I understand that it is difficult to commit to reading a one-page column without knowing how long I’ll be around to write it. If I’ve got a heart condition or cancer, you might want to read a columnist you like a lot less, even if he makes up facts and has no experience writing columns and I had officially appointed a qualified backup columnist. The person I’ve chosen as my vice columnist is Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who has amazing dad stories he hilariously peppers with eighth-grade-level Spanish.
So I am releasing my medical records. This was a challenging decision, since I had no idea how to get my medical records or what medical records are. I read over Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s medical records, and they aren’t records at all. They’re letters from their physicians with a bunch of boring numbers that made me glad I didn’t go to medical school. I called my doctor, whose secretary invited me to come look at my records, which she explained any patient has the right to do.
So I also scheduled a physical, since my readers deserve up-to-the-decade information. After I finished my tests, I went into my doctor’s office, where he told me that Trump’s doctor’s report was ridiculous, since it claimed that his lab results were “astonishingly excellent” and that he would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
“Doctors aren’t hyperbolists,” he told me. “We use litotes.” I had never heard the word litotes, which means “words doctors use to remind you they’re smarter than you are.” Despite his reluctance, I told him I needed a bold declaration to reassure my readers. “You’re the healthiest columnist I’ve seen this morning,” he offered.
Sitting across from me at his desk, he held my folder in a way that prevented me from seeing it. He explained that it should never be released to the media. “It’s a sacred document between you and me,” he said. Though it seemed to be a sacred document between him and him.
I managed to get him to show me a few things from my folder. I am 5 ft. 11 in. and weigh 170 lb., which he called “perfect.” My cholesterol is “fine,” and my blood pressure is 96/60, which is low. This worried me until he told me it was good to be low at this. On June 14, 2013, I had surgery for a deviated septum, which is Los Angeles for “nose job,” which sucks since I didn’t get a nose job. He showed me my post-surgery X-rays. “Look at your sinuses. They look gorgeous,” he said, sounding a little like a Trump doctor.
In 2010, I came in with a rash that turned out to be chiggers I had contracted while doing boot-camp exercises in Fort Knox. If it’s not apparent, I would like to imply that this is not the kind of gutsy reporting you’re likely to get from the healthier columnist you’re considering. A blood test showed that I had parvovirus as a child, which sounds much less serious when it is called any of its other names: slapped-cheek syndrome, slapcheek, slap face or slapped face. I spent 15 minutes looking at smiling babies with red cheeks that looked exactly like they had told some other baby she had a nice rack.
Before I got hair transplants on June 25, 2014, I considered taking Propecia, leading my doctor to test my testosterone, which was 268. Trump revealed that his is 441.6–apparently the first time a presidential candidate had included that fact in his medical records. My doctor said my low testosterone isn’t a problem because my “sex-hormone-binding globulin” is not only high but likely a made-up thing to keep me from asking more questions.
It has never manifested, but blood work claims that I have mouth herpes, though my doctor kept saying there is only one kind of herpes, even though we all know there is “mouth herpes” and “other herpes” and I could not have contracted “other herpes.” He was so insistent on this one-herpes argument, and it went on so long, that I started to suspect that my doctor has “other herpes.”
Though I want you to draw your own conclusions from this data, that’s not how these doctors’-letters-posing-as-medical-records work. Instead they sum everything up cheerily. So: I am in excellent health, unlikely to die before print media does. Sure, I’m a little unmanly and a lot vain, but I am physically capable of holding a desk job. You’re in safe, completely nonarthritic hands.
This appears in the October 03, 2016 issue of TIME.