s time!” she called.
“Ah! Right then,” the doctor said, draping his stethoscope about his neck.
“Time for what?” demanded Guardiola.
“Oh, yes,” the doctor nodded, heading towards the door. “Labor reforms, you know. New government and all that. Now I’m supposed to give up my puente? How am I going to get from El Carmen to Baqueira-Beret in three days?”
Guardiola was livid. He grabbed his bald head with both hands and leaned so far backwards I kicked a gurney over to catch his fall. “Well, what in the g. d. hell am I supposed to do? I’ve got an entire team in the ward with La Liga on the line and you pinko commie sons of are going on strike?”
“Oh, for goodness’ sake, Josep, we’ll be back in ten minutes,” the doctor rolled his eyes. “The general strike’s not ’til Monday.”
Guardiola sighed. Andrés leaned on Pep’s shoulder. I got up and offered Andrés a sticker.
Then I thought I’d hop the Metro and catch Messi at the Camp Nou.