drawing blood


I went to the phlebotomist this morning for my quarterly bloodletting. I was already cranky for not having gotten much sleep last night. And I was, of course, also hungry for being deprived of food until after the leeching.

LabCorp is certainly the most inefficient company that I am still forced to deal with. First, you must sign-in on a clipboard then go sit down with the dozen or more other people lined up to make their donations. After some time, they call you to the counter where you hand over your health insurance card so they can photocopy it. Never mind that you've been there umpteen times before, each time they photocopy the card anew. Then you give them the lab test forms from the doctor, so they can copy information onto it from the newly-made copy of your healthcard. While they do this you go sit down and wait some more. Eventually — after you've skimmed all the year-old copies of Family Circle for the third time — a phlebotomist opens the door to the lab area and calls you for your turn in the bloodletting chair.

This one was a young thing, apparently just out of some Sally Struthers vocational training mill, who wanted to be all chummy. "And how are you today?" she chirped.


"Did you have a nice memorial?"

Memorial? "Look I may be old, but I haven't died, so there's no cause to be holding memorials just yet."

She suddenly began swabbing and intently palpating the inside of my arm. I could tell she had no idea where my veins are. Many of these vampirettes have enormous difficulty locating a juicy vein in my arm, and this has, in the past, led to some painful probing and puncturing. Eventually she settled on an area on the fringe of the usual zone, and I steeled myself. Astonishingly, she located a vein there on the first try.

Afterwards, I headed downtown for breakfast, thinking I would try a small cafe just down the street from Lucy's bench. Drat! It was closed. Ah, yes, it's summer. My second choice was also closed, so I finally settled on Peabody's — a wise choice since it was open.

I settled down with my free newspaper and tucked into eggs, sausage, fried potatoes, and coffee. After I had finished the local interest stories, the weird news, the columns with a cause, and the personals, I turned my attention to the fictitious business name statements in the back of the paper.

I know what you're thinking, and it's not so!

Fictitious business name statements are one of the great mysteries of the world. I know why they are published: it's a requirement to get a business license. What I don't know is why they are called "fictitious business name" statements. Is the business fictitious? Isn't it illegal to start a phony business? And if it's not a real business, why do you need a license for it? Or, is the name fictitious? But why would anybody announce a bogus name? Isn't the object of starting a business exactly the opposite, to have a real business with a real name?

As an added public service, I thought I would publish a few of the names here as well.

  • El Super Toro Loco #6 (Not just any crazy bull, but a super one. Registered to "Abdel Razig Halum Abdelraziq Hjaz" — an unusual Spanish name, indeed.)
  • Roadbound (I guess Hidebound was taken.)
  • GSGC / AREB (Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?)
  • La Casa de Ingles (Isn't this misnamed?)
  • Pattycakes (Registered to Patricia somebody. At least I can guess what this business will be about.)
  • Turning Up the Heat (Registered by Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert. The mind reels.)
  • Inconstant Moon Productions (What's this about? We're in big trouble if the moon doesn't change!)
  • Durrty -2- Purrty (Could be most anything.)
  • 1 Ton for Hire (A ton of what, precisely? Or of whom?)

To cap off the morning's madness, I noticed that Jimmy's Greek Restaurant is now Zin American Bistro. Until just a few months ago, Jimmy's Greek Restaurant was News Cafe. Curiously both Jimmy's and News were owned and operated by the same people and served the same food. Now I wonder if Zin is truly new or just another new name.