The End of the World As We Know It

Back to the Future

“So you want to hear how your old Grandpa lost his leg do you? I know what you’re thinking and no, I didn’t lose it in the Burger Wars. You’ve seen my old uniform hanging in the closet but by the time I enlisted…oh..had to have been the Summer of 2057… the war was almost over and what was left of the McDonald’s forces were either surrendering in droves or holding out at isolated food courts in places like Duluth.”

“I’m sure you’ve seen the videos and learned all about it in school. I’m sometimes sorry I missed the action but I guess it was for the best. I’m not sure I had what it takes to kill a man, even if he was one of those bloodthirsty pan-frying monsters. (‘Happy Meal’ my ass.) I remember watching thousands of them being marched to the prisoner of war camps. But you know, other than their yellow and orange uniforms and their Iron Clown insignia they looked pretty much like our boys so maybe they really didn’t commit all of those atrocities.”

“Anyways, I spent my enlistment in the Burger King Reserves guarding a couple of Arby’s and a Wendy’s off of Exit 54. In fact, I never even fired my weapon except for a couple of potshots at a burning Golden Arches in front of a McDonald’s down the road that had taken a direct hit from a lard-seeking cluster bomb.”

“My leg? Oh. Well, one day…must have been twenty years ago…I started having chest pain and figured I needed a doctor…”

“What’s a doctor, you ask? Well, I guess you kids have never heard of doctors. I suppose they don’t mention them much in the history holograms either. Let’s see…Well…Once upon a time if you got sick or injured you went to see a person called a ‘doctor’ who supposedly knew a lot about diseases and how to cure them. These guys went to school for years and years learning a bunch of essentially useless knowledge and then spent the rest of their lives rubbing it in our faces. Not to mention raking in obscene amounts of money. They were replaced by something called a Physician Assistant around thirty years ago.”

“I see some of you remember Physician Assistants or have at least heard your parents talking about them. They’re pretty much gone now, too. Same with Nurse Practitioners. If we weren’t going to let somebody with ten years of medical education strut around there was no way we were going to allow some wanker with only two years to get all big-headed either.”

“My leg? I’m getting to it. Patience.”

“So anyways I started having chest pain and since I wasn’t sure if it was my heart or reflux I thought I’d get it checked out at Cath-in-the-Box.”

“Never go through the hover-through. They fuck you in the the hover-through. If I could do it over again I would have gone in but I was in a hurry. I’m pretty sure they got my order right. It’s pretty hard to yell symptoms into that stupid clown microphone and the questions they asked me were kind of garbled but I figured, hey, it’s a just a heart cath. Their sign says ‘One Billion Stented.’ They do them all the time. It’s not rocket science after all. Just squirting some dye into an artery and inflating a balloon. A monkey could do it.”

“So I get to the window and pay (I think it was 50 bucks which was a lot back then), turn on the radio, stick my leg into the slot and figure I’ll be out of there in five minutes. The pimply-faced kid who took my symptoms is running around putting in arterial sheaths which is not very difficult to do and why they have minimum wage high-school kids doing it. I could tell he was having a little trouble and his “trainee” badge should have tipped me off because by the time he got to me…well…let’s just say his sterile technique left a little to be desired. At least the assistant manager did the actual procedure. He was probably pretty good at it because, as you know, Cath-in-the-Box sends all of their managers to PCI-U for an extensive six-week training course. He maneuvered the C-arm into my car and six minutes later I had a stent in the ‘big artery thing that, like, runs down the front of the heart.’ I felt pretty good and my chest pain was gone so I figured that the a little bit of melted plastic on the dash was a small price to pay. The little “dosimeter” toy that came with the PCI-combo said that my radiation dose was within normal limits and the complementary EKG thingy showed the usual incomprehensible squiggly lines which the assistant manager believed were normal but wasn’t really sure.”

“A couple of days later I notice that my groin was all red and puffy and, to be perfectly honest, I felt like crap. They always stiff you on on the antibiotics at Cath-in-the-Box so I figured I’d get some from the corner Jiffy-mart. A pharmacy, you say? I see we’ve got a budding historian here. Of course I didn’t go to a pharmacy. Even back then they were all gone. As if I needed some over-educated pharmacist with his pricey doctorate-level education and thousands of useless and expensive facts giving me high priced pills with fancy Latin names. No thank you! The last Pharmacist died of old age at Suburbia Village a couple of years ago. (You know, it’s that replica of a small town from the early 2000’s where people dress in period costumes and work at authentic jobs from the turn of the century. Remember how we took you kids there a few Ramadans ago and Jimmy got sick on Slurpees?)”

“So they have a couple of good antibiotics there. I picked Panabx because it has a good blend of antibiotics and I don’t think I’m allergic to any any of them. I like their jingle, too:”

“Panabx, Panabx,
Drip, fever, sepsis got you in a fix?
Need somethin’ that’ll do the trix?
Then you need Panabx!”

“And then they had all of the good-looking topless girls running through the woods. Come on, I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial on the holoscreen. It’s the one set to the tune of that really cool, old Kevin Federline song.”

“Anyways, my leg kept getting redder and redder and I started having alternating chills and fevers. ‘Oh great,’ I said to myself, ‘you’re septic again, just like after your self-service splenectomy over at Organs n’ Things.’ I tried a few more brands of antibiotics but I’m pretty loyal to Panabx so I thought if one dose wouldn’t do the trick, I’d try eight. Your Uncle Scott who’s a professor over at Marshal Mathers University (or M and M) suggested that I might need to get it amputated but he’s a rich frickin’ psychologist. What did he know?”

“Turns out he was right. I staggered over to Home Depot and I’m afraid I might have been a little incoherent from the fever because their little orange aprons looked like the MacDonald’s uniforms and I might have tried to eviscerate a couple of the associates with a cordless laser saw. After they tackled me to the ground and duct-taped my arms to my sides, I sat through a health-improvement seminar taught by a really nice guy named Chip. I bought the Black and Decker Limbzall and your grandma and Uncle Scott held me down while the take-out anesthesia took effect. When I recovered my leg was gone and everybody looked at me like, ‘Dude, you were so acting like a retard.'”

“I wrote a nice letter to Cath-in-the-Box and they refunded my money which was nice of them.”

“Would a doctor have done a better job? Maybe a little better but it’s not worth all of the questions, testing and general screwing around that they used to do to get your money. What my past medical history or whether I smoke has to do with anything is beyond me. They never waste your time with that kind of thing at Cath-in-the-Box or Bile, Bowel, and Beyond which is why medical care is so cheap, quick, and affordable nowadays. If I have another heart attack I’ll probably just get a quick thrombolytic out of the vending machine. They have a whole bunch of them down at the Stroke-o-mat. It’s pretty safe if you just read the friggin’ instructions on the front of the machine.”

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