How to be a Quick Change Artist

10.30.2007 | 8:23 pm

An Angry and Somewhat-Incredulous Note from Fatty: Little by little, I’m getting to the bottom of the confusion I talked about yesterday. It may yet shape up to be an amusing story, or at least it would if it didn’t avoid tumors. Basically, this comedy gold will involve my wife travelling today (Tuesday) to the orthopedic specialist only to find that the orthopod (as we in the business call them) wasn’t in that day. At all.

The neurologist had told Susan she was scheduled for today, but had actually scheduled her for Thursday. Furthermore, when he told us yesterday that he and our oncologist had agreed that it was more important that Susan go to the orthopod than do chemo that day, he did so without actually consulting our oncologist. Also, he failed to send the crucial MRI results to our oncologist today, in spite of the fact that I specifically told him this was the most important thing he could do for us.

Um, we won’t be going back to that neurologist anymore. Nor to the orthopod he recommended, mostly because he recommended him, but also because this neurologist somehow managed to recommend the orthopod that was further away than any other in the county. I’m guessing they’re golfing buddies, seeing as how that neurologist and the orthopod have adjoining offices in this town that is a 70-minute drive from ours.

OK, Fatty, take a deep breath. Take another. Okay, better take a third.

A Much-Less Angry Note from Fatty: I’ve got a new article published at “How to be a Quick Change Artist.” You can read a preview of the article below, or read the whole thing by clicking here.

How to be a Quick Change Artist
As a cyclist, I am used to sudden, intense bursts of effort. I know how important it is to be prepared, steel myself, and then make that all-out-dash that can result either in victory or — if not done properly — abject humiliation.

I am talking, of course, about changing clothes in a public parking lot before a ride.

Why Change at the Parking Lot?
I have perfectly good reasons for why I change into my riding clothes in a parking lot. Specifically, I do this because I don’t want people at work to know that I am blowing them and their group lunch invitations off in favor of some saddle time. In the name of stealth, I leave the office in my work clothes, and I return in my work clothes, too.

It’s possible, I suppose, that I leave a few clues. For example, when I leave the office I’m carrying a couple water bottles and a large sports bag full of clothes, helmet, and shoes to my truck, which has a bike locked in. Then, two hours later, I return, smelling terrible, with dried mud on my arms and salt formations on my face. Depending on how the ride went, there’s a reasonable chance I’ve got a little blood seeping through the knees of my pants, too.

But I’m sure nobody’s figured out what I’m doing when I leave on those long lunches.

My lunchtime rides usually begin from one place, whether I’m riding road or mountain bike: the parking lot of the city zoo. On one hand, this is very fortunate, because this large, open, high-traffic parking lot is unlikely to attract thieves.

On the other hand, it is a large, high-traffic parking lot generally full of children. A man caught undressing here at the wrong moment might be . . . shall we say . . . misunderstood.

Click here to continue reading “How to be a Quick Change Artist” at

PS: Tomorrow’s Halloween (or, when most of you read this, today’s Halloween), and I’ll be out Trick-or-Treating with the twins (one will be dressing as nurse, one will be dressing as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz).

They have taken months to settle what they will be for Halloween, with their decisions changing almost daily. Strangely, though, they have been absolutely certain of what they want me to be, and have been for since early Spring.

And the truth is, I love their costume idea. It’s brilliant. It’s hilarious. It has nothing to do with bikes, which will catch everyone off-guard. And as far as I can remember, I have not ever seen anyone dressing as this supremely recognizable character for Halloween, ever.

Here I am:

Merry Halloween!


  1. Comment by UltraRob | 10.30.2007 | 8:38 pm

    At races I generally change in the parking lot. I’ve always told my wife if they don’t want to see it they don’t have to look. I do make exceptions for kids and keep an eye out for them. Sometimes I do end up needing to change in the vehicle. Have you ever noticed how there’s no steering wheel on the passenger side? It makes it easier for changing. Also the only thing that really needs to be changed in the vehicle is your shorts. Do the rest with at least the door open.

  2. Comment by Bones | 10.30.2007 | 9:03 pm

    After reading your last two days and getting even more pissed about the medical establishment (hope you get THAT BS untangled quickly!) I read today’s post and nearly fall out of my chair laughing. That’s the funniest piece I’ve read in a long, long time, and it’s beyond all comprehension and expectation that you could write it, especially now. Kudos, Formerly Fatty. I only hope you’re able to keep Susan laughing now and then too, she needs it more than we do. Good luck.

  3. Comment by MOM | 10.30.2007 | 9:37 pm

    Ah Yes, Halloween. Have you recounted to the girls all your amazing creations as a boy who took Halloween very seriously? Hours and hours. Result, sometimes wrapped so tightly in gauze you could hardly walk as the mummy. Have a fun one!
    P.S. Surely you made up today’s encounter. you must be a jester. Now what we hear borders on unethical.

  4. Comment by Lins - Aust | 10.30.2007 | 9:46 pm

    Hey Santa…Your beard is incredibly shiny. What shampoo do you use?

  5. Comment by LtCol Tim | 10.30.2007 | 9:52 pm


    Is this a sign of the winter weight Apocalypse to come? Does Twin Six make a jersey?

  6. Comment by Kris | 10.30.2007 | 10:12 pm


    I can recommend Wayne W. Mortensen at Utah Valley Orthopaedics as a good ortho. My wife worked for him for years and while he has his quirks (like most docs), he’s good at what he does and will take the time to tell you anything you want to know – just ask questions. His partner Jeffery Smith is also a good doctor.

  7. Comment by Little1 | 10.30.2007 | 10:26 pm

    Ho Ho Ho.

    Glad that in this insanity there are little rays of sunshine such as your beautiful girls! have fun on halloween.

  8. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 10.30.2007 | 10:41 pm

    Susan I missed yesterdays post as I was 1000 kms away from my computer. Everyday we learn a little more about the fight you are undertaking and everyday my admiration for you, the Fat One and the junior FC’s grows. I have no useful advice such as that you guys received yesterday but I did want you to know when the kids get home (all 3 of them) from trick or treating you have my permission to choose whatever and as much as you like from their stash.
    All the best and heaps of love to you all.

  9. Comment by flossy | 10.31.2007 | 3:14 am

    I’ve been pretty busy lately and just caught up on a fair bit of reading. I’m shocked at the treatment you and Susan have received. Second opinions are so important. For what it’s worth when my husband’s treating doctor gave him the news of his cancer diagnosis, he outlined the treatment and then said this is a huge decision for you, go and talk to another doctor before you decide……………….I hope things work out and send my thoughts to you all.

    Enjoy the booty from the trick or treating

  10. Comment by buckythedonkey | 10.31.2007 | 3:20 am

    By any chance does your (previous) neurologist go by the name of Doctor Lammer?

  11. Comment by | 10.31.2007 | 3:41 am

    First off, YS! Dr Lammer! Way to go Bucky… I haven’t thought about Lammer in a while.
    As far as changing, I’ve learned to just wear lycra 24/7. That’s right! At any moment I could just drop trou, as it were, and be ready to go cycling! I also have a razor in ever pant I own for shaving, carry the following: 1 stick of chewing gum, a ball point pen, a 6mm piece of razor wire, a blasting cap, a jar of peanut butter, and a rubber ducky. Saw it on McGeyver once. OK, not really, but did I at last get a chuckle?
    Dr wise. Yeah, they’re all in it together I suppose. The problem becomes unless you find the one whos in it for the right reason, what can you do? All my best to you Susan and the family! Enjoy the Tricking and Treating!

  12. Comment by ESinMD | 10.31.2007 | 3:51 am


    When I was diagnosed with my cancer, a friend (a doctor) told me, “Good doctors make good referrals.” I don’t know if bad doctors make bad referrals, but I’d bet on that. Dumping both the neurologist and the orthopod is the right move.

    Your story of the time you’ve spent waiting reminded me of our experience with my urologist (excellent surgeon, lousy doc). I also got to wait for 90 minutes, split in the middle by being moved to the exam room as if I’d finally get to see him (even on the day that I scheduled my appointment for the first of the day, figuring that he couldn’t be running late yet). When we went to have my post-op staples removed and to confirm the cancer diagnosis, we were made to wait so long that we had to leave (we had to pick up our kids). Obviously we were upset. The next day the jerk had the temerity to tell me off and to do so while he was removing my staples!

    Anyway, as for other blood pressure-raising situations: Why not put your shorts on under your pants before you leave work? Let the loops hang down (under your pants). That solves half the problem. Then what I do after my ride, after I’ve constructed that changing room same as you, I wrap a towel around my waist. That minimizes the possibility of disaster.

    Good luck with your new neurologist and orthopod.

  13. Comment by Brie | 10.31.2007 | 4:19 am

    Shaking my head in relation to your former neurologist –

    Thoughts and prayers with your family! Be strong for the kids Mr Trick or treating Santa – that is what we don’t miss here in Oz

  14. Comment by Fan of Susan | 10.31.2007 | 4:20 am

    Given Monday and Tuesday’s post, I really want to write something useful but all that keeps running through my head is “Un-frickin’ believable”. And, to be honest, the word isn’t actually “frickin’” but I think you said your kids read here. The Santa costume is hilarious – would love to see people’s reactions when they open their door. Positive thoughts and good karma being sent your way.

  15. Comment by joel | 10.31.2007 | 4:20 am

    Ah, deck changing. After 15 years of swimming and 2 of water polo (without a locker room) I’ve mastered the art of dropping pants/replacing with tight athletic costume. Good to see someone sharing the info.

    Second. Santa for Halloween is evil. Getting subjected to eternal X-mas carols starting Thursday will be bad enough, but to see someone encouraging it? I expected better from you. >-(

  16. Comment by Mike Roadie | 10.31.2007 | 4:23 am

    This is the third Halloween in a row here that looks like it’s gonna get ruined by a Tropical Storm/Hurricane…….and you all thought YOU had problems!!!!!

  17. Comment by Walt | 10.31.2007 | 4:40 am

    Um, this wouldn’t be because you told them the OCT 31 == DEC 25 thing, would it?

  18. Comment by Philly Jen | 10.31.2007 | 4:43 am

    May I suggest a small addition to your festive holiday cotume? Get a few cords of wood, and a axe. Carry said wood and axe into Dr. Unfeeling Neurologist’s waiting room. Raise axe. Hack at wood until you (a) feel better, and (b) scare the living bejesus out of Dr. Numbnuts. Leave behind some a little something for the fireplace. Nice Santa.

    P.S. Don’t forget to drop a few lumps of coal on your way out.

  19. Comment by Willie Nelson | 10.31.2007 | 5:06 am

    Kris said: “I can recommend Wayne W. Mortensen at Utah Valley Orthopaedics as a good ortho.” Dr. Mortensen fixed up my shoulder a year ago and I couldn’t be happier I FINALLY did it. It’s good to know I can fall asleep and rest assured my shoulder won’t dislocate in my sleep anymore.

    PS I will tell you this: wearing a sling for 6 weeks is torture. But I wore the sling religiously and did all of the physical therapy. The doc said over and over, “it doesn’t matter if I perform a perfect surgery, if you don’t wear your sling and do your therapy it will be a waste”. I was on a road bike again a couple months after surgery and riding my mountain bike not much later. Not a problem since.

  20. Comment by Gillian | 10.31.2007 | 5:47 am

    I’ve only read the italics, I’ll read the bike radar post there. Just had to say, shut the fork up. That is unforkingbelievable. So glad you’re saying CYA to the neuroloscrewup and the orthogolfingbuddy. This is bungling worthy of a Shakespeare comedy, and one day you & Susan can write it from the balcony of your Italian villa.

  21. Comment by Anonymous | 10.31.2007 | 6:07 am

    I saw a post earlier that said this behaviour bordered on unethical. Actually, it’s completely over the line. I would complain to the local ethics committee (every profession has one). However, Susan’s immediate care is more pressing, so maybe write a scathing letter some time later. I can’t add anymore to what has already been said but I send you all the good karma I can gather. As for changing, I’m a triathlete. Whaddya mean I’m not supposed to get naked without other people seeing me?

  22. Comment by Canadian Roadie | 10.31.2007 | 6:08 am

    Anonymous? Oops.

  23. Comment by Alisha Lion | 10.31.2007 | 6:31 am

    I am really glad to read that you are changing your neurologist. After your post yesterday I was hoping you would switch. There is no excuse for such poor service. I hope you find a better doctor to help you and my best to you and Susan!!

  24. Comment by XCTiger | 10.31.2007 | 7:07 am

    When you change your neurologist, I suggest you let him know in no uncertain terms, that he’s fired. I’d use exactly those words, “your fired”. Maybe that will remind him that he was supposed to be working for you. I doubt that it will sink in, but it’s worth a try.

    I keep you and Susan in my prayers, that you continue to have the strength keep up with the rollercoaster ride that you’re both on.

  25. Comment by chtrich | 10.31.2007 | 7:15 am

    Give those Doctors hell when you’ve got some free time. They deserve it.
    I love the costume! And I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone dressed as Santa for Halloween before either. Excellent idea!

  26. Comment by bikemike | 10.31.2007 | 7:52 am

    yep, Mike the roadie is right, Noel is coming. and not the Noel in the picture or with the two dots over the o or is it the e. going as a weather man, those people are scary too. just like your neurologist friend they get paid, right or wrong.

  27. Comment by DoubleD | 10.31.2007 | 9:42 am

    For changing, I have one of those Sport Kilts from Works great, velcro waist.
    As for your trials with the doc and his golf buddy, the best advice I ever received concerning doctors was “Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are smarter than you”.

  28. Comment by Azriel | 10.31.2007 | 10:04 am

    Changing? Well the swimming pool taught me this:
    use towel – even a small face towel can do the trick. Heck, I got sooo good that anything slightly larger than a tissue was enough.

    I was walking from work to the bike park place. All dressed up in lycra. It was august so the sun was setting way late.
    As I was leaning to untie my bike I heard a honk from the back. I turned around and saw our HR manager in her red Alfa inches from my tight rider-muscular back side. As I turned (now you have to remember she is in a small car and I stand up) I was greeted with a Scottish version of ‘Ooooh that is embarrassing’…

    I took it as a compliment. I think.

    I found that Dr.s that I like were always good. And the arrogant b436$%5s weren’t worth it. Because the nice Dr. could always refer me to a better one if he didn’t know what to do, and that other one, was always better. Sometimes – even nicer.

    Feel the good energy flow from this side of the pond

  29. Comment by KeepYerBag | 10.31.2007 | 10:05 am

    Ironically, your best weapon in the fight against the neurologist just might be your insurance provider. If there’s one thing payors don’t like it’s reimbursing for unnecessary and/or fraudulent procedures.

    I have little doubt these two bozos have some kind of racket going on. In fact, I’d wager that three out of four people who walk out of Dr. Neuro’s office do so with a referral to Dr. Ortho (and vice versa) whether they actually need it or not. There’s more than a few scalpers, pimps, and whores out there who also have a license to practice medicine, and to me this reeks of fraud.

    If you write a letter to your insurance company, you should also forward it to the Medicare payor for the State of Utah. Most medical professionals get the bulk of their income from Medicare reimbursements, and if these guys are successfully running a scam on private payors, it a sure thing they’re bilking Medicare too.

    At minimum, you’ll make their life hell for a few months because the payors will be scrutinizing and delaying every claim they submit. Their rate of denied claims will probably go up. At most, they could get probes shoved waaay up their nether regions while they’re investigated for fraud.

  30. Comment by cloud19th/Monica | 10.31.2007 | 10:20 am

    in a similar vein to other posts–I hope you’ll write a letter to Susan’s former neurologist and explain why he’s fired, and send a copy to the state board. I believe your case is a strong one for unprofessional conduct on the part of the neurologist. See section R156-67-502, part (5) of the Utah Medical Practice Act Rules, for example…
    here’s where you can file a complaint:

    you guys might be able to get over/past this easily, but other patients might have a harder time. I hope this crap-cascade of a doctor won’t mess things up worse for someone else.

  31. Comment by Tim D | 10.31.2007 | 11:30 am

    3 things
    1. I think we have discovered the candidate for the Laser Beams of Death
    2. I generally just get changed by my car facing inwards. That way people only see my bum and everyone’s seen one of those haven’t they?
    3. On a serious note, I found out the other day that a lady I work with has breast cancer. I’m not supposed to know, someone let it slip and it’s not public knowledge yet. What should I do? Should I say anything? Should I keep quiet til it is common knowledge?

  32. Comment by Kris | 10.31.2007 | 11:36 am

    Costumes: My 4-year-old boy accidentally came up with a brilliant costume that he will be wearing tonight. He put on one piece from several different costumes to make a collage costume (Franken-costume, if you will). The mix changes each time, but he will probably be a Darth-super-fireman-cowboy-scientist-murderer. I couldn’t be more proud of my boy!

  33. Comment by mbonkers | 10.31.2007 | 12:14 pm

    I have never seen a santa on Halloween before, but I have in fact seen an Easter Bunny. Now, an easter bunny is very specific and is not like any other type of bunny so it is easily spotted.
    Course another year I dressed up as a bunny in BDU’s.

  34. Comment by TIMK | 10.31.2007 | 12:36 pm

    mbonker – you might need to remember not everyone is or has been in the military.
    BDU’s ,for the uninformed, would be Battle Dress Uniform – meaning mbonkers dressed up as a bunny in camouflage. Which I think would be an awesome costume.

  35. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.31.2007 | 12:57 pm

    Fatty, if you are going to use the Dave Berryesque “…I promise that I am not making this up…” phrase, then you really ought to go the whole route and take this other Dave Berry advise: The neurologist ought to be referred to as a weasel. Mentioning weasels is funny. The more the merrier. I believe the orthopod is a weasel, as well.

  36. Comment by ellen | 10.31.2007 | 1:01 pm

    Go to Goodwill and buy a very large elastic waist skirt- put it on, take off the pants, put on the bibs. pretty simple and less embarrassing (unless you get a hideous skirt) and way cheaper than something designed for this specific purpose.
    Enjoy the ride!

  37. Comment by dino | 10.31.2007 | 2:34 pm

    I hope you send a nice letter to the neuro’s boss, or his network admin, or someone that will actually take the time to read it. I want to say you should meet him face to face and discuss your displeasure with him but that would probably entail another 2 hour wait and yet another medical bill.

  38. Comment by Boz | 10.31.2007 | 6:17 pm

    Al M has been strangely silent on this matter. I think I know why. I saw on the news a report of a large man on what was reported to be a “fixed gear bike” hammering along the interstate heading west at a high rate of speed. Quads the size of tree trunks and a crazed look in his eyes. A sign reading “Utah or Bust – I’ll Bust Your Head !” was pinned his Twin Six Win jersey. It could only be Al M. I think help is on the way. Neuro-boy, you better head for the bunker, ’cause hell is comin’, and he’s carrying a law book !!

  39. Pingback by | The RocBike Review » Links Of The Day: 31 October 2007 | 10.31.2007 | 6:20 pm

    [...] How to be a Quick Change Artist [...]

  40. Comment by Jsun | 10.31.2007 | 6:36 pm

    This medical crap has turned your hair and beard white, where is the pic of your costume. I am very busy with job and family these days but still check in for the digest version (there is a pun in there somewhere but am too busy to be clever).
    This morning I attended a ‘friend raising’ event for this organization. My company does a lot of work with them and they are the ‘best’ around. Your experiences sounded frustrating, perhaps they can help.

  41. Comment by aussie kev | 10.31.2007 | 6:41 pm

    i recently did the reverse of “quick change”, in my none business life i am a part time nudist. when i travel away i always try to stay at nudist accomodation, so i can get my “nude” fix and help prop up the nudist industry here in sunny australia.
    i raced recently and stayed at one of my favourite places “garden of edun” (edun is nude spelt backwards). i had arrived late and only had 30 minutes from checking in till i had to leave to go and race. As you do in nudist places i nuded up and then started to change my tyres over from training tyres to racing tyres ( i cant afford 2 pairs of wheels), this bought most of the other people who where staying there over to see what was happening. i finished doing my trye changing demonstation and then in front of maybe 20 nude people, put on my bib shorts, t shirt and racing jersey. you may find this hard to understand but it isnt a nice feeling being the only dressed person in that sort of environment, you feel quite uncormfortable, i imagine quite similar to worrying about people seeing you getting changed at the side of your car.

  42. Comment by leroy | 10.31.2007 | 7:06 pm

    That neurologist needs suing.

    Or at least, you should leave him stranded and naked in his BMW in the Zoo parking lot and tell him to figure out an explanation that won’t get him incarcerated on morals charges.

  43. Comment by TG | 11.1.2007 | 3:57 am

    Hey Fatty, How many kids did you confuse last night in that get-up??? I bet the little buggers didn’t know what to think.

  44. Comment by RC | 11.1.2007 | 10:21 am

    Fatty; Get a Scottish Kilt. They are eazy to change under even in the open. No funky doors to open thing. Get one with velcro rather than buttons.

    Good thoughts to Susan….She’ll like the Kilt too.

  45. Comment by Trapper Dan | 11.5.2007 | 7:42 am

    I generally change at my office before our afternoon rides.

    The hiding in the parking lot comes when I apply the “Chamois Butt’r”. I’ve recieved more than one funny look from the folks in the parking lot at the rail trail.

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