Article Date: 5/1/2005

lessons learned
Life Isn't Always Fair
You're not alone. Injustices also permeate other people's lives.
Jack Runniger, O.D.

Some of comedian Steven Wright's one-liners illustrate the fact that life isn't always fair:

No choice

If life was fair, none of us would be inflicted with so many patients who test our patience.

For example, the lady who griped to me that she didn't like her new glasses because they made her see her wrinkles better. She insisted we remake the glasses in a "weaker" prescription to eliminate the problem (without sacrificing her improved reading vision, of course). If it's any consolation, the same sort of thing happens in other professions.

A friend reported to me about a good samaritan funeral director here in town. He read in the paper that a lady in a nearby town was appealing for someone to give her a hospital bed for her ill husband.

The funeral director was touched by her story and phoned to tell her he would provide the bed, and moreover deliver it to her, which he did.

A couple of months later, the woman phoned to tell him he could come pick up the bed because her husband had died -- and had been buried by a rival funeral home.


No reward

Which proves the old adage, "No good deed goes unpunished." A golfing compatriot of mine also discovered the accuracy of this maxim.

When I hooked a drive out of bounds into the woods, he went to retrieve my ball for me. His reward for this act of generosity? While he was in the woods seeking my ball, a bird on an overhead limb splattered him good.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite cartoons illustrating the unfairness of life; it was in the "Born Loser" comic strip. The hero is walking in the park when a bird overhead splattered him also. In the last panel of the strip, he is looking up at the bird and saying, "For everyone else, you sing!!"

New drug?

A neurosurgeon friend tells of his experience with a fellow physician's wife that also illustrates the frustrations we must often endure in dealing with patients.

"I gave her some instructions and then told her I wanted her to go to the drug store to get a big bottle of common sense. And take a big swig of it each morning.

"As she left the exam room, she asked if I was going to give her a prescription for the medicine I wanted her to get at the drugstore."

What to do?

A prominent cardiologist in advising how to best eliminate stress in your life, gave as one of the rules:

"You should do things for your own satisfaction rather than for the plaudits of others. No one is paying that much attention anyway."

Life is easier if you just do what you know is right and don't worry about the consequences.

"The secret of life can be summed up in five words," once said Aldous Huxley. "You get used to it."


Optometric Management, Issue: May 2005