These days, I am constantly reminded that we may all, sooner or later, be the star of someone’s viral video. Does this make you paranoid? Not me. It makes me grateful that I accomplished 99% of my craziness while big ol’ rotary telephones stalked the Earth. I can look anyone in the eye and confidently proclaim, “No! I never climbed onto Lincoln’s lap in D.C. in 1974!” No one can dispute that and, Gumper, if you do, I will hunt you down.
So, does everything that happens in your office stay in your office? Is that lady in the chair recording your every word and deed for posterity? I would just live my life as if the answer is “certainly.” Maybe your phone should be tuned in too.
Maybe we should use body cameras to film everything that happens in our lives! Imagine the drama as four million people tune in to hear you expertly explain astigmatism or watch you eat that bucket of fried chicken during your 10-minute lunch “hour.” (Note to my wife: I know about my cholesterol, so I never did that! Expertly explain astigmatism, that is.)
I am so glad my life was not on video back in the day:
• In optometry school, I wore big thick ST-25 bifocals because some resident in the vision therapy program diagnosed me with accommodative infacility as the root of my lazy study habits—and I could more easily sell that to my dad.
• I caught German measles my second year and spent a week in the shower to keep from itching, which was a marvelous excuse to miss 10 fascinating lab days learning how to make a hard contact lens from a lump of blue plastic. This would have been amazing on YouTube.
• I have had at least 17 days in the past 6,000 during which I examined a patient with my zipper down.
• My wife and I won a dirty dancing contest back when optometry meetings were more like breakfast with Caligula. I would actually like that to be online!
• After weeks of dealing with an annoying patient dissatisfied with the cheap glasses he bought elsewhere, I may have accidently stomped them into little pieces while adjusting them for the 67th time. This was absolutely worth the remake and could easily have been one of the finest unrecorded moments in my illustrious career.
• Rumor has it I once offered to meet an elderly diabetes patient’s low-life alcoholic son out back for a good old-fashioned butt kickin’ because he took such crappy care of his dad. The Police Department was less than 60 yards behind my office as well. He never showed.
• Speaking of police, I once found a sack of marijuana at that same back door. I wish I could prove by video that I immediately called Rodney, my patient and chief of police. Rodney, you know I did—and you never did develop glaucoma, did you?
• I invented the term “desk adjustment.” Some folks just cannot adapt to their new glasses, but if you leave them on your desk for a week and then dispense them, they are “much, much better.” Sorry, you’ll never prove that with a video.
Even today, we sometimes get lucky when someone can’t get their phone ready in time. I grandly, but humbly, visited a nursing home social worker yesterday to apologize for a communication SNAFU during our mobile optometry day. My head was awash with satisfaction for my honest admission, right up until one of my assistants informed me that my zipper was down.
Film at 11.