After bragging for several months that 2014 was my 25th year writing “Chairside”—and receiving many, many pats on the back, interspersed with a couple of folks who only read the column to let me know how messed up it is each month—I have now been told that 2015 is, in fact, my 25th year. So, please update your letters of praise for 2015.
Twenty-five years… that’s 300 columns…180,000 words… 4,012 “…”s as I still have no clue how to end my sentences… See what I mean?
I blame optometry. Nobody ever asked me to write about the other important subjects in my life, such as guitars, cowboy boots, cigars and the occasional libation. Of course, that did not matter because I just put those subjects and many more right into “Chairside” in clever ways like this: “I love cowboy boots and that reminds me of blue jeans and big ol’ buckles and those remind me of retinal detachments.”
We all know how funny retinal detachments can be, right? See, this stuff writes itself! Besides, the last thing you want to read in an optometry publication is stuff about optometry.
Hearken Back to 1991
“Chairside” started so a normal, private practice optometrist could express himself in Review of Optometry. Unfortunately, all of the normal optometrists were busy that week, so they called me. The good news is I have my two BS degrees, so cranking out a monthly column about nothing in particular is right up my alley.
I have even had moments of—in my humble, nonbiased opinion—genius. Who didn’t love Blind Bat Vickers? That got me the opportunity to perform with Bad Habits, the Eye Docs of Rock, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
Of course, I’ve had my share of average to below average columns––although I did win an award for the column I wrote about my dog dying, always a timely optometric subject. It’s interesting to me that the weakest articles get just as much attention as the better ones. Guess that means people haven’t quite given up on me.
But, it’s not always easy to come up with optometric humor month after month. Once you’ve written 40 times about how utterly hilarious phoropters are, where do you go?
In 25 years, I’ve always tried to talk about the challenges that you and I face personally and professionally with some little bit of humor. Many times herein I have mentioned Dr. Keith Shillington, my organic chem professor, who bitterly reminded me that I could “either laugh or cry” when I started a fire in lab. I chose to laugh.
Finally, when my little heart baby granddaughter, Grace, was facing multiple surgeries and dangerous times, my readers—you guys!—poured out prayers and donations and much love. I can never repay that, no matter how many times I write about how messy my desk is, and it surely is. But Grace is doing very well indeed!
Thanks to you, “Chairside” remains a team effort. So, keep reading. I am bound to get it right sooner or later.