The wheel’s still turning, but the hamster is dead. One Brady short of a bunch. I like the ocean one because it reminds me of a bit done by the comic Ron White. In the bit he talks about the time he met a woman who was wearing a bathing suit made of sea shells which he held to his ear to find out if he could hear the ocean. Maybe you had to be there.
All day I’ve been operating as though I was one Brady short of a bunch—I actually have cufflinks with Marcia Brady’s picture on them, but we’ll save that for another day. The day’s highlight revolved around my daughter’s doubleheader field hockey matches–third and fourth grade girls. Their opponents looked better, older. In fact, I thought I saw one or two of them drive themselves to the field. Forty-eight degrees, first game at 8 AM. Not enough time to grab breakfast and get to the game on time. I dropped my daughter at the field and headed to a nearby convenience store to buy her a donut. As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed that I needed gas, so I figured why not multi-task it. I inserted the nozzle in the tank, went into the store, purchased a donut, and proceeded to drive away.
For the metrics lovers, those who like order over chaos, those whose desk is always neat, have you discovered my Brady moment? My purpose in going to the store was to buy a donut, not gas. My mind was focused on the donut, not on the gas. Once the donut was resting safely on the passenger’s seat my mission was over, or so I thought. Something was gnawing at me as I pulled away from the pump, something that flared at me in my rearview mirror. I knew what it was a full second before my body got the message to react to it. “Hit the break,” my mind screamed. I could see what remained of the black gas pump hose as it pirouetted helplessly behind my car. I fully expected the entire gas station to be consumed by a giant fireball like the one at the conclusion of the movie Rambo. Once I was convinced that neither I nor–it turns out that neither nor does not violate the rule of using a double negative in a sentence–anyone else in the vicinity was in mortal danger, I exited my car and walked to the pump.
My first reaction, and I don’t know why, was to see if the pump was still charging my credit card. Selfish? That means that subconsciously I had already made the decision to flee, but that I didn’t want to flee if my charge card was still open. I retrieved the severed hose from the ground and inserted it in the pump, thereby closing out the sale on my credit card. I looked around. There wasn’t anyone who had witnessed my little AARP moment. Since they hadn’t, I figured why bother anyone. Kismet; my turn on the hamster wheel.
I’m convinced it’s the little things that determine whether your initiatives succeed or fail. It’s usually nothing tricky, nothing that requires two commas worth of new technology. It’s being focused and being committed to excellence in the menial tasks which comprise each patient interaction, especially those that occur outside of the office. What little things are being overlooked in your practice? Could social media solve some of these? In a heartbeat, and for a cost that would surprise you.
Oh, and don’t forget to hang up the hose when you’re done.