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July 8, 1974

The Counterattack

JAMA. 1974;229(2):191. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230400053035

One of the minor vexations of a physician's life is the overflow of his professional charisma into his social orbit. I think it is gauche and a trifle thoughtless to talk "hard shop" at social gatherings. Lawyers get it a little; ministers somewhat less, but physicians are prime targets. Since everyone is equipped with a body that tends to sag or run down or misbehave from time to time, everyone is concerned about health and the lack thereof.

And there seem to be no taboo subjects. Relative strangers will bring up subjects in the presence of other relative strangers that will curl your hair, while they casually decant a martini or munch an hors d'oeuvre.

I suspect that since medicine has taken to invading living rooms and bedrooms through the medium of the terrible tube, people feel that turnabout is fair play. Nevertheless, it can get downright bothersome. You may