I don’t begrudge anyone their choice of occupation. We are all called to do something and Lord knows there are a ton of jobs I would never ever consider. For example, I am thankful there are those out there with a burning passion to do things like give enema’s to elephants or oversee the curing of concrete. Employment is the wonderful engine of economic prosperity and full-employment is even better. Still, I occasionally find myself slack-jawed when the bill for some types of services is presented for payment. Again, make no mistake, I am a capitalist slut. Let the market set the price-point I say!
On a recent Saturday morning I was in the waiting room of my veterinarian. We were attending to an allegedly sick pup. The cute little booger was sick as a dog — pun fully intended. Now, if you have followed this blog even obliquely you already know that patience is a work-in-progress for me.
Judging by the stream, no, the torrent of critters coming in and going out of the vets office, I quickly came to the stark realization that Saturday must certainly be the Sabbath, a High Holy day for pet owners. I even observed to my wife, “Geez, I doubt it was this busy in the sick bay on Noah’s Ark.” I am persuaded that hardcore pet lovers don’t own a single pet, they trend toward kennels, herds, flocks, litters, and swarms — all seeking medical attention and/or quaffing on Saturday mornings.
In the span of 90 minutes the following unfolded before my very eyes:
Two very enormous canines came through the door dragging an owner that might have weighed 90 lbs. soaking-wet with an appointment to get their glands squeezed and nails clipped. “That will be $2oo for Sadie and Sallie.” That got my undivided attention.
Moments later two women carrying 4 bird cages delivered the “girls” to get their “toe nails” filed and wings clipped.” The attendant advises the fowl owner, “That will be $175.” I cocked my head sideways with the look on my face which said, “Why are we clipping the girls wings today?” Stupid question on my part; “So when they are loose in the house they won’t fly away.” No shit?
Then there was Thor, a slick-coated muscular Doberman who had his stitches removed following the old tally-wacker snip-snip and the tab comes to a cool, Cha-Ching! — $350. A slight sidebar if I might…….
The attendant counsels Thor’s owner:
“Now, make sure you keep Thor very quiet and whatever you do, don’t let him lick the stitches.”
(Alright Moore Dropping fans, don’t jump ahead of me!)
As you might guess, I am leaning forward, straining to hear the outcome of this communication transaction.
Owner: “And how exactly do I manage that?”
Attendant: “Well, we can sell you the Cone of Shame for $25 plus tax or you can purchase a tube of salve that tastes really nasty for about $10 bucks.”
I am holding back the urge to scream like a contestant on a game show, “Salve, go for the salve!!!” The look on poor Thor’s face suggested all he really wanted was an ice-pack and a complimentary tummy scratch, maybe an Advil.
It was about then I said, “Honey, I got in the wrong line at career day.” Oh yeah, our trip to the vet was $165 bucks.