Runninger, Jack

“I have serious legal problems, and want the best attorney in your firm,” the man requested.

Unbeknownst to him, the firm’s “best” attorney was female. So when she came into the conference room to meet him, he chauvinistically assumed she was a secretary.

“How about doing me a favor, honey,” he said as he glanced at her. “Go down to the coffee shop and get me a cup of coffee while I review these papers before discussing them with the attorney.”

“Be glad to,” she replied.

“Thanks, darlin’,” he said when she returned with the coffee.

“No problem,” she replied. “That cup of coffee just cost you $152. Two bucks for the coffee, and $150 for 15 minutes of billable time for my going after it.”


A couple of folks accused me of being chauvinistic, like the above gentleman, when in the May column I kidded about some of the idiosyncrasies of womankind that male O.D.s need to understand.

When I was a mere lad and became upset at being teased by a schoolmate, my father gave me some sage advice I’ve always remembered:

“You should take kidding as a compliment rather than getting upset about it. People only kid folks they like! Haven’t you noticed that if you don’t like someone, you ignore and stay away from him, but rather than kidding him?”

I enjoy teasing females. It’s not meant to belittle, but rather because I appreciate them. They’re sweeter better looking, softer, nicer and probably smarter than men. But I believe a healthy relationship between males and females can’t exist if we’re afraid to kid each other.

I agree with ladies who’ve suggested that males aren’t “foibleless” either, and that female O.D.s should also be aware of male inadequacies and differences so that they can better understand and relate to male patients and co-workers.

One of them got even by telling me a story which makes a man the butt of the joke:

“Stand back!” shouted a male bystander as he elbowed aside a lady bending over a pedestrian passed out on the sidewalk. “I’ll take care of this. I’ve had first aid training!”

“Okay,” replied the lady. “And when you get to the part about calling a doctor, I’ll be right here.”

The early vears

In grade school, I recall that all of us males resented the opposite sex. Probably one reason for this is the dirty trick the Lord played on us when he arranged for females to grow and mature sooner than males.

One of the worst memories of my life occurred when I was 12. Someone got the bright idea that ballroom dancing should be part of our cultural training. As far as I was concerned, dancing, especially with girls, was only for sissies.

I remember the humiliation and resentment in attempting to guide Louise Weiss around the dance floor. She was a head taller than me, and a whole lot stronger. Come to think of it, the experience was undoubtedly worse for her!


A few years later, resentment turned to abject fear. Around age 14 or 15, I discovered that Helen Judt all of a sudden became just as interesting as footballs and baseballs. And a heckuva lot prettier.

I was supposed to go to a school dance, and decided she was the one I wanted to accompany me. Everyone knew I was going to ask her (including, I suspect, her).

So help me, I sat at the phone every night for 3 weeks trying to get up the nerve to call her. I finally did, but recall sounding like a gibbering idiot.

The shock of the whole experience was so great, it took me 6 months to get up the nerve again to ask anyone for a date!

But, honest, I did outgrow these resentments and fears, and hope that female readers aren’t unhappy with me. Because, as the bumper sticker I saw recently says:

“If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

Copyright Boucher Communications, Inc. Sep 1999

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.