Scene: The preregistration testing room at a Washington, D.C., hospital.
Dramatis personae: Vicky, bubbly, blonde staffer of around 50 with a Southern accent who says she's new on the job, and yours truly, who will turn 40 this September 3.
Vicky has just told me I need to get a chest X-ray because I am preparing for my second thyroid operation (the surgery that will remove what's left of the once-cancerous gland and cut my risk of future thyroid tumors to zero). I'm concerned that it might cut into the effectiveness of the radiation pills I'll have to take six weeks after the operation.
Vicky: No, it wouldn't affect your treatment at all. If it did, it would say here in the computer that it's contraindicated, and it's not.
Me [unsure]: Okay.
Vicky: If you were my daughter, I w—
[She pauses, makes a lightning-quick glance at my chart.]
Vicky [continuing]: If you were my sister, I'd—
[I corpse with laughter.]