Events transpired that made it imperative for me get tested for every STD on the goddamn planet. I quickly made an appointment with the doctor provided to me through my HMO. When I arrived, I waited for over 90 minutes after my scheduled appointment time to see the doctor. He measured my height and weight and then asked me why I’d come to see him. I explained the scenario. He eyed me curiously and asked, “Do you see any sores or feel any pain?” I explained to him that I didn’t see anything or feel anything different – and that was good enough for him. “There is a saying,” he explained. “Don’t create a headache over not having any headache.” He nodded at me, knowingly. “I know nothing seems off, but better safe than sorry, right? Let’s do the testing.” “What are you worried about? You’re in the pink of health. Your chart looks good, you feel good – so why give yourself the headache?” It was not giving myself a headache that I was concerned about; it was that I had been given something far less innocuous. I left his office, discouraged.

A few weeks, phone calls, and Aetna representatives later, I found myself in another HMO doctor’s office with a similar burning desire (note: not a burning sensation, but a burning desire) to find out just how damaged my goods were. Amazingly, it was more of the same. I waited for over an hour, had my weight and height measured (apparently my previous doctor hadn’t faxed over the results), and then I was told that it was best for me to not get tested unless I visibly noticed or felt something wrong. I left the office, discouraged yet again. On my drive back to work, I decided that it was time to approach things differently. I had heard that Planned Parenthood offered STD testing services for men as well as women. I made my appointment online. I showed up and was presented with paperwork. The receptionist told me that if I qualified for a state program that all services rendered would be free, but if not, I would have to pay based on my income. Now, what would you have done? I was already out $30 in copayments and fifty cell phone minutes with various Aetna representatives. I had missed two separate mornings of work and my boss was growing weary. And for God’s sake, we’re in a recession, are we not?

And so, I lied and said I made a ridiculously low wage. It was so low that the receptionist called me back to her desk after I turned in my paperwork, just to make sure I saw it said “Monthly Wages” and not “Weekly Wages.” I committed perjury – perjury! – so that I could just get some fucking treatment without having to cough up more dough. And you know what? It feels good. Though my vengeance might be misplaced, at least I feel like, for once, I fucked over the system instead of getting fucked by it. And best part of all, I did it without getting any STDs.


Alex D. Reid, Zero, LIVING THE DREAM

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