I guess it was last Friday. I was headed to the mall to birthday shop for the wife, and Dean Edell was on the radio. His show is easily one of my consistent favorites for his propensity to cut through superstition and BS. He’s a critical thinker and I can’t help but think that his methods of scientific inquiry and intellectual honesty have rubbed off on a lot of people over the years.
In this particular segment, which I got to late, he was talking about surveys of patients and what they find most important in a doctor. Sadly, and, you may have guessed it, it’s things like bedside manner, ability to communicate, and other such "essential" things that rank at the top. Knowledge and skill take a back seat.
Then there was a caller who indicated that when his knee needed putting back together, he was happy to have a top-rated, arrogant asshole for a surgeon. He won Dean’s hearty congratulations for focusing on what’s really important
Me too. When and if the day ever comes that someone has to cut me open, I want the most self-absorbed, arrogant asshole I can find who possesses the applicable skills. Why? Because, I’m not so gullible as to think that any surgeon cares about me much father than any professional cares about his customers, which, when you come right down to it, rarely proceeds beyond the context of the trade that’s taking place. I think you’d be naive to imagine it would normally be more than that (I imagine that children are often the exception).
It really goes deeper than to say that if the guy doesn’t really care about me, it’s good he at least cares for himself, i.e., his reputation, stature, and all that goes with it. What it really is, is that you’re always better off dealing with people pumped up with self-pride. When they screw up, they’ve got nothing to fall back on, like, how much they care. It should then be no surprise that they tend to screw up a lot less.
And so, without further ado, I give you one of my favorite movie clips of all time.