The Crutch and Prosthetics Company

“Oh! Wass! I’ve been looking forward to meeting you! The nurse told me that you’re a very funny man!”

Thus spoke the physician at Lapinjärvi educational center when I arrived for my medical check-up today. Actually, the doctor slam dunked the battle of funniness. A wonderful old lady who must have been in her sixties, she had put a Bob Marley flag in the waiting room and told me how much she loved to work here, how wonderful it was to get to know the young men who serve here. And the stories she told. She joked about most everything and anything when I said I was something of a hypocondric, she told me about a young man who claimed his intestines were flapping and his brain was assaulted by cold waves. Then she made me promise not to tell anyone that she and the head nurse sometimes smoke behind the corner and gossip about the patients. Which is how she had found out about me. I’d love to get the swine flu just to chat with the doctor again!

Oh yes, two weeks ago 53 guys over here came down with suspected swine flu in one day and the facility was shut down.The doctor suspects we will get it in about 3 weeks. Everybody wash their hands like maniacs and the diner smells of alcohol-based hand disinfection fluid.

Anyway, despite the overweight, the smoking, the coffee drinking, the bad hearing and my tendency to lie awake during the nights suspecting I’ve got brain hemorrhage, only to realize that I feel strange because I haven’t eaten anything, I was classed as an A class “soldier”, which only makes me wonder how many extremities one must lack before being classed as a class B soldier. Well, I guess dad was right when he called the B class soldiers “the crutch and prosthetics company”.

One of hour classes today revolved around the civilian service law, and involved a group effort in which we were required to read the law and tell the others in class what the law stated. Another class was called “politics and involvement”. To my disappointment, it meant that we were explaned what “politics” means. I had hoped for my classmates to give more nuanced answers than “lies”, “deception”, “unnecessary”, “I don’t know” and “I don’t care”. The room fell silent when I suggested that it might involve putting some thought behind the decisions we do in our daily lifes. I was genuinly baffled by how little these grown men seem to know or care for politics or society. I can’t judge them all, of course, there were a few solitary voices of reason in the room, too. But today’s classes sadly seemed to crush the few hopes I had of actually learning something new during these four weeks. Fortunately I have my book about the history of Africa to read during class.

Today I also walked to the village center in the rain and got blisters on my feet. The church was very beatifully illuminated in the darkness, but unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me. I’ll have to go back and take some pictures next week. I suspect my blisters will prevent any long walks tomorrow.

The crutch and prosthetics company



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