Case of the Used Toothpick
something "crystal clear" can be quite a challenge.
Jerry Clower always enjoyed telling stories about his countrified friend, Marcel
Ledbetter. One he told was about a time he took Marcel with him to Boston and took
him to a fancy restaurant:
got through eating and walked up to the cash register. A good-looking lady was sitting
up on a tall stool and had gold chains around her neck, diamonds on her fingers
and she even smelled good.
"While I was paying the check,
Marcel reached over to a bowl of loose toothpicks, got him one, and commenced to
picking his teeth. He was picking 'em good. The lady stared at Marcel. So Marcel
put the toothpick back in the bowl and said, 'Lady, I'll bet you a lot of folks
use them toothpicks and walk off with 'em.'"
he misunderstood what you're supposed to do with used toothpicks. Often optometrists
also have problems with patients who misunderstand.
"An attractive female patient who was interested
in LASIK wanted to know if she would feel anything during the procedure," writes
Dr. John Muellerleile of Owatonna, Minn. "She asked, 'Will they seduce me?' I think
what she meant was 'sedate.'"
Children most often are the ones who
misunderstand. This is the reason you must be careful in how you pose questions
to them. For example:
"What do you have to do before asking
God to forgive you?" asked the preacher of the Sunday school class of ten year olds.
"Sin!" said one of the boys.
Dr. Michelle Ahumada, of San Juan Capistrano,
Calif., also e-mailed me to tell about an experience with her brother:
"I come from a Catholic and partly
Italian family. When my brother was about four or five years old, my mom looked
down at him one day during mass when the Hosanna was being sung.
"Rather than, 'Hosanna in the highest,'
she discovered my brother was singing, 'Lasagna in the highest.'"
Another email came to me from Dr. Thom
Freddo, who is Professor and Vice-Chairman for Research in the Department of Ophthalmology
at Boston University School of Medicine and also President Elect of the International
Society for Eye Research (the first optometrist elected to this position.)
"Until recently, I have always parked
in Parking Lot A at BU Med. Thus I had a parking sticker on the windshield of my
car that read, "A LOT." Given the hours that I work, my daughter, Catie, told me
that for most of her childhood, she had interpreted, "A LOT," on the sticker as
signifying the amount of time I was parked at work."
Perhaps the best example of misunderstanding was
one I read in a newspaper column about religious humor:
"Can you relieve me for a few minutes
here at the pearly gates, so I can go to the restroom?" St. Peter asked of Jesus.
Jesus agreed. A few minutes later an
elderly man appeared at the gates seeking admission.
"Before we decide, we need to know
a little bit about your life on earth," Jesus told him.
"Well," the man replied, "I was a carpenter
and I had a son who was dead and then came to life."
"Dad?!" asked an astounded Jesus.
"Pinocchio?" asked the equally astounded
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Optometric Management, Issue: July 2006