To you young optometrists, right out of school, wet behind the ears, entering the real world, heed my words.

I know you newbies are thinking you owe a whole lot more money for your education than I did. (My student debt load would equal what some of you pay for one Starbucks Mocha Frappalatte Soy Espresso Grande.) With that in mind, let me give you something very valuableeven more valuable than money ... Wisdom.

Hold on! Dont turn the page just yet. Im talking about very important stuff. Very wise stuff. Stuff like, Whats a nosepad? or Wheres the mens room? Stuff you just dont learn in optometry school. Thats why I write this column: to help you young rascals as you search desperately for well, the mens room, for example.

Seriouslyand, by the way, the first important word I want to share is, in fact, the word seriouslywords do matter.

Here are some good words, and at least one word to avoid:

 SERIOUSLY. This word carries weight, injects gravitas. Seriously, you must dispose of your contact lenses every other week. See how that demands respect? Its so much better than saying Please! Please! Please!

If you say the word seriously at the start of the sentence, it means you are one serious dude. Say seriously twice in a sentence and you will elicit reflexive tearing.

But, be careful. Using seriously in certain contexts will not help you in any way. An example: Seriously, move that Harley out of my parking spot. In this situation, try Please! Please! Please! You may want to add one more please and perhaps a thank you for the broken nose.

 HUH. Avoid huh! This word is my wifes favorite. No matter what I say, she says Huh? I know dern well she heard me, because I respond to her huh with my own huh. She then responds to the original question or comment. For example:

Me: Renee, did we get Susies appointment scheduled?

Renee: Huh?

Me: Huh?

Renee: Yes, I paid it yesterday. (OK, she often just responds randomly, but thats because shes trying to drive me insane.)

So, why did she say huh? Simple. As a wife, she thinks whatever I say is stupid and a waste of breath. She is, as usual, correct. Likewise, if you say huh to your patients, they may also interpret that you think whatever they say is stupid and a waste of breath. While this may be so, saying huh to your patients will not help you get the kids through college or get you to retirement.

YES. Yes is a word that you must use. Its positive sometimes. But I like to use it as a weapon. Heres an example:

Me: How are your new bifocal contact lenses?

Patient: Theyre blurry.

Me: Yes.

Next patient, please.

See how yes shows that you completely understand the patients symptom? What? It doesnt help him, you say? I disagree. It helps him get back into glasses like the Lord intended.
You see, if you just learn to use the Kings English properly, you will not only have a fighting chance to build a practice, but you will also be an acceptable Wheel of Fortune contestant. What more could a young doctor want?

Vol. No: 142:6Issue: 6/15/05