Most rumors I hear about our profession are specious and stupid. Remember the one about me dating Julia Roberts? That was just silly. We are merely close friends.

However, Ive heard another rumor that seems to be strengthening. It says that optometry will evolve into two (or more) levels of licensure. For example, Dr. Smith may be more optically oriented, fitting glasses and contacts, and dealing more with vision per se. Dr. Jones may be more medically oriented, providing full-scope medical diagnostic and therapeutic services for eye disease and injuries.

My crack investigative teamfrom locations across the United States and by the pool in Cancunheard that the Powers-That-Be are actually considering creating more than two categoriesmaybe dozens! Ive obtained information about several of these new O.D. categories and, in my never-ending quest for the Pulitzer Prize, Ill reveal them here.

OD-TRAV. We all know O.D.s who would fit right in with this bunch. They wander aimlessly from office to office: from self-employed private practice to the local ophthalmologists office to the mall to a clinic to a laser center to well, who knows? You can never find this doctors patient records. Come to think of it, you can never actually find this doctor.

OD-DOA. I believe this category will be very popular. This doctor shows up for his CE and then just disappears. He never serves on any committee, he refuses to hold any office, he never comes to any important meetings, and he is chronically late with his dues. He always looks like death warmed over and as though he slept in his clothes. I myself plan to fall into this category.

OD-D. This is the strange agent doctor. He might as well leave out the hyphen in the initials. Hes the one that everyone wonders about, with his 66 green Torino, half-chewed cigars and aura of danger. How the heck does he make a living anyway? We know he sees patients because every so often we get a new patient who shows up with glasses that are too big and every eye disease known to man. Yet each of these patients raves about good ol Dr. Strange.

OD-STAR. Impeccable more than successful, this doctor is married to a girl who was in your daughters high school class. Or, hes married to a girl whos a swimsuit model, even in winter. And, this doc is F.A.A.O. and has three ophthalmologists working for him in his penthouse office, when hes not at his beach house. I hope he drives his Boxter convertible into a swarm of bees.

OD-RET. This O.D. is the equivalent of those U.S. Army-Retired guys who are on TV fussing about the lack of decent haircuts in the military these days. What I love about these old-timers is that they fought in the trenches for our drug laws, they waded into the insurance battles we continue to face, and they still found time to toss back a bourbon neat at every local association meeting. Nowadays, its all white wine.

I hope this designation does come along so you young whippersnappers will know who to hang out with at O.D. banquets. Youll learn more before the entre from these docs than any optometry school can ever teach you. But drink real liquor or drink water. Either is better than Chablis to the O.D.-RET.

OD-DONE. These docs are burned out. Theyve given up. They just want to be left alone! Dont call em. Dont speak to em. Dont ever ask em a question. A simple Hey, hows business? can end up with this doc standing in court and you lying in the morgue. Oh, you dont think theyre out there?

Just ask me Hows business? Go ahead. Make my day punk!

Vol. No: 141:05Issue: 5/15/04