Monday, February 27, 2012

Hell's Waiting Room

Today I got the pleasure of spending some quality time in a doctor's office waiting room and I was horrified. Normally when a story starts like that you would expect my horror to be in response to a patient with a gruesome injury or a pool of dried pus in the corner. No, my horror was caused by something far more mundane than that. The reading selection was absolute garbage.

Actually I feel as though that my be an understatement. If the goal of this waiting room was to drive me insane to the point that they could throw a straight jacket on me and wheel me down the hall to psychiatry they damn near accomplished it. Luckily I brought a book with me in anticipation of a meager reading selection. I knew it would be bad, I had no idea how bad it would be. I know that from time to time I have pretty lofty expectations, especially when the subject is reading material, I tend to be a wee bit snobby. That being said I don't think I'm asking too much when I hope that there would be a Sports Illustrated or a Newsweek. Sure, it would be nice if they had a copy of The Smithsonian, The New Yorker or Inked (The finest magazine known to man, especially last month's issue when I wrote about Fat Mike from NOFX. God, I love self promotion.) but I didn't expect this to be the case. Even when factoring in my incredibly low expectations this waiting room went above and beyond in their efforts to bore the hell out of their prisoners, uh, I mean patients. Here's the list:

Highlights for Kids - A fine magazine for children. Personally I preferred Zoo Books but I spent many hours reading Highlights. 25 years later I can't say it really holds my attention the way it once did. This is as good as things would get.

Florida Doctor - Fantastic! A trade magazine about doctors in Florida. I only flipped through the pages quickly but I was not able to find an article ranking waiting rooms in Florida on the basis of their reading material, so this was of no use to me.

The Bible - I understand that it was a Baptist hospital and that others tend to be fans of The Bible but is it really the kind of light reading you want to get into before seeing the doctor? I'm already preoccupied with the ailments of my worldly body since I'm at the doctor I don't particularly want to start fretting over my soul as well.

A larger version of The Bible - I didn't pick this up so I don't know why it was bigger. Maybe it came chock full of extra scenes and commentary by the author. This being Florida I think it would be safe to assume it was in large print.

The 2007 Jacksonville Yellow Pages - I have to admit that I wasn't aware that they still produced the yellow pages in 2007. I'm 87% confident that this was brought into the waiting room to stand on while changing a light bulb.

That's it. If I had not been previously prepared I'm pretty sure I would have lost my damn mind. They didn't make up for the lack of reading materials with a television either. In all honesty I get just as irritated by TVs in waiting rooms but I would pick a TV over this Murder's Row of awful reading material any day of the week. At the very least I would have hoped for some toys or an aquarium to stare at, no dice. There weren't even any windows to look out of. As much as I despise going to the doctor I would gladly welcome whatever poking and prodding that were to come just to escape from the pit of boredom I was held captive in. Now that I put it that way maybe they were on to something. Turning your head and coughing wouldn't seem so bad once your brain had been turned into mush.

Please, don't fall victim to this trap. BRING A BOOK TO ALL WAITING ROOMS. You're welcome.

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