So I’ve been a Celtics diehard since I was a little kid. And that takes me way back to the good ole days when Bill Russell and Bob Cousy used to use and abuse the Lakers on a yearly basis. Kobe Bean Bryant wasn’t even a glimmer.
You’d think somewhere along the school days line some big ugly Lakers bully would have set me straight. But since “Lakers” and “bully” are close cousins to military intelligence and bruin football and my probably adopted DNA includes a deep streak of sneakiness, nothing happened.
Last week, OM Dalila and I hopped on an early AM flight to Bean Town. We were hoping to learn a few things about internal practice systems, Little Italy, and small business strategies for a challenging economy (you’d think setting up shop on Las Tunas would have taught us that lesson long ago.) We battled through LAX and said goodbye to Dr. Tooth from 28,000 feet.
By the time we got to Phoenix, fellow Friendly Skies traveler Marilyn said hello, shortly followed by, “Why would anyone wanna be a dentist?”
So I hate myself when I knee-jerk a wiseacre proctologist/podiatrist comparison. And Marilyn had a soft, warm, inviting voice so I went about explaining why I love my career.
Folks really don’t answer a calling or live passionately because they fix pieces of anatomy or really understand human body zip codes. Learning, perfecting the implementation of knowledge, and sharing it is pretty exciting stuff; even comprising some of the tastiest spices of life. And gaining results that weren’t even on the radar when my parents were my age? Wow.
But pie hole, culo, or size 11s, the real reward and fulfillment comes from giving out some human gifts…like discovery, hope, and renewal. Transforming quality of life and building lasting relationships in the process is way bigger than any small business. And, it’s addictive.
So when I looked at Marilyn I was reminded of one lovely lady who got out of the house and drove somewhere alone for the first time in twenty years because she finally felt so comfortable going to the dentist (I think Singing Dental Assistant Kolleen came back with the Martinelli’s.) I thought about all the trusting folks who would live longer, happier lives just because they loved our hygienists. And I remembered a beautiful young woman who shared a full out, no holds barred smile…for the first time since 2nd Grade.
Sometimes it’s the journey. Einstein said, “Out of difficulty comes opportunity.” Especially when you’re looking for it.
So what I learned on the way to Boston and what I took away from some 30 hours of my continuing, continuing education was this: We may have absolutely no control over stuff like the U.S. economy but we are totally in control of being responsible for the choices we make and the opportunities we find.
And for patient and practitioner alike, why not be happy about both?