Mind Over Miller: You must be old if you remember...


We tend to reminisce about the good old days, but not all things were rosier back then.

  • Performing abdominal surgery on dogs anesthetized with Nembutal or horses anesthetized with chloral hydrate

  • When telephone booths had doors so other people couldn't hear your conversations

  • Boarding and feeding dogs for $1 a day (50 cents for cats)

  • When daily newspapers cost 2 cents and magazines 15 cents

  • Practicing on a first-come-first-served basis rather than with scheduled appointments

  • Wearing a coat and tie or a nice dress when you traveled by railroad or on a plane

  • Being shocked to meet a female veterinarian

  • Assuming that people with metallic rings perforating their noses, lips, tongues, or eyebrows were from an exotic and faraway land

  • Being upset because the person pumping your gasoline forgot to clean your windshield and check your oil or because the fuel cost more than 40 cents a gallon

  • Apologizing for saying hell in front of a lady

  • Living in an apartment attached to your hospital for more than 10 years

  • Letting your children walk two miles to school without an adult

  • Having an interest-free credit account at the corner grocery store

  • Not being surprised to learn a classmate was expelled from veterinary school because he received a DUI or spoke disrespectfully to one of his professors

  • Practicing without malpractice insurance because veterinarians didn't get sued

  • Drinking the cream off the top of the milk because it was healthy

  • Being shocked when you heard that your neighbors were getting a divorce

  • Sharpening hypodermic needles and cleaning glass syringes

  • Respecting the president even if you didn't vote for him

  • When everyone you met thought that the United States of America was the best place on earth

  • Hog cholera

  • How to play marbles or Simon says

  • Losing a childhood friend to polio

  • Seeing four consecutive patients with canine distemper or calling it Carré's disease

  • Leaving your keys in the ignition when you parked your car or leaving your home unlocked

  • Clients asking if you had to go to school to become a veterinarian

  • Having brucellosis like all the other large-animal veterinarians

  • When turpentine, tincture of iodine, and soapy water enemas were essential parts of your therapeutic armamentarium

  • When veterinary conventions had hospitality rooms in which alcohol was generously dispensed and inebriated attendees were not unusual.

We tend to reminisce about the good old days, but not all things were rosier back then.

Robert M. Miller, DVM, is an author and a cartoonist, speaker, and Veterinary Medicine Practitioner Advisory Board member from Thousand Oaks, Calif. His thoughts in "Mind Over Miller" are drawn from 32 years as a mixed-animal practitioner. Visit his Web site at www.robertmmiller.com.

Robert M. Miller, DVM

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