I have always dreamed of being a teacher of fine young minds at a prestigious school of optometry. You heard me. Stop laughing! This is a humor column, I know. But, Im serious this time.

So, imagine how excited I was when I contacted Dr. Robert Newcomb, distinguished professor of clinical optometry at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, and told him that I would like to come and offer my 28-plus years of experience to the graduating seniors. He enthusiastically replied, Who are you?

Apparently, not everyone in optometric academia knows me. Thats because I have mainly kissed up to optometric educators nearer to a beach than Ohio. Once he realized that I would bring my wife, Renee, who actually does know something about running a successful private practice, Dr. Newcomb said, Whatever. So, I tuned my guitar and took off for Ohio.

Half the graduating class was therethe other half had to wash their hair, so I was told. They had an opening act: a fine fellow who represented a contact lens company. He also supplied pizza and soda pop. The delivery of the food was late. (I heard that someone from a competing contact lens company cancelled the order.)

So, as we all waited, starving, I had my opportunity to speak before these wonderful seniors. I must have really grabbed them with my stories of life in the real world because they suddenly rose to their feet, cheering and applauding loudly. I was humbled and bowed low before them. Then, they rushed by me to get to the pizza that showed up just prior to their sincere ovation.

I knew that folks from Ohio were very nice people. After all, my lovely and intelligent daughter, Amber, is a student at The OSU College of Dentistry. She was there for my speech, forgoing important classes and clinics to support the old man. She takes after menever lets studying get in the way of her education.

So, as the 35 kids finished off the 42 pizzas, I continued to wow the room with amusing anecdotes and important lessons, such as: Proparacaine BEFORE gonioscopy, and When you yourself personally break or scratch someones glasses in the lab, always sincerely apologize for your staff members stupidity, and Organize the patients chart so you never accidentally think a patients nickname is CP when it is actually a medical condition he has. Not that anything like that ever happened to me.

Next, Renee told them we are more than just eye doctors to our patients. We are social workers, preachers, confidants, child psychologists, friends True healers in every sense. Yes, I guess that is important, but to trump that, I told them hilarious stories about the big E on the chart You had to be there.

So, between Renee, me, the pizza, my daughter, the contact lens guy, and Dr. Newcomb, I think my first step toward becoming a tenured optometric professor went pretty well. Nobody got hurt, and several of The OSU seniors told me that I should teach at the schoolafter they graduate.

And, I learned something, too. The best teachers always do. I have said something all across this country ever since I became an optometrist: I have never met a stupid optometrist who went to Ohio State. I have learned that this statement still holds true.

Good luck and Godspeed to all of our brilliant optometry graduates across the country!

Now, if only The OSU College of Optometry was at a beach

Vol. No: 144:07Issue: 7/15/2007