Proof that there's variation within the species

Mar 01, 2008

Mrs. Dizzy is one of my best clients. However, when you first meet her it doesn't take long to figure out that she doesn't have both oars in the water. Each and every office visit with her is a bit time-consuming because explanations must be simplified and then repeated several times. We don't mind. She's cooperative, loves her pets and, most important of all, pays her bills. (Everyone can't be a rocket scientist, you know.)

Those of us who are experts in the taxonomy of veterinary clients know that she belongs to the group classified as Dimus Bulbus.

Unfortunately, there are many members of that same client genus and species whom I hate to see walk in the door.

Rob Tuse serves as an example of the latter. This guy is so dense that light bends around him. He never understands what he's told, but feels the need to argue anyway.

Last week, the subject was worms.

"I just don't understand this, Doc," he said. "This puppy supposedly was wormed when I got him from the pet store. Now, you claim that he has ringworm and, on top of that, you claim that ringworm really isn't a worm. I think you and that pet store are in this together. How can a worm not be a worm?"

The man was actually getting belligerent. Each time I repeated the explanation, I simplified it a bit more until, eventually, the puppy could have explained it. And yet, somehow, Mr. Tuse seemed to think his problems were my fault in some way. After all, he said he "paid a lot of money for this dog."

Several famous quotes passed through my mind:

"A worm by any other name would smell as sweet."— William Shakespeare.

"A worm is a worm is a worm." — Gertrude Stein

And my personal favorite: "A Schmuck is a Schmuck is a Schmuck." — Obenski.

At any rate, his conversation with me obviously was putting quite a strain on one of his several neurons. As he stormed out, vowing to give that pet store a piece of his mind, I couldn't help but think that he could not afford to spare even a tiny piece.

Mrs. Dizzy was in the reception area when he left.

"Golly, Doctor," she said. "That man seemed to be upset. Anyway, we can't worry about that. We have problems of our own. I don't think Rocky can pee right. Remember, he had this problem twice before."

It didn't take long to determine that the poor cat's bladder was the size of a softball.

"Have you been giving him his special diet?" I asked.

"Oh, yes, Doctor. I don't give him anything else. I always try to do everything exactly like you tell me."

"Not even any seafood?" I responded. "You know we agreed last time that you couldn't give him fish anymore."

"No, no, no, Doctor, I never give him the seafood," she said. "Sometimes I put it on the floor, though, and he takes it all by himself!"

After that, Mrs. Dizzy and I agreed that Rocky was no longer allowed anywhere near seafood. (How can you not love someone who is so simple?) She apologized about 100 times for getting the instructions wrong and left quite happy.

Although it is true that Rob Tuse and Mrs. Dizzy are members of the same client classification, Dimus Bulbus, their personalities caused me to fine-tune the taxonomy a little.

Mrs. Dizzy is a member of the sub-species Dimus Bulbus harmonious, whereas Rob Tuse definitely is a Dimus Bulbus asspainus.