Doc, come quick!

Doc, come quick!

By Bill Stork, DVM

On any given day, “DOC, COME QUICK AS YOU CAN!” are not the first words you hope to hear. Especially shouted into an answering machine by a frantic farmer at 2:00AM.


An appreciation for the romance of baseball, and a taste for curry and fine wine I have acquired from my brothers Scott Clewis and Kishan Khemani. But in my adult life there has never been a question of paternity: legs that would embarrass a spent laying hen and the ability to sleep under any conditions are genes that could only come from my father.

There are pictures of Dad, his Manitowoc Crane hat pulled over his eyes, dreaming of 18’ crappie, while leaning on a post at San Francisco International Airport. While anything but silent, we Storks are versatile, skilled and efficient in slumber; capable of achieving Rapid Eye Movement sleep medically indistinguishable from surgical anesthesia in a fraction of the time it takes a Starbucks barista to craft a Triple Venti Half-Sweet Non-Fat Caramel Macchiato at 120 degrees F.

Wake us from that sleep, and you are on your own.

Just ask Naishad Shah.

Naish is an electrical engineer. Currently he is in charge of synching distribution for McDonald’s. Order a Quarter Pounder with cheese Extra Value Meal from the drive-thru in Lake Mills, and there is a cow from Australia and a bag of potatoes from Idaho headed for Wisconsin.

Naish is slightly built, brown-skinned, wears his polyester pants just under his armpits and dances like Pee Wee Herman. He could design a fully functional space station from your scrap iron pile and an old trolling motor. Notice I said design - you’re going to build it.

I’ve known Naish since my freshman year of college. He graduated with honors from the University of Illinois in about 36 hours, and took a job with IBM.

Needless to say, it was fully out of character to get a call from him on my dorm phone at 3:00AM.

“Bill, this is Naish,” he seemed a bit anxious.

Oblivious, I answered as if I had been up for hours, just waiting for his call “Hey Naish, how you doing?!”

He did not return my pleasantries. “Bill, I’m in jail and I need some help.”

As if he were asking me to pass the milk, “Sure, Naish, what 'cha need?”

Naish had come back for a reunion and to visit his brother. In no time the reunion became a group of ten of us, excited to reconnect with our friend and do some networking. It was an excellent opportunity for us to learn about life on the outside. There was also an unwritten rule: take a job and come back to visit = buy your poor college friends food and beverage.

George Chin’s Chinese restaurant violated every single one of “Bill Bryson’s principles of road dining.” It had the yellowed plastic back-lit menu with indistinguishable items 1-86. Located on three levels in the middle of a college town, it was famous for a drink called “Volcano.” Known by different names at differently themed bars – fish bowls, pond water, paint thinner, dirty bath water – drinks in that genre feature somewhere around 12 shots of various rotgut two-dollar liquor and food coloring. The Volcano was served in a pawn-shop ceramic bowl with faux pineapple trees and hula girls painted sloppily on the side in garish glossy paint.

From the middle of the bowl protruded a basin the bartender filled with moonshine or turpentine, and lit on fire. Consumed out of the basin through foot-long straws, around high-top tables, one sip of the swill is enough to raise your ALT 150 points and induce hepatic insufficiency. By the second you will flatly fail a field sobriety test.

So the happy band of reunited Indian engineers cleverly had 10 bowls. The “Hick” had a donut date with the Amazing Dick Bass at 6:00am, with horse stall duty to follow.  I had a Budweiser, enjoyed the company and called it a night.

To be continued...

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