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Sweating behind the ears and other gems

By By Buddy Bynum / editor
July 27, 2003
Years ago, a friend of mine named David Shapiro was standing behind me one day in the lunch line. I remember him tapping me on the shoulder and saying, "Did you know you sweat behind your ears?"
No, I did not know. I knew I sweated everywhere else. In those days there was no air conditioning in the classroom. We had natural air and, man, could it get hot in the spring and fall.
I remember taking tests with my forearm held up off the paper so I wouldn't smudge the marks made with my No. 2 pencil.
I remember watching the left-handers in the class and marveling that they could write at all, but especially on hot days when their left-leaning writing meant they had to practically lay their left arm across the paper.
But my friend was right. I do sweat behind the ears. Little drops on a hot day pop out and find their way down my neck to the collar of my shirt. I try not to be annoyed. With every little trickle, I just try to wipe the sweat away and silently thank David Shapiro for bringing it to my attention.
In some ways, voters these days seem like those annoying little drops of sweat. We pop up every now and then in the heat of summer and fall, make annoying little trickles in the political process and, all too often, get wiped away by the people who would serve us in office.
Questions from newspaper reporters to politicians are like little drops of sweat, too. Especially the annoying ones like, "I [support, oppose or am undecided about] consolidating law enforcement in Lauderdale County, Meridian and Marion.
Or, I [support, oppose or am undecided about] consolidating other government services in Lauderdale County, Meridian and Marion.
Or, I [support, oppose or am undecided about] working with the city of Meridian to clean condemned property in the city limits.
Or, I [support, oppose or am undecided about] the county contributing an extra $2 million in addition to the $3 million already pledged for the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center.
Believe it or not, some candidates either do not want to answer these sorts of questions in advance of the Aug. 5 primary or are undecided about how they feel. And I thought we have election campaigns to learn which candidate best shares our views, then we vote for people we think can implement those views.
Given the reluctance of a number of candidates to tell readers of this newspaper their views on several major subjects, I guess I'm wrong. You wonder why some of them bothered to put their names on the ballot; if they're undecided, they obviously do not stand for anything.
I will say this: On Aug. 5 and on Nov. 4 I will look for candidates whose views I know, maybe even ones who, like me, sweat behind the ears.
HMO gems
Okay, I'll admit it, attorneys are good for some things and I credit my best attorney friend, who shall remain nameless for his own protection, with the following gems regarding health maintenance organizations:
Q. What does HMO stand for?
A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "HEY MOE." Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Moe of the Three Stooges, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget about the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eyes.
Q. I just joined an HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want?
A.. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors in the plan. These doctors basically fall into two categories those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer participating in the plan. But don't worry, the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a
half-day's drive away and has a diploma from a Third World Country.
Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?
A. No. Only those you need.
Q. Can I get coverage for my preexisting conditions?
A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.
Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?
A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.
Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache. What should I do?
A. Poke yourself in the eye.