Tuesday, 24 April 2012

"You always say that"

Am I boring and predictable? It seems some of my patients think so. When I meekly ask the next patient, how are you? He merely replies, 'You always say that'.  I'm not entirely sure where to go with this one. I sometimes try, "How ya doing...how's it going...or wasting my time again?", but I just can't remember what I said the previous time, so I stick with, 'how are you'?  Perhaps I should have a code which I add on the computer to remind me which of my standard greetings I used?

A similar problem of forgetfulness arises with my barber, or should I say stylist-he certainly has to be more creative as the available number of hairs declines. Sometimes he charges me £10 sometimes £8. And he always says the same thing,  'How's the family? how's your wife? How's work?' I don't recall every reprimanding him.

Perhaps it's my fear of being boing. Many years ago I was on a preaching weekend at which each of us had to give a short presentation on a few verses of text from the Bible. The trainer for the weekend commended me afterwards and said, "Yes, thanks David.....bit obvious wasn't it"? Being obvious has worried me ever since!

I was reminded of this today whilst reading a column in the BMJ by one of my favourite writers, Theodore Dalrymple. Writing about The boredom of everyday life, he writes,

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a doctor who in his story 'The Teacher of Literature' wrote of a teacher called Ippolit Ippolititch.  Ippolit is a completely unimaginative man who never in his life says anything other than what everyone already knows. When he eats, for example, he solemly declares that, 'Man cannot live without food.' When a colleague marries, he says to him, 'Hitherto you have been unmarried, and now you are married and no longer single.' Even when he is delirious, he is incapable of other than the dullest banalities. Just before he dies, he mutters, 'The Volga flows into the Caspian sea....Horses eat oats and hay'.

I won't start to berate football commentators, but I am reminded of an idea form Becky Pippert and her book on evangelism, Out of the Saltshaker (still a great book); For God's sake make yourself an interesting person! No pressure then

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