“Doctor”, “Doctor” …

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For two days I was treated to the honor of being called “Doctor”, and chased after, as if I were a person of importance. Now I know how the other half lives. At first I assumed it was the suit. Then I assumed it was the slight graying on top. Maybe the erudite demeanor? They just persisted in treating me with honor and asking me my opinion. At first I recoiled and mumbled something dismissive. Then I began to play along. I would simply repeat the big words they used and add some little words of my own. It did not seem to matter what I said, since they all gave deference.

So what is this all about? Well the truth is that I was at the Hinman Conference on Dentistry in Atlanta and I happened to have a badge of a certain color. Now mind you, I was interested in some of the items shown. In a kind of curiosity I would have about the latest radio controlled model airplane technology. But they thought I might buy something. What would I do with a new dental drill? “It can cut the shell from an egg and not tear the membrane beneath.” That’s cool, but I just crack the shell and drop it in the pan – my main concern is that the yoke is not broken.  Oh, and here is a new CAN-CAM machine to make crowns. Out of zirconium no less. It looks good enough to be on a chain around your neck! Stronger than the original tooth. I wanted to have all my teeth replaced with these things! I guess that is next.

So where am I going with all this?

From the sublime to the silly:

All day I could not get two movies out of my mind. One was Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo Dicaprio and the other was Spies Like Us with Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. These images in my mind caused me to laugh out loud at inopportune moments when someone was explaining why caries detection (cavities to most of us) was more like high contrast photography or why their digital x-ray sensor felt better in the mouth of patients. Catch Me If You Can is the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. and how he was such a good conman that he ran the night shift at a large city hospital, even though he had no training! Spies Like Us includes the scene below where the two main characters pretend to be doctors and almost pay the ultimate price when their patient dies during the operation.

So, what’s next? Well I think there will be a knock at the door and an agent of the Government Agency of Impostorology and Shenanigans will pay me a visit and I will be taken to the Gulag. I hope I get my one phone call.

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About the Author:

While I was at Stanford, I got to know Dr. William Schockley, the inventor of the transistor. While at Bell Labs I produced the first computer generated animation, I worked on the first packet switch and the first picture-phone. I worked with the inventors of Unix and C. I produced multiple compilers, operating systems and microcode. I worked with the Snobal language - the precursor to Perl and Ramis the precursor to SQL. The building I worked in was home for 5000 of the smartest people in the industry. We had Phd's cutting the grass. (just kidding). I never had it so good again. Today that building is empty and for sale. After the Bell System, I spent 25 years in the satellite industry. I led development teams in the VSAT industry. I started and grew early stage companies in this industry. Recently I have been involved in cloud computing startups focused on infrastructure and virtual desktops.
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