At a party, everyone kept bugging a doctor to get his opinion about their symptoms. He asked a consultant friend, “How do you handle people who want advice outside of the office?” “Simple,” said his friend, “I send them a bill. That stops it.” A few days later the doctor got a bill from the consultant.
I think it happens to many people who work in specialized professions. Doctors, lawyers, consultants, mechanics, therapists, teachers, actors, entertainment agents… even Comedians. Yes, comedians. We usually get, “How do I get started?”, or “Do you write your own jokes?” “How do you know what to write about?”
I think the worst thing we get, by far is “Tell me a joke.” I had a dentist say that to me at a party once. I said, “As soon as I see you pull someone’s tooth here, I’ll tell you a joke.” He got mad and stormed off. I’m not sure what “stormed off” means, but he left in a hurry and he was angry.
Authors get the same thing actors get. “So have you done something I might recognize?” I want to say something like, “Probably not. I write books for intelligent people.” But instead I just say, probably and leave it at that. I don’t think people try to be rude, they just don’t know how irritating their comments can be. And I’m sure I’ve done it myself.
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