Where did I go wrong?

Politics in the exam room can get heated
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Oct 01, 2004


Michael A. Obenski, vmd
Every now and again, a fight breaks out in my hospital waiting room. Usually, it is because a patient got out of its carrier or slipped off its leash. However, the last skirmish we witnessed was different. It was the people who were fighting, not their pets.

Libby Rail and Ken Servative were screaming at each other. Each addressed the other as either "Dumbo" or "Jackass." They argued about everything from the national economy to the local school board election. When I entered the room, they both tried to get me to join the fray. However, the last thing I needed was to take sides in a heated political discussion. For some reason, it seemed like a good time to quote Will Rogers. "I tell you folks," I said, "all politics is applesause." They wanted to know what that meant. "I don't have a clue."

I told them, "I just thought it sounded folksy and wise." They chose to ignore me after that. So, I decided to say folksy things more often.

"Here we go again." I thought to myself. Election day is coming and controversy over who should have won the presidential election still rages on in Florida, where many people there still feel that Dewey should have beaten Truman in 1948. If they ever get that settled, they will re-examine the election of 2000.

Hopefully, such places that use unreliable paper ballots will move up into the 19th century.

You see, the voting machine was invented in 1868. I know this because I checked with our research department, which is located on the second floor of my home. The entire department consists of an almost complete edition of the 1979 World Book Encyclopedia. (The M book is missing, and S-Sn volume has had the cover chewed off by the dog.)

Using the E book, I found out that the vote counting machine was invented by none other than the Wizard of Menlo Park himself, Thomas Edison.

That's right, before the phonograph and even before the light bulb, old Tom had this country's election problems covered. (Note from the research department; Edison never lived in Florida.)

Anyway, from now until the election, I plan to avoid getting into political discussions with clients. No good can come from it. I learned that lesson four years ago, and I learned it the hard way. It happened when I pointed out to Mrs. Ballot that politicians all know they can catch more flies with honey than they can with vinegar, but they also all know that they can catch the most flies with a shovel full of manure. How was I to know that she was running for re-election as county supervisor at the time? She stormed out vowing never to return.

She was back a month later though. It seems that after she left my office, she went to see my friend, Abe Raisive. He really turned her off by sharing his election-day philosophy. He pointed out that politicians are a lot like diapers. They need to be changed frequently, and for the same reason.