The good news is I'm not sick. The bad news is, it cost me $40 to find out.

During a routine checkup, which has only become routine now that I can afford health insurance, a doctor saw I had a small mole on my upper back. She asked me how long I had it. I couldn't tell her, since I don't typically hold a mirror to my upper back. And my neck doesn't stretch that way, since I'm not a member of the Fantastic Four.

I also couldn't tell her because freckled people don't notice moles. It's easier to count how many places I have without freckles than with. Maybe I could be in the Fantastic Four. I'd be The Human Pointillist.

I went to a dermatologist this week to see if the mole was anything to worry about. Very thankfully, it was not. But it took them longer to run my credit card than it did for the doctor to tell me I was fine. The doctor checked to see if the mole was discolored or misshapen – nope. I could have told her that from my original checkup, where I actually did hold a mirror to my upper back. The dermatologist assured me I was fine, told me to come back in a year, and gave me a pamphlet with icky pictures to make sure I couldn't eat lunch.

The first doctor was just being careful; it is better to get a second opinion than leave something undiagnosed. And I don't regret getting the mole checked just in case. But that first doctor would have saved us all a lot of time if she had just read the pamphlet with the icky pictures.

My favorite part of the day was the form I had to fill out once I arrived at the office. There was a questionnaire that included of every symptom of every illness ever. If I was supposed to fill out what I currently had, that'd make sense. But the form asked me to fill out what I'd ever had.

Stuffy Nose?





After looking at that brochure? Chee-eeck.



Why ask me if I've ever coughed? I've coughed BECAUSE doctors have told me to. Show me someone who has yet to cough and I'll show you someone choked by their own umbilical cord.

I thought about not checking "cough." Then the doctor could come out and diagnose me.

"The good news is that the mole is just a mole. The bad news is you're a robot. Here's a brochure with pictures of rust."

I asked the woman at the desk if I'd filled out the form correctly, since I wasn't currently experiencing any of those symptoms. The only symptom I was experiencing was worrying if I'd get a parking ticket, which is a symptom of only having an hour on the meter and realizing how long this may take. She said that my form was fine, and they just wanted my medical history. Which I can understand, but anything curable by a nap and a pack of Halls shouldn't qualify as medical history.

I got more good news – I got back to my car in time to avoid the parking ticket so I wouldn't be out another $70. The drive home was easy – I felt good, I was happy about being healthy. I turned on my music, opened my window, and took in a giant breath of fresh air.

And then, suddenly, I coughed. Sweet – my robotism was cured, too.

Steve Hofstetter is the author of the Student Body Shots books, which are available at and bookstores everywhere. He can be e-mailed at