Every now and then, some colleague will say that I am NOT an average optometrist. But, usually, this argument is a constant insistence that I am somehow BELOW average. No one ever accuses me of being special, brilliant or important.

So, once again, I must prove my thesis that all optometrists are the same. Here goes:

1. All optometrists love stuff. We desire gizmos. We have a jones for turning knobs, pushing buttons, manipulating little tiny doodads. That is why every ophthalmic company in the world comes to our meetings to show us how we can turn more knobs, push more buttons and manipulate more little tiny doodads if we buy their stuff.

Of course, practice-management gurus constantly tell us that we should never turn knobs, push buttons or manipulate tiny doodads. Thats for the staff to do. That brings me to the next point

2. We hate people telling us what to do. We want to do what we want to do. If we want to close our office at noon on Friday, we wont ask permission. We will close it. Nobodyand I mean NOBODYtells an optometrist what to do and lives to tell the tale! Except for our significant others, state and national board members, third party payers, legislators you get the picture. Thats why you should read #3 below.

3. All optometrists are neurotic and paranoid. OK, you can argue that ALL people are neurotic and paranoid, but we take the cake. For highly educated professionals, we sure act as though we are not in control of our professional lives. We act paranoid, as if robots are going to invade and take over refraction. Thats just paranoid, right? Right?

4. All optometrists are ... (how shall I say this in the kindest possible way?) CHEAPSKATES. My God, how we hate to spend money. We will wear the same yellowed lab coat for 30 years. You know the one you had to buy in school? The one you bought when you weighed 130? Anyway, well sit at an ophthalmic equipment meeting as the rep spends two hours explaining the latest, greatest technology when we know damn well we aint buyin nuthin. Oh, we like gizmos. But, we already have a perfectly good thingy at the office. That crack in the trial lens is no big problem. If the old device was good enough for Helmholtz, its good enough for us!

Still, we spend ALL WE HAVE on upsizing our combo meal. Its the American way: Spend money on crap. I own 16 computers but use one. My deck has 12 chairs even though I do not know 12 people. I have 32 pairs of shoes. How many do I ever wear? Three. I was extremely upset by my toxic consumption recently. But I bought a $500 pair of cowboy boots and, you know, I feel much better now.

5. Optometrists are nerds. I told a kid in the office, during a cover test, to stare at the white square. He stared at ME! Its obvious. We are nerds.

If you are older than 46, you used a slide rule in college. Yes, you did. I did, too. If you are between 33 and 45, you used a business calculator, and you liked stats class. Yes, you did! If you are younger than 33, you have a PDA. Yes, you do! You nerd.

6. All optometrists are mensches. You know, good guys and gals. We are mostly benign, friendly, comfortable folks. This is a necessity in the people business. We are good people. But, if we are so good, why must we battle for our existence in every arena? Why, oh, why?

Have you learned nothing, doctor? We are paranoid, remember?

Vol. No: 143:08Issue: 8/15/2006