The country club swimming pool not far from my home is a great social place where neighbors visit and watch their kids frolic in the water, when they're not themselves swimming laps, or just lounging about in the water, often with a drink and a story or two. Last year, I had an interesting experience there. In the pool house locker room for gentlemen, I noticed one day that someone had left dark blue swimming trunks hung on a hook outside the showers. No big deal. But the next day, they were still there, and the next, and the next. One day I said to myself, "Who leaves swimming trunks hanging here and doesn't even know they're missing?" The next day, same thing. I shook my head.
I think I had to travel for a few days, or maybe a week, to give some talks around the country, and when I got home, I decided to go back to the pool for a little exercise. Walking into the locker room, I couldn't help but notice - there were the same swimming trunks in the same place as before. I thought, "Really?" And, well, to make a long story short, my sightings of the shorts continued pretty much daily on through the summer. As the weeks passed, the blue bathing suit, as we say, stayed on the hook, like a flag flying in honor of missing items everywhere. "But who would use this locker room once, and forget his shorts, and never come back to get them?" I was puzzled. Most people who used the facility did so as often as I did, or nearly as often. Who would not notice their shorts hung up alone on this hook?
I told my wife the tale of the swim shorts, and some of the people working at the Sports Center complex that contains the pool. I'd regale them with the story of the forgetful idiot who loses his pants. I'd make it funny. We'd all laugh. And I'd still feel perplexed.
By the end of the summer, I remember walking into the pool house, seeing the now very familiar trunks once again, and saying to myself "I really do wonder who the idiot is who still doesn't realize he's missing these?" And then for reasons unknown to me, I walked over and looked more closely.
It took me a second before I had a stunning realization and said to myself, now this time out loud, "Oh. I'm the idiot."
And, yeah, the moral of the story is just a little too obvious. So, fellow physicians, join me and let's heal ourselves.