I have a buddy, Larry, who rents apartments and houses to folks. He says that when they come to see the property, the first thing he does is take a good look at the back seat of their car. His theory is that they will treat his property just like they treat their own cars back seat.

This means that he would, for example, NEVER RENT TO ME, as my back seat is filled with very important guitar parts and random gum wrappers that probably once had sentimental value.

Like Larry, though, I believe that the waiting room is an accurate reflection of the doctor. For example, lets consider the reading material stacked here on my old end table:

The Far Side Gallery by Gary Larson.

The History of Rock and Roll.

A coffee table book full of photos of little babies dressed as flowers by Anne Geddes.

A childrens Bible in Pictures by God.

Three copies of Rolling Stone magazine.

A three-year-old copy of GQ.

A three-year-old copy of Esquire.

A three-year-old copy of Mens Journal.

Four kids books with half the pages torn out.

Two copies of Diabetes Forecast magazine.

I dont feel too bad about any of this reading material. The Far Side book is probably the most popular one I have, followed by The History of Rock and Roll, which was the textbook for the only crib course my son ever took in college. Looking at my list here, I must have had some kind of midlife crisis three years ago. I dont know how else to explain the mens magazines. The rest of my list includes standard fare in any waiting room, I think.

How about the furniture? Our beloved founder, Dr. Bodie, put a lot of money into these genuine artificial leather-covered, solid wood chairs. I could never afford something so nice. My plan is to reupholster them, since they are now splitting and leaking what could be asbestos, for all I know. This plan began the minute they started splitting and leaking in 1986, and I am as determined as ever to get this project started. Maybe next week

How about the hair gel and hairspray stains on the wall above each chair? These form the day your first patients sit back in their chairs. There is no known cleaner that will remove these from your hapless walls. If you paint over them, they will leech to the surface. Gross perhaps, but as a positive thinker, I regard them as part of my retirement plan. Im confident that sooner or later, one of these grease spots will look enough like Mother Teresa that Ill be able to make a killing on eBay. I may start handing out pomade samples to accelerate my chances.

Anything else? We have a little ceramic heater in the corner. That little heater makes a big difference when the temperature drops to single digits in February. It works so hard to unthaw my patients in the winter that I just dont have the heart to pack it away in the summer. The heater deserves a place of honor. Also, I know myself much too well to put the heater away that means I would actually have to go find it again this winter. Seems like a lot of effort when its already sitting right there where well need it in four or five months.

So, that is my waiting room. I challenge you to sit in yours today. If Mother Teresa appears on your wall, please call me. Ill bring a drywall saw.

Vol. No: 145:10Issue: 10/15/2008