Wonders of the World?

Published 7:18 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

With the rancor running rampant in the world today, it’s remarkable that the Seven Wonders of the World are staying stitched, at least so far.

This day, I cite three personal “wonderments,” none of which rises to the level of minutia. They have long been bewildering to me. Perhaps you’d prefer making your own list.

Your call.

Recorded messages: We’re all weary of the worn response about how much our calls are appreciated, but are disappointed that typically “associates are busy assisting other customers.”

My curiosity is piqued by this frequent reminder: “Please listen to the following prompts, since some of them may have changed.” Oh, really? Has anyone ever learned–beyond reasonable doubt–that any prompt has ever changed? Further, when one prompt leads to another, to another and to another, are we finally justified in wondering if our calls are all that important?

Is there a better gamble to reach a “live” person quickly than to immediately hit “0” at the outset of recorded messages? I wonder.

Does anyone else tire of TV newscasts invariably beginning with these words, or something akin thereto? “Breaking News.” (Brace yourself. If news gets worse, we may be in for “compound fractured news.”)

It’s a given that most items following lead-ins constitute “bad news,” but these unchanging openings cause me to wonder if the networks really believe we “buy” their pitch that each newscast opens at the precise moment a major event occurs.

I dream of the day when some of the newscasts open with “mending news.”

Each of us has a memory of larger-than-life figures believed to best typify THE OLD WEST. How about The Marlboro Man? Roy Rogers? The Lone Ranger?

My vote goes to Dr. Marvin Knight, the Stetson-wearing, cigarette-smoking surgeon who roamed the Dallas Cowboys’ sidelines for 27 years. He never had a contract with the team, and never cared if he did. Devoid of pretense, he was recognized as a world leader in orthopedic surgery.

No wonder injured players checked into the 18-bed Muenster General Hospital, where Knight preferred to conduct surgeries during his final 16 years of practice. This allowed him to return to his beloved ranch ASAP. Next to “doctoring,” that’s where he most liked to be.

Books could be written–and should be–about this pioneering physician who introduced orthopedic surgery to West Texas. His was a revered name and stories of his experiences are legion. And he was as good at telling them as he was performing surgeries.

Patients came from miles around, particularly for knee surgeries. One he spoke of was a highly successful knee fix-up of an immensely wealthy woman with vast ranching interests.

After several follow-up visits and declared ready to resume normal activities, she mentioned she had yet to receive a bill for the surgery.

“I know,” Dr. Knight said. “I’ve been thinking about sending one, but I can’t decide how much to charge.” The woman bristled. “I’d like to be billed at the going rate,” she snapped.

“Oh, that it could be so simple,” Dr. Knight explained. “More than half of the surgeries I perform are on patients without portfolio.” He said he never expected to get a dime from names on his, uh, “deadbeat list.” She asked what he expected her to do about the ne’er do wells.

“I was thinking of triple-billing you to cover your surgery and for two others who didn’t pay.”

Again, she objected, saying she’d never pay on this basis.

That’s pretty much the response I expected,” he grinned. “Paying is your option. If you choose not to, I’ll just add your name to my deadbeat list.”

She wrote the “check for three” before leaving the office.

When he died at age 91 in 2000, one of the nation’s most distinguished–and most colorful–went on to glory. He may not have been the eighth Wonder of the World, but he came close.


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.