RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

Doctor Curmudgeon®: Another Stupid Question!


By Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAFP

It is true.

Doctor Curmudgeon® can be a curmudgeon.

The infinite knowledge of Google, on site, defines us curmudgeons as “curmudgeon “Old, cranky, and more than a little stubborn.” That seems to fit quite well; however, Merriam Webster says: “Definition of curmudgeon…1: a crusty ill-tempered, and usually old man.”

This particular curmudgeon may be old, but she is not a man, and not always ill-tempered. She may be called crusty. Somehow that seems an apt adjective for her.

Actually, I have several questions, not merely one stupid question:

1. Why do drivers keep beeping their horns when traffic is bumper to bumper; when we are all waiting at a red light; when a train is passing in front of us?


This does not cause the traffic flow to resume.

My wonderful car is still unable to leap over all the other cars.

The beeping horn is not a soothing sound.

2. Why don’t patients return my phone calls? I call and leave messages and yet these calls are not always returned. We send letters to please contact us as we need to review results of studies or the patient needs to come in regarding their diabetes or blood pressure or….whatever.

And when and if we can finally reach the patient, the usual response is that they received the message and are just too busy to deal with it.

Hmm? Your health? Too busy? You don’t return my phone calls…why? To quote an old friend, “What do you think I am? Just a chunk of old chicken liver?”

3. And another question with a great big sigh: Why don’t you call us to let us know you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment? We do understand that there can be exigent circumstances where you cannot call. Most of the time, we get responses such as “Oh, I felt better and so I didn’t keep the appointment.” Or the ever popular, “I was just too busy.” And we are not busy? Puh-leeze. Please, just call us. Let us know.

4. Why do I see people with packages ensconced in their arms, trying to leave a store and the person ahead just rushes through, allowing the door to slam in the packaged person’s face? What is so wrong with holding the door open for a few seconds? Just a couple of seconds is all it takes.

5. Why do people screech at the clerk to hurry up and get people checked out faster? That person is doing the best he/she can and yelling just does not help.

6. Why is it so rare to hear a simple, “Thank you?” This is such a soothing word. We all need some appreciation now and then. Makes us feel good.

5. “Excuse me” or “Pardon me,” This is wonderful if you bump into someone. Don’t just barrel into me and run on. Things happen. “Pardon me” does help when you’ve almost knocked me down as you race for the elevator and push ahead. That elevator does not go too many places and will be back soon. Remember, that it can just go up and down and cannot go sideways, if that is what you

I really have to stop before I offend too many more people.

It really is just one question:


Actually, there is a sub-question here or corollary:


Doctor Curmudgeon® is Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D., a physician-satirist. This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors.

SERMO www.sermo.com “talk real world medicine”

[si-contact-form form=’2′]