Sometimes it seems like a cop-out, but I do like to write about my Chairside travels. I guess some of you would rather hear about what my 83-year-old mom gave up for Lent, or my sons impending wedding, or my daughters move to THE Ohio State University, or my old optometry school roommates idea for the next Simon & Garfunkel, or something like that.

OK. Lets just do it all.

The Chairside World Tour recently visited New Mexico. I love the Wild West. And Dr. Alissa Irons and Executive Director Richard Montoya of the New Mexico Optometric Association went way out of their way to get me to the Land of Enchantment. The NMOA has a wonderful meeting with outstanding education in a, well, enchanting place. I must charge a lot because they coerced a total of TEN companies into providing sponsorship for my optometric stand-up comedy shtick. Considering the cost of doing business these days, I think its amazing that each company doled out $3.97 just so I could be there!

Where was I? Oh, yes. Moms Lenten decision. My mom is 83. She plays tennis three times each week. She goes out for margaritas with the girls. She keeps bottles of champagne and a packed suitcase in the truck of her Cadillac. She wears a different earring in each ear. Get the picture? So, shes on the phone with my brother in Texas, and he asks her what she gave up for Lent. She, the 83-year-old grandma, says, I gave up cussing on the tennis court.

I hope, please Lord, that when I am 83, I give up cussing on the tennis court for Lent. Thats amazing to me. I didnt even know she cussed.

My son, a third-year dental student at North Carolina, is getting married this summer to Ashley Finkbiner. She is wonderful, and I think of her as my daughter already. Poor girl. I still remember how hard it was to coerce a young Aaron Vickers to pick up one lousy sock. Ashley better start cracking the whip about the demise of poker night, etc., while hes still all moon-eyed and malleable.

My daughter, a summa cum laude graduate from Virginia Tech, starts dental school at THE Ohio State University this fall. One of my favorite CE presenters in optometry, Dr. Joe Barr, is a professor in the optometry school at OSU. This means that he is, as far as I am concerned, on call 24/7 for my daughter. Oh, yes, I have already told him. He knows. And, if HIS daughter moves to St. Albans, I will be there for her, of course. I know you can handle it, Joe. See you at her graduation in four years. Did I mention the Tuition Clause of the contract?

For three years at Pennsylvania College of Optometry, I lived with the incipient Dr. Marc Hecker. He was, and is, a very tolerant fellow as I was not a good roommate (unless you think a sloppy, noisy lout is a good roommate). Turns out, after all these years, that Marc and I have more in common than just our fond memories of him getting me through biochem and me throwing firecrackers into the shower at him. Hes kind of a folk singer. Hey, so am I. (Speaking of which, check for my rock and roll career news. Our colleague, Dr. B.J. Nibert is also involved.)

So, Marc and I could have been the new Simon & Garfunkel if we had each known about the others music back then. What do you think? Hecker & Vickers? Sounds backward to me. He had a better idea: Vecker and Hickers. I like it. Watch for our first single, A Bridge Over Troubled Lenses.

Vol. No: 143:07Issue: 7/15/2006