But I have good veins.
There are several simple truths of summer. One is that any man who
wears a short-sleeved dress shirt and a tie is a dork. Reach for
that pocket protector, hoist your beltline above your navel and
smother yourself in eau de Bug Spray. Call a hot dog a "weenie"
because you are one.
Men who live in Bermuda, who wear a short-sleeved shirt and tie
along with Bermuda shorts, calf-length black socks and seersucker
sport coats are exempt from this otherwise blanket condemnation.
They are just peculiar in the same manner that so many of the
Queen’s loyal subjects are a bit weird.
No, in the summertime a real man saddled with the burden of
employment wears a long-sleeved shirt. He may loosen the tie before
noon, that’s okay, and rolling up sleeves looks manly.
Not since I wore my cousin Tommy’s hand-me-downs in high school
have I owned a short-sleeved dress shirt.
And that may have been my problem.
You see, I have good veins. In fact, they are extraordinary.
During my recent prolonged holiday in the hospital a cheery nurse
showed up every two hours to jab my arm with a needle and draw
blood. Nurses came around the clock, and with each shift change a
new happy face would appear to exclaim, "You have great
As I headed for surgery one day the pre-op nurse was so delighted
that I confessed that she wasn’t the first nurse to make the
And she responded that whenever the OR girls went out for a night
on the town the first thing they noticed in a man was the quality
of his veins.
"Ask any nurse who draws a lot of blood," she said. "We’d never
date a guy with bad veins."
If only I had known.
Early in my career I was blessed with a job that required my
attendance from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. I was single and living in
Philadelphia at the time, and working that shift did ugly things to
my social life that no one else ever seemed to appreciate.
You know what they all said?
"Well, working those hours you must meet a lot of nurses!"
Yeah, right. Where do you meet a nurse -- or anyone else who wants
to hoist a libation -- at 7 o’clock on a weekday morning?
Desperation set in, so I began to do a little research in those wee
hours when things tended to get a little slow at work. First, I
learned that the law actually allowed bars to open at 7 a.m. Then I
figured that if any did they would corner bars close to factories
that had overnight shifts. Next, I hunted for a hospital located in
neighborhood where there were a lot of factories.
At 7:30 the next morning I walked into a passion pit crammed with
factory workers and nurses -- lots of nurses. The joint reeked of
romance and I watched moral restraint drown in a sea of cheap beer.
Droves of people who arrived as ones departed in twos. Some may
have been headed for the altar, but many seemed willing to skip
over that detail.
Amid this frenzy of mating I was spectacularly unsuccessful.
Nary a nurse looked my way.
I finally left, alone, downhearted and mystified.
Now I know why.
I should have rolled up my sleeves.