International Assignment

He was very excited about the new job. Head of marketing for Asia Pacific and Global Duty Free. The wild west of the spirits business and destined to grow in importance.

He would soon find out that it wasn’t all that great a position for lots of reasons, not least of which was spending 2-3 weeks a month away from home. But the first reaction was total excitement.

First order of business – take the physical and get some shots.

So, off he goes to the medical office, a visit to Dr. Goldfinger and Nurse Crotchet. The Doc is pleasant enough (albeit enjoying the exam a bit too much) and he passes with flying colors.

Nurse Crotched is another story. Very competent, very capable but dour… we’re talking beyond focused — a combination of resolute and sour. On top of it, think of the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live. But, she was well intentioned.

“Okay,” she says to him, “You need shots before you can go to Asia.”

“What kind of shots?” he asks. He’s not afraid of needles but what the hell?

“Well, tetanus, malaria, a series of hepatitis, cholera, all sorts of disease preventatives.”

“Is this really necessary?” he asks.

“Yes, you never can tell what you’ll encounter…where you will be…what you’ll be eating.” Then with a little glee in her voice, “Besides, it’s company policy.”

Some time later, she finishes and he gets off the table and ready to leave.

“Just one more thing,” she says. “Here’s a Dopp Kit[*]. It contains items you may need while traveling.”

He looks inside and sees a bizarre assortment of stuff – a pack of analgesics, Band-Aids, iodine, Alka Seltzer and assorted travel related items. Things he already travels with.

But there at the bottom of the kit, is a condom. He can’t resist mentioning it.

He takes it out of the kit and holds it up. “What’s this for,” he asks.

The nurse turns crimson and says angrily, “You know full well what it’s for.”

“Yes,” he answers, “But why only one?”

She storms off. Good thing he got the shots first.


[*]First produced by Charles Doppelt, a leather goods designer who emigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the early 1900s. In World War II the U.S. Army issued them to recruits by the millions. Who says this blog is not educational?

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