This was the strangest part of the medical examination – the physical itself. First I had a desk interview with a doctor who took me at face value while I said I had no known illnesses of any kind. I had heard horror stories about being challenged at the least falter, but apparently I look as healthy as I feel.
Then I was sent into another room, and when I opened the door I stopped in shock. There was a bench something like a waiting room at a sauna, and lined up on it were about 8 adult men, each wearing nothing more than some boxers to cover the unmentionables. Directly in front of me was another large man, in little more than what God gave him, arms extended full tee, while two men in cammo took his measurements. I was sent to the bench, told to strip down and wait. After a few minutes, we were lined up, told to adjust our shorts so as not to advertise, and brought through various strange physical exercises (including a duck walk) to prove we had our full range of motion.
Then back into the doctor’s office for the physical proper: he listened to heart and lungs, looked in my ears and at the back of my throat, checked prostate and proctology. At that last, my 83 year old doctor complained more than I did. It was required, and he didn’t much appreciate it. My best personal guess about the wherefore is that the proctological exam is the military’s answer to “dont ask, don’t tell.” They may not be allowed to ask, but they can sure verify that you haven’t had your anatomy destroyed by debauched behavior.
On the ear inspection, I failed. He couldn’t see the drum in my left ear. But they have a waiver for that too. In my case, they squirted some solvent in my ear, waited a few minutes, and hooked me up to a tool that squirted water in until the wax came out. I was afraid at first I’d get hurt or at least be stuck with swimmer’s ear. In fact, the water pump managed to scratch that little spot between your ear and your throat that itches sometimes but you never can quite get to because it’s in the middle of your head. Ah that was a relief.
All in all, I was gratified to learn (again) that I was healthy.