Hitting a Nerve

Courtesy: It’s not so common anymore


Earlier this month one of our dogs needed surgery. Early one morning I dropped her off at the veterinarian’s office.

About 10 minutes after leaving, they called and asked me to come back and get her. The vet had called in sick, so all her surgeries for the day had to be rescheduled.

Dr. Allan M. Block, a neurologist is Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dr. Allan M. Block

It’s a pain in the rear, but what can you do? It happens to the best of us. My staff has had their share of times where they had to frantically call and reschedule patients when I was too sick to work.

So I drove back and waited in line. Most people were understanding, but some less so. The lady in front of me was demanding her dog’s surgery (which hadn’t happened yet) be free due to her being inconvenienced. A staff member at another desk was dealing with an angry man who was demanding the veterinarian’s home phone number.

When I got up to the front I picked up my dog and rescheduled the surgery for 2 weeks later. The young lady at the desk handed me a reminder card and said “Thank you for not yelling at me.”

How sad is that? Is this what our society has come to, where people feel obliged to thank you for not being an ass?

Common courtesy should be the rule rather than the exception, right? What’s wrong with politeness?

Yeah, going back to have to get my dog and reschedule her surgery is an inconvenience, but that’s about it. Certainly not something to get worked up over, or to scream at another person who’s just doing their job. Getting sick is part of life. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to you, and on this day it happened to our veterinarian.

Our supposedly polite society seems to have gone in reverse during the pandemic, though the change had probably started before then. Although we all went through it together, for some it’s removed the thin veneer of civilization, leaving them angry, bitter, and hostile over things that are beyond the control of mortals.

Whatever happened to the Golden Rule? It takes less effort to be nice than nasty, and it’s definitely better for your blood pressure.

I really don’t understand this. What’s to be gained by going through the world angry at things you can’t control? Especially when they’re so minor, like having to reschedule a veterinarian’s appointment.

It just ain’t worth it to be like that. For you, or the innocent person you’re abusing.

Dr. Block has a solo neurology practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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