Article Date: 3/1/2006

lessons learned
Just Trying to Help
Too busy to read? Dr. Runninger brings you "just the gems."

I can understand if you dislike me. After all, being retired, I am often just struggling out of bed in the morning when you already have your nose to the grindstone. Although why you would want to put your nose to a grindstone is beyond me.

In an attempt to get back in your good graces, perhaps I can serve a useful purpose. I propose to occasionally save you hours of wading through a particular book by reading it myself, and then, eliminating the excess verbiage, give you only the pertinent or interesting gems.

"As a rule, books contain too many words," says humorist Dave Barry. "For example, take James Bond books. The plot is always the same, 'An evil person tries to blow up the world, but James Bond kills him and makes love to several attractive women.' Just 27 words. But the guy who wrote it took thousands of words to say it."


Thus I will save your valuable time by reporting only the pearls pertaining to communication precautions with your patients and staff, in a book I recently read, "Passion and Prejudice" by Leo Rosten. If you'll forgive a brief serious moment, I was impressed with his discussion of the purpose of life.

"People debase 'the pursuit of happiness' into a narcotic pursuit of 'fun,'" he says. "I cannot believe the purpose of life is only to be 'happy'. Instead the purpose of life should be to be useful, to matter, to have made some difference that you lived." Good food for thought!

But he also had some lighter moments in sharing communication problems. The first illustrates why you need to be certain any questions in your questionnaires cannot be misinterpreted.

On a job application, an applicant answered these items as follows:

Date of Birth: July 16, 1972.
Weight: 6 pounds, 10 ounces.
Height: 20 inches.


"One of the endearing characteristics of the English press is the deadpan with which it reports outlandish events," says Mr. Rosten in reporting this news item from Kirby Misperton, England.

"Government officials paid out more then 280 pounds to zoo visitors last year for articles stolen by monkeys. The number one stolen item was eyeglasses. These thefts mainly occurred when people bent forward to read the small print on a sign hanging on the monkeys' cage, which read, 'Warning: These monkeys snatch glasses.'"

Greed and gullibility

Mr. Rosten also points out that a combination of greed and gullibility can be detrimental to a person's financial health. He reports an ad in the Personal Columns of the Los Angeles Times, which read, "Last day to send in your dollar to Box 124." The scoundrel raked in thousands of dollars in responses.

Another of his stories further illustrates the point. Two partners of a clothing store devised a clever scheme to take advantage of gullible customers. "If the customer asked the price of a suit of the partner waiting on him, that partner would holler to the other partner at the back of the store, 'Sam, how much is this suit?'

"'Three hundred dollars,' Sam would call back. Feigning deafness, the first partner would say, 'My partner says it's $200.'" More often than not, this made the sale.

Please remember I am just reporting this, not advocating the practice for your optical dispensary!


Optometric Management, Issue: March 2006