Paul McGuire | The State of the Prostate

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

The following letter is presented as a satirical take on current gender issues.

Lobby, California hospital, 5 a.m. A middle-aged man is seated at an intake window, an older female clerk on the other side of the Plexiglas. She slides a piece of paper through the counter opening along with a pen. The man quickly fills it out and passes it back to her. The woman goes to turn it over and hand him the next piece of paperwork, then stops. 

“Sir, you’ve checked ‘female’ under gender.”  

“That’s right.” 

“But you’re here for a prostate procedure.” 

“That’s right. Would you like to know my pronouns?” 

“Uh, no. Sir, er, this is not accurate.” 

“I am woman. Hear me roar.” 

“Excuse me?” 

“I identify as a woman.” 

“I see … but you’re here for prostate surgery, correct?” 

“That is correct.” 

“Well, women don’t have prostates.” 

“I do.” 

“That’s because you’re a man.” 

“You’re insulting me.” 

“I’m sorry but this is an insurance issue, you see. They won’t cover a prostate procedure for a woman because there’s no such thing.” 

The man sits back and folds his arms across his chest. “I am a woman. That’s all there is to it.” 

“Well, ma’am, when’s the last time you menstru—never mind. Let’s try a different approach. Would you like to pay for this surgery out of pocket? If so, I’ll just need a credit card.” 

“This is unacceptable.” 

“Ralph, it is Ralph, right? Ralph Kramden?” 


“Junior, OK. Vaguely familiar.” 

“I’d like to see your supervisor.” 

“Sir, it’s 5 o’clock in the morning. Nobody’s here except me and the doctor and nurses waiting upstairs to do your procedure.” 

“Well, you’d better just fix it then.” 

“I can’t just fix it, sir—” 

“I don’t appreciate you calling me ‘Sir,’ by the way.” 

“Alright, Ralph. The fact remains I cannot submit paperwork to go first through hospital channels and then your insurance company that says a female had prostate surgery. It won’t fly. It’s not happening.” 

“I don’t understand the issue. I’m a woman and I’m here for this procedure.” 

“Women. Don’t. Have. Prostates!” 

“You’re mistaken. I do. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.” 

“We’re not getting anywhere, Ralph.” 

“No, we’re not.” 

“Can I please have your credit card?” 

The man, seething, reaches into his pocket, removes his wallet and slaps a credit card on the counter, keeping his hand on it for the moment. “How much is this going to cost me?” 

“Twenty-five, $30,000, maybe more. I don’t know.” 

Ralph stares daggers at her for what seems an eternity, then puts the card away. “Let me see that piece of paper,” he snarls. 

She slides it back through the slot and he checks the “male” box, crossing out his “female” mark.  

“There. Happy?” 

“Thank you, Mr. Kramden. Now let’s go over your medical history.” 

“You should know I’m pregnant.” 

“Of course you are, Ralph. Of course you are.” 

Paul McGuire

Canyon Country

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