Article Date: 12/1/2007

It Really is a Wonderful Life
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It Really is a Wonderful Life

Are the holidays about receiving gifts or appreciating the gifts we already have?

FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Jim Thomas

The sound of an alarm, the drop of the oxygen masks and the panic in the flight attendant's voice let us know that our situation was serious. "Put on your oxygen masks!" the attendant screamed into the public- address microphone.

The pilot did little to assuage our fears. "Put on those oxygen masks," he repeated. Then, as he told us we would need to make an emergency landing, he flew east over the ocean. I imagine we're going out to sea, so we don't crash into a densely populated area. I hope the seat cushions really do float.

Facing our fate

The next few minutes go by like a scene from a movie. I hear nothing but my heart beating. The sun sets behind the clouds and gives off a warm orange glow. Couples kiss each other goodbye. A family joins hands. A mother hugs her son. I remember my father once told me that you don't want to grow too old, and for whatever reason, it makes me laugh.

The motion picture ends. We all sit facing the flight attendant, who looks panicked. A woman behind me blubbers, repeating that she "doesn't want to die." The generators powering the oxygen masks emit the smell of burning plastic.

And I'm sitting in front of the wing. How many times has my mother told me not to sit there? I picture the memorial service.

"I told him not to run with scissors or walk with his shoes untied or talk with his mouth full and always, always sit where it's safest — in the back of the plane behind the wing," she says. "If only he had listened." The mourners all nod in agreement.

Back to reality

The man sitting next to me turns to the woman who still cries uncontrollably and tells her that everything is going to be fine. This is no big deal, he says. He turns to me and smiles. "If I'm right, I look like a genius," he tells me. "And if I'm wrong, well, it really doesn't matter, does it?"

At this point, we don't know that we'll land safely, that the entire emergency may be nothing more than a faulty sensor and that the guy next to me will look like a genius to the crying woman. So we debate: Should we call home? Should we say goodbye to our fellow passengers?

I shuffle through photos of my kids and think about my gifts — family, friends and job. And I keep hearing Clarence tell George Bailey, "Don't you see? You really do have a wonderful life."

This holiday season, I wish you safe travels and hope that you take the time to appreciate all the gifts that your life offers. OM

OPTOMETRIC Management ®
www.optometric.com

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jim Thomas
MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Boyles
SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jennifer Kirby

SPECIAL PROJECTS
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Virginia Pickles
SENIOR EDITOR Judith Springer Riddle
SENIOR EDITOR Angela Jackson

OPTOMETRY
CHIEF OPTOMETRIC EDITOR Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CLINICAL DIRECTOR James Thimons, O.D., F.A.A.O.
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
EDITOR Richard S. Kattouf, O.D., D.O.S.
CONSULTING EDITOR Jack Runninger, O.D., F.A.A.O.
PHARMACEUTICAL EDITOR Bobby Christensen, O.D.,
F.A.A.O.
CE COORDINATOR Neil A. Pence, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Marilee Blackwell, M.B.A., Gary
Gerber, O.D., Jerry Hayes, O.D., Richard Hom, O.D., F.A.A.O.,
Sheldon Kreda, O.D., F.A.A.O., Bob Levoy, O.D., Gregg Ossip, O.D.,
Jay D. Petersma, O.D., Eric Schmidt, O.D., Jerry Sherman, O.D.,
Donna Suter, Gil Weber, M.B.A.

EDITORIAL BOARD
Edward S. Bennett, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O
Irving Bennett, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Ernest Bowling, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Norma Bowyer, O.D., M.P.H., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Charlotte Burns, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Shelley Cutler, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Robert L. Davis, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Eric D. Donnenfeld, M.D.
Elmer Eger, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Neil B. Gailmard, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Alan Glazier, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Deepak Gupta, O.D.
Andrew Gurwood, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Terry Hawks, O.D.
Janice M. Jurkus, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Paul Karpecki, O.D.
Kelly Kerksick, O.D.
John Lahr, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Bob Levoy, O.D.
R. Whitman Lord, O.D.
Carla Mack, O.D.
Dominick Maino, O.D., M.Ed., F.A.A.O.
Pamela Miller, O.D., J.D., F.A.A.O.
Scot Morris, O.D.
Gary Oliver, O.D.
Robert E. Prouty, O.D.
Frank Puzio, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Kim Reed, O.D.
Rhonda Robinson, O.D.
Bruce Rosenthal, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Julie Ryan, O.D., M.S.Ed., F.A.A.O.
David B. Seibel, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Leo Semes, O.D.
Donald R. Smith, O.D.
Rene Soltis
Gale Stoner
Loretta Szczotka, O.D., M.S.


The opinions expressed in Optometric Management are those of its contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Optometric Management staff or its publisher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins VisionCare Group.
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Optometric Management, Issue: December 2007