Paris Portingale

I Think I Might Have Leprosy, or Maybe Cancer

Paris Portingale shares about his recent trips to the doctors and how he might possibly have leprosy or cancer, or both.


I saw a new doctor a few weeks ago, Dr. Westerly. I was under a ban by my normal doctor, Dr. Watson, and Dr. Westerly was next in the phone book.

Anyway, I told Dr. Westerly that I thought I had leprosy.

He said, “What makes you think that?”

I said, “I’ve been begging on the street with a sign around my neck that says, ‘Leprosy’.”

“Interesting, I don’t suppose you’ve ever thought of joining a leper colony?”

“Yes, it did occur to me.”

“Well that clinches it. You’ve got leprosy alright.”

“Is there anything I can do about it?”

“Hmm, Jesus could cure leprosy.”

“How does that help me?”

“It doesn’t, I’m just saying.”




I was in the local fruit and vegetable shop later and I said to the woman there, “I had a funny visit with my doctor last week,” and I told her the story.

She said, “That wasn’t funny, my uncle has leprosy.”

I said, “How does he know?”

She said, “He’s been begging on the street with a sign around his neck saying, ‘Leprosy’.”

I said, “That’s leprosy alright.”

She said, “I know.”

I bought a bag of apples and left.




So, I was thinking about cancer recently. My ban with Dr. Watson had been lifted by the AMA as apparently it contravened medicine’s Hippocratic Oath, so I thought I’d pay him a visit. It went like this.

I said, “Doctor Watson.”

He said, “Mr. Portingale.”

“How are you, Doctor?”

“Fine. Now, what exactly can I do for you Mr. Portingale?” There was an edge to his voice.

“I just want to ask you something. It’s a medical question.”

“Which is?”

“Doctor, if you eat a piece of cancer, will you get cancer?”

He looked at me for a second, sighed, and plunged on, “Why do you ask?”

“I think I’ve eaten a piece of cancer.”

“Where would you get a piece of cancer, Mr. Portingale?”

“From a hamburger. I just had a hamburger and I think there was some cancer in the meat. A bit of it looked funny, I’m pretty sure it was cancer.”

“You can’t get cancer from eating cancer, it doesn’t work like that.”

“Are you sure? How do you know?”

“Well, it’s hard to explain … cancer cells occur when a healthy cell divides, it’s …”

“Yes, but are you sure that eating cancer won’t give you cancer?”

Doctor Watson stared at the floor for a moment, then looked up with a smile of relief. “Was the meat cooked?”

“Yes, it was cooked.”

“Well, there you are! You’re quite safe.”

“You mean if you eat cooked cancer you won’t get cancer?”

“Exactly! It can’t happen.”

“But what if it wasn’t cooked properly, if the cancer wasn’t cooked all the way through?”

Doctor Watson threw his biro onto his desk and it bounced and spun onto the floor to disappear under a bureau on the other side of the room.

“Mr. Portingale, I had to tell a woman this morning she only has three months to live. I have patients with genuine problems.”

“Cancer was it?”

“Yes, Mr. Portingale, cancer.”

“From eating cancer?” I knew I was pushing my luck with that, but I was determined to plug on till the very end with this.

“No, not from eating cancer.”

He was starting to turn red.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.” He scribbled something in my file and then closed it, got up, and went towards the door.

I said, “Can you point me to any research done in this area—eating cancer?”

“Perhaps try Google,” he said.

I got up and he looked relieved again.

“Thank you, Doctor,” I said, and I shook his hand. “If I find anything interesting I’ll pass it on.”

I was out the door now and Doctor Watson was getting the next patient’s file from his receptionist. The visit cost me fifty dollars, but it was worth it because it ratcheted my relationship with Doctor Watson up another cog turn, which was good.


Paris Portingale

Paris Portingale is a writer and dog owner. While having a somewhat indifferent attitude towards abstemious self-restraint, he does follow the safe guidelines of four standard drinks a day, although his standards are a great deal higher than most, certainly the medical profession’s. Paris is visited often in the night by God, and the meetings are anything but pleasant.

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