Article Date: 6/1/2008

From Irish Bulls to Retired Gangsters
lessons learned

From Irish Bulls to Retired Gangsters

Reader e-mails describe unforgettable encounters with interesting patients.


One of the "Irish Bulls" I enjoy is about the Irishman who always slept with a pistol under his pillow. One night, in the middle of the night, he thought he heard an intruder entering his room, so fired his pistol toward the door. And shot his toe off.

"It's a good thing I wasn't sleepin' at the other end of the bed," he said to himself. "Or else I'd have shot me brains out!" (Irish Bulls are defined as statements that are made ludicrous by their incongruous logic.)

In similar fashion, I continue to receive e-mails about incongruous experiences in optometric offices.

She found her glasses

"A patient recently lost her dress glasses," said Dr. Steve Miller, Buhler, Kan. "A couple of weeks later her great aunt died, and she attended the wake. To her great surprise, she discovered her fashionable glasses were being worn by her aunt in the casket! Apparently she had left her glasses while visiting her great aunt's home prior to her death."

"My assistant did the "air puff" tonometer on a 16 year old boy," reports Dr. By Newman, Westminster, Calif. "When he sat down in my chair, he told me, ‘They pumped up my eyes.’ When I asked, ‘What do you mean?’ he said, ‘They blew air into them.’"

From Dr. Rob Sachs, Syracuse, N.Y.: "Here's a few more misunderstandings of technical terms I've heard: I have cadillacs in my eyes, I have stickatism, I wear polycarbonated lenses, I wear polyunsaturated lenses, I wear exposable contact lenses.


"Our office name is ‘City Opticians’. We are frequently referred to as ‘City Obstetricians,‘" he says.

The butterfly

Dr. Don Dye, Elberton, Georgia was examining eight year old Jason, when he noticed a tattoo on his upper arm. "Man, that is a good looking tattoo," he told him. Jason responded, "If you think this one looks good, you ought to see the butterfly on my mama's butt." "I couldn't help looking across the room at a very red-faced mother," he said.

A couple of months ago, I wrote of how advertising mail would often address me as "Jack Runninger, OD" and then in the salutation say, "Dear Mr. Od."

Dr. Joe Gackenbach, Ocean City, N.J., topped me. He has had the same experience, except somehow the letter "G" got added, so his letter salutations said, "Dear Mr. God." "I knew I was good, but not that good," he told me.

A frank answer

"While taking the history of a new patient, he reported that he was retired," e-mailed Dr. Robert Krall, Millwood, N.Y. "When I asked him what he was retired from, without hesitation he said, ‘From being a gangster.’ It turned out he had been one of the soldiers in organized crime in New York City, and had spent time in prison."

His frank answer reminded me of the story about the widow who was desperate to find a new husband. So when she learned of a new man in the neighborhood, she approached him and said, "I haven't noticed you before."

"I've been gone the past 30 years," he replied. When she queried him further, he finally admitted he had been in prison during that period, for killing his wife with an axe.

"Oh, you're single then!" she excitedly replied. OM


Optometric Management, Issue: June 2008