Man Overboard: A Medical Lifeline for the Aging Male
Mayo Clinic Press, 300 pages
Campers at Covenant Point Bible Camp have long enjoyed the wit and wisdom of Craig Bowron. He and his wife grew up in the Covenant and he has made himself available as a camp doctor of sorts at Covenant Point for many years. Craig is the kind of guy you want to laugh with at breakfast and to patch up your camper before dinner.
So I was delighted to pick up his new book, Man Overboard: A Medical Lifeline for the Aging Male. Like Walker Percy and William Carlos Williams, Bowron is a trained physician who writes legibly and learnedly. Craig is also funny. You might have already laughed at some Craig’s jokes written for The Prairie Home Companion. You might also have read his articles in Forbes, Slate, Washington Post, or Huffington Post.
Most men would rather not talk about many of the topics in this book. Chapters address andropause, erectile dysfunction, geriatric sex, and male pattern baldness, among other subjects. In the prologue, Bowron writes that the book “aims to help you get through this pilgrimage to Geezerville, this magical journey of aging-while-male, not unscathed but with a sense of control and dignity. You can get more of both of those if you understand how your body works, what happens when it doesn’t, and how to fix it.”
Discomfort with these important health issues might be the best reason to buy the book. Bowron’s sense of humor in Man Overboard is like a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. He addresses questions that men routinely avoid asking at the doctor’s office, and his wry humor will keep readers laughing as they gain valuable insight into their own bodies.
Warning: this book will offend some readers. It’s one thing for a doctor to write about sex; it’s quite another for a doctor to make jokes about sex. Bowron avoids the crude, misogynistic humor of the men’s locker room, but he does poke fun at the aging male body.
The Internet is full of dumb jokes and even dumber medical advice. We desperately need trustworthy medical professionals to interpret the best available science for us. We also desperately need clever writers to communicate the facts in a way that engages and educates us.
The Apostle Paul promises in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 that one day our perishable, dishonorable, weak, natural bodies will put on imperishability, glory, power, and spirit. Until the day of resurrection, we men would be wise to pay attention to our own perishable bodies and laugh at our invariable weaknesses.
Reading this book will help the target audience figure out whether they need to speak to an actual doctor about getting help. It can be a helpful gift to an old guy who might struggle to ask for help. And if you are still young and carefree, Man Overboard can serve as a humbling reminder that all mortal bodies will inevitably decay until God’s kingdom comes. This book is prescribed to all men who are willing to look honestly and laugh heartily at their own aging bodies.