He goes to the hospital, lets them look him over, look into and through him, turn him over and inside out, look and look again until, finally satisfied, the doctor gives him the thumbs-up and the nurse winks and smiles, knowing more about him than even the woman waiting for him at home knows, and he’s released—freed to return to her and make of his life what he will.
The news is good, but on the drive home he listens to the radio, hears about war in The Congo, war in The Middle East, planetary poverty and degradation, the plight of the unloved and lonely everywhere, declining dollars, and the apathy of the nation’s middle class. Even though it’s already a long ride, he takes an even longer route, hoping to hear something hopeful, something that—even if it doesn’t make him smile—at least assures that when he finally arrives and she asks him how everything’s going he doesn’t slump down on the couch and dissolve into tears.
Fortunately, just as he reaches the home stretch, he hears a brief interview with Mick Jagger, still touring at almost 70, a multi-millionaire, remembers the first time he heard him singing about not being able to get satisfaction, and thinks that if things could work out that well for Mick and the boys, everything would probably come out alright for him and for everyone else, too.
The holiday’s only a couple weeks away and he hopes that, maybe this year, some of that Christmas spirit will rub off on him. He turns off the radio and slides in a CD, practicing the smile he intends to show off when he arrives.