Article Date: 4/1/2011

British Offices Have Funnies Too
lessons learned

British Offices Have Funnies Too

Contrary to what some may think, the British do have a sense of humour.

Jack Runninger, O.D.

Somehow, the British have obtained a reputation for not having much sense of humor. But I find the British dry sense of humor (humour in their parlance) to be delightful. For example, you may know the story of English playwright, George Bernard Shaw, being approached by a beautiful young lady.

“Mr. Shaw,” she gushed. “You and I should have a baby together. With your brain and my looks, the child would be awesome.”

“You're right,” said Mr. Shaw. “But what a catastrophe if the child turned out to have my looks and your brain!”

A number of years ago I witnessed another example of this dry humor.

Make do

“The English tend to ‘make do’,” explained Prof. Harry Freeman in a seminar during the International Symposium on Presbyopia, sponsored by Essilor, many years ago, in attempting to give other nationalities present a better understanding of English traits. “For example, if an Englishman has a hole in his shoe, he'll tend to ‘make do' and put up with it, rather than have it fixed.”

“Oh, but you must have a hole in your shoe,” interjected my late (and great) friend Ralph Drew, then editor of Optical Management, in his beautiful English accent. “Otherwise, you couldn't put your foot in it!”

After reading my column in Optometric Management about the humorous things that happen in optometric practices, England's W. Rex Wingate wrote to report what he termed “funnies” that had occurred in his practice.


ILLUSTRATION BY AMY WUMMER

The cricket umpire

“Misconceptions die hard,” Dr. Wingate said. “A rather elderly cricket umpire came to me for reading glasses. I also discovered that he was a poor 6/24 binocularly at distance, which corrected to 6/9.

“When umpiring, you would see much better with distance glasses,” I told him.

“'Oh no! I couldn't wear them! They would think I couldn't see.'”

“There was another occasion when I was considered to be some sort of magician. On taking a patient's P.D., I murmured ‘62’, at which the patient in astonishment exclaimed, ‘How can you tell my age just by doing that?!’”

“And then there was the young lady myope who requested, ‘Please don’t give me a full prescription. I like for the world to be in a bit of a blur.”

He also told of the man who came by to pick up his wife's new glasses, and tried them on himself.

“These glasses are no good!” he stated.

“We explained that the prescription was made to his wife's specifications, rather than to his,” says Dr. Wingate.

Nevertheless, when asked why he thought the glasses no good, he replied, “Because I could see better with her old ones!”

Want ads

I recently was told of some British newspaper want ads, that also illustrate this dry humor:

Free Puppies: Mother is a Kennel Club registered German Shepherd. Father is a Super Dog, able to leap tall fences in a single bound.

For Sale by Owner: Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, 45 volumes. No longer needed. Got married.

Wedding Dress for Sale: Worn once, by mistake.

Free Yorkshire Terrier: Eight Years old. Hateful little b**t*rd bites! OM


JACK RUNNINGER, OUR CONSULTING EDITOR, LIVES IN ROME, GA. HE'S ALSO A PAST EDITOR OF OM. CONTACT HIM AT RUNNINGERJ@COMCAST.NET.

Optometric Management, Issue: April 2011