The Earnestness of Being Important

What is it with some jobs that make people think they are so superior?

receptionistaI once met my GP’s receptionist socially, and she had delusions of medical grandeur – she was so earnest and reckoned that she knew everything about every ailment and its treatment, and had firm opinions on diets, healthcare, nutrition, and the NHS in general. And people actually listened.

Yet, as far as I can determine, a GP receptionist is not a profession – she cannot be “struck off” – I mean, all she does is answer the telephone, call people in the waiting room, and hand out repeat prescriptions.

None of which my GP receptionist does very well. She gets prescriptions muddled, has a terrible telephone manner, and is disorganised and irritating – yet she’s venerated in the community.

At parties and other social functions, they have competition from people who work in chemist shops who also know too much, which is why, if I have to get anything from the chemists, I drive to a town far, far away, just to be on the safe side. It annoys me that they don’t seem to want to sell you freely-available, over-the-counter, creams and lotions without sticking their noses in first.

What is with all the personal questions? Just sell me the acne cream or odour eaters or whatever!

It’s the same even with hairdressers – I mean, who made them the arbiters of style, music, and fashion? Frankly, they seem to me to be mostly made up of sullen, foolishly dressed, and badly coiffed youths. No one ever complains about a bad hairdo, no-one returns to demand their cash – or hair back. It’s a racket. And you have to sit there listening to their opinion on what so-and-so was wearing last night, or where the latest lame club is. Like, duh,  I would ever be allowed in after they have butchered my hair.

Sadly my job affords no social status whatsoever. This is because I don’t deal with people. I’m lower than someone who sells jeans and jumpers. I have no basis to critique, judge or evaluate my fellow man. None at all. Therefore I am unimportant.

I went for an eye test last weekend, and the optician checked the computer and noticed that my last eye test was five years ago. Jeez, he took it personal. I was berated for leaving it so long – eye tests are so important to this guy.

Turns out that my eyes have not changed much since the last one, and he seemed a bit miffed at that, I reckon he wanted to find a serious problem so he could have said, “If only you had eye tests at small regular intervals we could have saved your sight.”

He was important enough to let me leave feeling that I was lucky… just this one time, but I’d better keep checking back with him or face the horrible consequences.

I get this at my dentist too; they get very upset if I leave it too long between visits. The atmosphere is tense and there can be tutting.

Actual Tutting!

Every time I go, I get roped into arranging a stream of expensive appointments as punishment. Is it any wonder I try to leave it as long as possible. I don’t get why hygienists are so expensive -over fifty quid for a 30 minute appointment that is usually only ever as long as about 15 minutes – and that includes the cross examination and lecture on flossing. That’s a racket too.

Is there even a qualification for cleaning teeth? But it’s the attitude that gets me – they are not real dentists, and dentists are not real doctors, and none of these are anywhere near the level of GP receptionist. Obviously.

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