Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Monday, August 8


This email was forwarded to me by my mother:

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner
(sic) for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

I’m not even going to touch the fact that Charles Schultz is being tacked onto this as a cheap enticement to read something that has nothing to do with him, because that’s obvious.

This thing is a card trick.

In the first list, we’re asked to name specific people who the questioner is thinking of. In the second list, we are asked to think of people who have done vague things that we found important.

If we are to make this fair, the first list should ask us to name 5 people who are wealthy, have won academy awards, or whatever achievements you would like.

Or the second list should include asking us to name 5 soldiers that died defending our country, 2 inventors of vaccines that allowed us and our parents to survive childhood, 4 politicians that funded public school systems, 4 people from the HR department that hired and retained the teachers who aided your journey through school.

We should be expected to name our mother’s obstetrician, the minister of our friends who helped us through a difficult time, the person who had a crush on us in high school but was too embarrassed to ever tell us about it, 7 people who were not chosen for jobs or promotions that we received.

And if caring was really a lone criterion for making a difference in our lives, stalkers would be more important than even our mothers.

The real lesson: we are stupid and cruel creatures who are capricious about attentions, focusing on our tiny lives more than the good of our country and our fellow man.

Well, actually that’s not a reasonable conclusion, but it’s no more unreasonable than the other lesson.


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

I actually liked the email a lot.


Blogger hot babe writes:

For a minute I thought it was Wed. Then I read on.


Blogger dan writes:

Emails like this are pseudo-inspirational. They are motivation for the illogical. They are second rate Dr. Philisms.

But they are better than those chain emails.


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

For your delivery, your Mom had a GP, Dr. Edwards.


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