I've lost count of the number of times that gentlemen patients of mine have greeted me with the words "Hello doc, do these look normal?" before dropping their trousers and inviting me to probe their undercarriage with the kind of zealous abandon usually only displayed by menopausal aunts rummaging around in a lucky dip barrel at a garden fete.
If I'm lucky this will happen in the privacy of my surgery but it's not unknown for me to be accosted in this manner while out shopping, enjoying a quiet stroll through the park or even, in one instance, dining with friends.
If I remember correctly - and I'm hardly likely to forget - on that latter occasion the intrusive orbs were brusquely lowered into my soup, ruining the atmosphere and lending an unpleasant flavour to my pork and asparagus consommé.
In all honesty
In all honesty - and better critics than you have foolishly brought my scrupulousness into question - I can't even be confident that I will remain free from harassment when I'm at home; as evidenced by the unfortunate events of last Sunday evening, during which an annoyingly persistent patient chose to display his genitalia outside my bay window while I was watching a devilishly thrilling episode of Countryfile.
In this instance, I was unable to satisfy his concerns about whether his gonads were or were not abnormally misshapen because, as any doctor will tell you, pressing your nuts up against someone's double glazing does not create the ideal conditions for an examination.
Hello, my name is Doctor Adolphous Bongo and my reason for telling you all this is that it's apparently my job to remind men to regularly check the less savoury segments of their anatomy for 'irregularities'.
It's a pain, but if encouraging you to 'do it yourself' is going to prevent you bringing your fetid globes to me then it's got to be worth my while.
And I know it's a drag when people keep pestering you about all the tiresome tasks that you have to do, rather than all the fun, fluffy stuff that you want to do. You have to regularly check your tyre pressure, regularly mow the lawn, regularly clean behind the toilet.
Nobody goes to the trouble of telling you to regularly eat cake and get hammered, do they? Of course, I eat cake and get hammered all the time, but then I'm a doctor so I know what I'm doing.
I'm certainly qualified sufficiently to know that kneeling, butt naked, in your doctor's window box is no way to obtain the expert opinion of a trained professional. In my seven years of medical school, that was one of the first things they taught us.
Neither, as my uninvited visitor discovered, is this sort of behaviour likely to prove an efficacious way of avoiding the attentions of the police. The old bill were around to haul my unwelcome visitor away barely minutes after I put the phone down, and I imagine that he whiled away the rest of his evening exhibiting his greasy junk to the desk sergeant down at the local cop shop.
The privacy of your own trousers
No, the most socially acceptable way to check yourself is in the privacy of your own trousers. Better still, in a warm, comfortable environment where you can relax.
No, I don't mean the local chip shop or kebab emporium or wherever it is that you people are prone to congregate - I was thinking rather of a warm bath. In such a situation your 'plums', to use the medical term, will be easier to examine. In fact, you might want to make a special occasion of it - perhaps light a few scented candles, but on some soft music, pour yourself a glass of wine and invite some friends over?
Whatever. The important thing is that you check for anything unusual - unfamiliar bumps and lumps, unexpected pain, swelling or a strange high-pitched squeak when you walk. And if you do find anything, or if you're unsure, go and see a doctor.
A proper doctor
And by 'a doctor' I mean a proper doctor - a trained professional whose time, patience and skill are employed every day to keep you in good health.
Not someone like me, who is sick and tired of having his patients' meat and two veg shoved under his nose while he's searching for a decent turkey fillet in the freezer section of this local supermarket.
Frankly, that sort of behaviour fails to impress the staff, it disturbs other shoppers and it puts me off my supper, so I would consider it a great favour if you could all please cut it out.
Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2014