Article Date: 2/1/2012

It Wasn't Her Fault
lessons learned

It Wasn't Her Fault

When getting a wake-up call, make sure it's from one of your patients.

Jack Runninger, O.D.

“Durn, I got me another peanut butter samitch,” said the eccentric Jim Bagby one day as he opened his sacked lunch at work. “I hate peanut butter!”

“Then why don't you tell your wife to quit making peanut butter sandwiches?” asked a coworker.

“Wouldn't do any good. I make my own lunch.”

There's lots of strange folks in this world. And I'm sure you've noticed that a great percentage of them seem to be your patients with whom you must communicate.

In the wee hours

A worried mother phoned a pediatrician at 3:00 a.m. to ask what she should do for her ill baby.

“Is your child a patient of mine?” the doctor asked, not recognizing the name she gave.

“Oh no,” she replied “Dr. Harlan Starr is our pediatrician, but I didn't want to bother him in the middle of the night.”

The same pediatrician once examined a bratty three-year-old who ran around the room destroying things, and hollered and cried continually.

“When do you want to see him again?” asked his mother at the conclusion of the appointment.

“When he gets his driver's license so can drive to the office by himself!”

Which reminded me of an experience my wife had. She, her first husband, and their four small rambunctious kids visited her parents for a week. As they drove out the driveway to leave, her mother waved goodbye, and said, “Be sure to come back to see us, after the kids have graduated from college.”

Not as smart as he looked

In communicating, you must also remember that sometimes you're talking with a person who may not be as smart as he or she appears. You probably remember the story about the three applicants for a position with the police department. As part of the test they were asked to search for special identification clues on a profile photo of a suspect. Each was asked separately to tell what they observed.

“The suspect has only one ear,” said one of the applicants.

“It's a profile photo so of course the pic only shows one ear!” said the exasperated policeman as he dismissed the applicant.

“He only has one eye,” guessed the second applicant, using the same reasoning, who also was dismissed with disgust.

“He's wearing contact lenses,” said the third.

“That's remarkable! You're right! How could you possibly tell?”

“Well, with only one ear he sure can't wear glasses.”


Golfing with George

Another rule of communication you need to remember is to be honest. It's not only the correct thing to do morally, but in addition, a lie will sooner or later find you out. Be like the man whose wife asked him, “Why don't you play golf with George any more?”

“Would you play with someone who cheats, moves his ball in the rough when you're not looking, and always records a score lower than he actually shot,” he replied.

“No, of course not!”

“Well, neither will George.” OM

Dr. Runninger has written a new book, Funny Female Foibles, a tongue in cheek, humorous discussion of the thought processes of men and women, and how they often differ. For ordering instructions, email Dr. Runninger at


Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: February 2012, page(s): 22