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"A Perfect Punch Line"

By Dr. La Foo

As hospital clowns, our best partners are quick-witted patients, family, and staff who are ready and willing to play. One day, two of us peered through the glass of a room on the Hematology/Oncology unit. A bored sixteen year old boy lying on his bed watching TV. He looked up, surprised and curious at this sudden interruption by two middle-aged female clowns, wearing rainbow colors and white coats. His face read 'bemused;' his body language 'willing participant in clown subversion." That was our cue.

"Hi! We're your new doctors," we announced, opening the door. "Hi, I'm Chad," he laughed.

I noticed the cargo pants he was wearing had draw string elastic at the ankles. His diagnosis did not involve any problem with lower extremities. "It's time for your physical therapy," I said, grabbing the elastic and 'stretching' his leg. He was game. My partner grabbed the other string and we swung his legs up and down, around and in various ludicrous positions.

"I feel much better," our patient said.

"Now just in case your legs get restless, we'll tie them together," I advised, tying the two elastic strings in a bow at his ankles. He readily accepted this. "Now we'll have to cuff you," said my partner, taking out a purple blood pressure cuff and wrapping it around his wrists. "In case your arms get restless, too."

The three of us began to wonder just where this routine was going, when my partner took the lead.

"Dr. La Foo is now going to do her sexy dance, which we do only for seventeen year olds, but for you, we'll make an exception because you're such a good patient. She's a little shy about the ending when she turns around and lifts her skirt. It's X-rated so we are going to have to blind-fold you for that."

"That's okay," Chad said. "You can just blindfold me for the whole thing." "Well, all right," the clown doctor said. "But you don't know what you're missing. We'll tie one juggling scarf around your eyes." She held up two fingers. "How many fingers?" "Two," said Chad. We added another scarf. "How many now?" "Still two." We added the third scarf. "Can't see a thing," he lied.

I did a parody of a hula dance, as my partner played the ukulele. I pumped my eyebrows and wiggled my hips, beginning slowly in mock beguilement. As the bit developed, the music got faster and faster, causing me to lose control, desperate to stop my hips from shimmying. This got a big laugh from our fellow improviser, who was supposed to be pretending not to see any of it. Just as I turned around to lift my skirt and petticoats, revealing bright yellow bloomers with a big red heart on the rear, Chad's real doctor stuck his head in the door. Without missing a beat, he said:

"Oh, Chad, uh, I just came by to check on you, but - I see you're all tied up. I'll be back later."

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