Article Date: 8/1/2012

CooperVision Launches Multifocal Daily Disposable
lessons learned

They Were Inquisitive

With an open mind, there's no need to fear the bull in a china shop.

Jack Runninger, O.D.

Way back in the late 1930's, I used to listen to a radio humorist, Bob Burns. He was a laconic country boy from Arkansas, and told many tales about his rural family:

“My drinkin’ uncle and his four boys got snowed in recently,” was one I remember. “After four days, they had completely run out of supplies, so one of the boys tunneled his way out and went to town to purchase what they needed. He returned a few hours later with one loaf of bread, and 24 bottles of whiskey.

“My uncle sez, ‘What in the world are we gonna do with all that bread!’ ” The other tale I still remember: “My aunt Emma is 85 years old and still has a complexion like a peach — yellow and fuzzy.”

The scientific uncle

The late H. Allen Smith in his book, Low Man on the Totem Pole (Bantam, 1948) related another Burns story, about his scientific uncle who dislodged a huge boulder from the side of a hill, and ran after it as it went crashing down the hill into town, demolishing many buildings before it came to rest. The uncle then carefully examined all sides of the rock.

“Nope,” he said. “No moss.”

“Jim Moran is that kind of a scientist,” continued Mr. Smith. “For example, he got to wondering which music best promoted making love. So he suggested an experiment. He would buy six pairs of guinea pigs. In one room he would place three pair and keep a phonograph constantly playing swing music. In another room he would place the other three pair who would listen to sweet music.”


We can reach a scientific conclusion as to which best promotes love making, by simply in a few weeks counting the number of baby guinea pigs in each room. Unfortunately he never got around to conducting the experiment.

Check it out

According to Mr. Smith, Mr. Moran should go down in history as one of the most inquisitive minds of the 20th century. While you and I tend to meekly accept profundities, Moran was made of sterner stuff. He made a habit of researching and testing such statements, rather than just accepting them. No doubt, the popular television show “Mythbusters” owes a debt to Mr. Moran. Among the oft repeated adages he tested:

As difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. He had a haystack set up in Washington, D.C., and a specially marked needle buried in it. It took him 82 hours to find it.
As destructive as a bull in a china shop. “People are always talking about a bull in a china shop,” said Moran, “but they have no scientific basis for the remark.” So he took a bull into a china shop in New York City, after agreeing to pay for any damages it caused. The only breakage that ensued was when an observer backed into a small table, and broke a few pieces of china on it. The bull moved carefully, and broke nothing.
As difficult as selling an icebox to an Eskimo. Mr. Moran made a trip to northern Alaska, and sold an icebox for $50 to an Eskimo, Charlie Pots-to-Lick, on St. Michael's Island.

The lesson?

Don't get in a rut. Your practice, and your life, are much more interesting and enjoyable, and less boring, if you'll keep an inquisitive mind in everything you do. OM


Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: August 2012, page(s): 18