I messed up. During the process of moving my office, I somehow allowed my American Optometric Association membership to lapse.

I didnt actually know this had happened until I went to a meeting for CE and later received a notice that I owed an extra $50 because I wasnt a member. That got my attention. My guess is that for the past year the West Virginia Optometric Association and the AOA have been sending me notices that just got shuffled to the bottom of the huge pile of bills because I was too busy moving to a new building.

I am, or was, a 30-year-member. I mean, I have written over and over about my respect for those brave souls who selflessly lead our profession past the lions and tigers and bears of this crazy world. All I am is a small-town doctor who doesnt have enough sense to get his dues paid on time.
My plan is to reinstate my membership. The paperworks here somewhere in my pile of things to do. I just saw it. Aha! Under this sandwich. Told you.

In the meantime, I am wallowing in the scary, dark waters of optometric solitude. (Despite my exclusion, I am still an optometrist.) I left a message for a local rib restaurant to call me about hiring my rock band. They havent returned the call. Probably heard about the AOA thing.  

Yesterday, middle of a busy afternoon, I suddenly experienced how shall I word this?extreme and persistent inferior bodily function distress. Never had that before I was thrown out of the AOA.

I cant find my 90D condensing lens. Never lost that before. Kinda makes you think, doesnt it?

I plan to rejoin because not being a member gives me the willies. This is no joke. When I write a prescription, I feel a little nagging doubt. When I call the lab with an order, I just know they know somethings changed.

This afternoon, I found a form letter from the AOA office. I got all flush with excitement. I figured the letter would invite me to get back on the team. Nope. Instead, it just informed me of the services I had lost by making the decision to quit. (It is more accurate to state that I am losing those services because I am a numbskull who lost track of things.) The letter included a survey telling me the AOA is disappointed that I am not a member anymore. The survey wants to know why I discontinued membership, as if I weighed the pros and cons and made a command decision about resigning. Surely, 99% of the docs who lapse just forgot to pay.

Somewhere around here there must be a very nice personal note that I missed. It probably reads something like this:

Dr. Vickers Monty,
You cant quit the AOA. We need you, man. We know you have always been there, dealing with legislators, representing us in presentations at schools and businesses, entertaining us with your column every month for the past 15 years, singing and dancing your way through state meetings all across the country, giving us some laughs, and celebrating our shared experiences on the front lines of the day-to-day practice of optometry.  

You are not leaving us. We want you back now. You cant quit the AOA. Youre too important. Dont wait until your spastic colon kicks in. Send the check today.

Your Pals at the AOA office
P.S. Welcome back, bro!

Im going to join back, letter or no letter. Hate to lose that rental car discount.

Vol. No: 142:8Issue: 8/15/2005