Dr. Quack’s At Your Service

While living in Pattaya during the 00s, I ate a few farang restaurants; Scoby’s Pizza on Sai 3, Cap Breton on Soi Concrete, Toscana on Beach Road, and my favorite Big Al?s Taco Stand. I’ve been partial to South of the Border cooking ever since discovering its culinary values at the El Phoenix Lounge on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. Chili-chorizo enchiladas drenched in eye-blinding spicy salsa cooked by a one-armed wetback. The first taste was a revelation to a young teen raised on mayonnaise sandwiches.

Big Al is an ex-extreme boxer who learned his cooking craft from extended stays with the California penal colonies. He told me once what he had done to earn his a long bid behind the walls. His incarceration was not a case of mistaken identity.

“Try cooking good for 1000 inmates. If they think your food sucks, then it’s buckshot and teargas for dessert.”

“Big Al’s bad boy years are behind him and he gave his all to educate the farang population about proper Mexican cuisine. His business did well during the latter part of the 00s. 2008 killed my job in Pattaya. 2009 killed off his taco stand. I returned to the USA to make more cash to support my family. Big Al toughed it out in Thailand.
Money was tight, but his bigger problem was his weight. Big Al tips the scale at about 160 kilos. Steroids helped put on some of this mass. I ran into at the Buffalo Bar my last trip to Pattaya.

“You?re not still taking ‘roids.”

“I wanted bulk for the ring.”

“Are you thinking about going back into the ring?” MMA or Mixed Martial Arts was a young man’s sport. Big Al was in his 40s, then again I had seen I’ve seen his fighting VDOs. Big Al in the ring was scary bulldog tough. I had thought countless times about how I would fight him. I had been a tough guy in several cities during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Complete submission would have been my defense against Big Al.

“No, my fighting days are over, but I got to make money somehow.” Big Al was willing to do anything to prevent a return to America.

“Fighting punks ain’t the answer. How are your legs?”

Big Al has been diagnosed with deep-vein thrombosis. Not hard to see why. His legs are as big as my chest and he insisted on wearing plastic clogs. Red ones. I don’t have any comments to offer Big Al on fashion. As he says, “I’m glad to find something that fits.”

Sitting at the Buffalo Big Al commented on the passing bargirls. He liked about every one he saw, and then complained about penile dysfunction. “Sometimes the blood doesn’t go where it’s supposed to, so I take a Viagra.”

“Damn, those things aren’t good when you?re as heavy as you.”

“Are you a doctor?”

“No, but I’m a hypochondriac and read everything I can whenever I think I have a rare tropical disease.” My grandfather was a country doctor in Maine and I have a book from Merck about home health. I got it from my cousin David. He shot himself a couple of years back. The book doesn’t say anything about why.

“So thinking you’re sick all the time makes you an expert.”

“No, just a little crazy and I never need anything to have sex.”

“I only want to make sure I don’t have a failure.”

“I can understand that, but be careful with those Indian Gels. Supposedly they open your capillaries all over your body, not only your cock. Some people say they have trouble seeing, because their eyeballs have been fucked up by the gels.”

“And you think it’s true.”

“They give me a headache and hot flashes.” I finished by drink, gave Big Al a 1000 baht, and headed home. Later that night I got a call. Big Al. “You know I’ve been thinking about what you said.”

“About what?”

“Those gels. I have trouble with blood circulation and I thought if those gels open your capillaries then they could help my blood flow better.”
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially if the knowledge is coming from Dr. Quack aka me, but I have no problem following bad advice with more bad advice especially if my gut reaction is that the bad advice might help.

“Al, you have blood clogs in your leg. You open up your capillaries and one of them might make its way to someplace you don?t want it to go. Namely your brain.”

“Yeah, but____? Big Al had treated himself with speed most of his life, so he was also somewhat of a self-taught doctor.

“No, yeah, buts, don?t even consider this.”

“How long did it take you to get to 160K?”

“About 6 years.” Americans think one pill can save them.

“Then you’re not going to get to a 100K in one night with a pill or gel.”

“Shit.” Big Al wanted a short cut and I offered the only one I know. “Eat at the dirtiest restaurants. Get amoebic dysentery. You’ll shit 20 kilos in a week.”
?That sounds a little extreme.? And also like he was considering this option.

“Al, I’m no doctor. Don?t do anything stupid.”

“Okay.” He hung up like he was going to get a third opinion about the gels, but the next day Big Al said at a small restaurant off Soi Bongkot, “I’m going to do what the doctors tell me and not listen to you.”

“Good.” I said, then the waitress brought him a plate of fried chicken. “I thought you weren’t supposed to eat fried foods.”

“I’m only tasting it to see if it’s any good. Anything wrong with that?”

“No comment.” I didn’t want to get my license in quackery revoked and order fried chicken too. It tasted like I was going to get sick tomorrow. I could stand to lose some weight just like Big Al and a doctor, even a quack, should know when to follow his own advice.

It’s all for the best.

“As for Dr. Quack doing house calls. I only hold consultations in bars.

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