Carolyn Hax: the veterinarian on leave is not at parties to discuss her loved ones’ dogs

Adapted from an online discussion.

Hello Carolyn: I love my family, I really do. I love my career. I’m a veterinarian (and my professional opinion is that your boys are handsome). What I don’t like is the seemingly endless parade of shirt-clad parents at wedding receptions who want to “just ask a quick question” about their dog.

I’m not at work. I don’t want to engage my brain at work. I just want to eat my stuffed chicken breast in peace. I tried polite refusals and sick vet humor. Nothing deters these people.

I know I’m not alone here and this question has already been answered, but can you offer some ideas? I don’t want to throw stale rolls at them.

— I don’t want to go to the doctor tonight

I don’t want to go to the doctor tonight: This goes against my own self-interest, because I really want you to throw bread products at people. But:

You have a bunch of perfectly workable deviations in your question alone. “I’m not at work.” “I don’t want to engage my brain at work.” “I just want to eat my stuffed chicken breast in peace.” “Don’t make me throw things.” “I won’t answer this question, but I will tell you where to find two of the most beautiful dogs of all time.”

You can even anticipate them in the “just ask a quick question” step: (raising hand) “I’ll stop you there. I am late.

We can go back and forth and wait forever to figure out what “turns off” someone, but the important thing is that you say no strongly and never answer any of these questions. Their levels of deterrence are then irrelevant.

With this problem resolved, we can now address the other problem: the rollers are obsolete. The couple spent a lot on the restoration so this is simply not acceptable.

· This is the problem faced by anyone who is a professional in any field. Accountants are asked about taxes, lawyers about how to get rid of that parking ticket. Photographers are welcome to photograph the wedding – for free, of course! And doctors are asked medical questions. I don’t really have any advice here; smile, bear it and know that you are not alone. Oh, and if the person asking the question has expertise that’s helpful to you, try turning it on them and see if they get the hint and/or teach you how to keep your begonias from wilting.

· Doctor here. When someone does that to me, I raise my hand and say, “Sorry, that’s a party mistake.” » The person usually laughs and gets the hint. Otherwise, I just say, “No, seriously.” And then walk away if necessary. But like the idea from the old scroll.

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· One day, a fellow church member asked my doctor son a medical question. He listened to him, took him by the arm and took him to the emergency room. It was stage 4 cancer and, in fact, the man did not live very long. Sometimes it’s a conversation over chicken jerky. Sometimes people really need help and so many things can prevent them from calling and making an appointment to ask the right question to the right person. I hope we can relax a little, listen to the people around us and help them if we can.

· A woman in our group approached a priest at our brunch and insisted that she needed to know the protocols for a Catholic funeral that did not include a Catholic mass. He looked her straight in the eye and said, “You must be dead.”


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