I would like to share with you a recent exam-room experience with a newly-adopted cat who came in for a new-cat exam & vaccines. The cat was named Dionysus.
Me: (entering exam room) Good morning! So tell me about Dionysus - I'm curious how he came by his name. Does he throw wild house parties every weekend?
Client: um - no? why would you think that? He got his name because at the shelter, his name was just "D" and I didn't think that was a big enough name for him because you know he's a big cat, so I found the name Dionysus on a list of good cat names.
Me: oh. Well I was just joking because as you know Dionysus is the god of wine, ecstasy, and ritual madness and orgies, so, um, I was just trying to be funny.
Client: (looking at me very suspiciously) I don't want to be rude but what religion are you?
Now, I could pretend that I gracefully wrapped up that conversation somehow, but that would be a lie. In actual fact, I think I stammered "um - really?" and my tech saved the day by starting to laugh loudly and say "Oh, Dr. VBB you are so hilarious, I just love working your exam room, I never know what's coming next, oh Ms. Client, isn't Dr. VBB such a card? hahahahahahaha," and then I started asking the usual questions about coughing, sneezing, vomiting, etc and just kind of let the whole previous episode slip silently into the past.