Non-compete clause and doctor’s karma

I am a respecter of laws.

I keep my word, just because

     The reason for smiles

     Thirty good miles

And a standard non-compete clause


In December of 1978 I went out to Mongolian Barbeque with Lynne, one of my medical school classmates in Saginaw, Michigan. 

“It’s funny, you know, this karma happens when you get into med school,” she said as we sat in a booth.  “I noticed as soon as we started clinical rotations that people would just start opening up about their medical problems.”

The waitress brought the hot and sour soup and egg rolls.  As two women sat down at the next booth one of them started talking about her rheumatoid arthritis.  Lynne and I shot each other looks.  While paying our tab, the two men in front of us talked about their blood pressure.

Thus it has continued ever since.  People who don’t know my profession, people who don’t even know I’m listening, talk to me about their medical problems or talk about their medical problems within in earshot.  I doubt people talk more about their health now than they did during my musician days.

While eating nachos at a friend’s restaurant this afternoon, another restaurateur walked in.  He’d never met me, he didn’t know my profession.  While he mixed himself a Keystone and Clamato he pulled up his pant leg and showed me the bruise and swelling of his knee.  He’d fallen from a boom truck onto the point of the knee.  I resisted the urge to tell him what to do for his problems, starting with alcohol abstinence.

The non-compete clause of my contract went into force today and I have no intention of violating it.

I am a man of my word. 

It also gives me another reason to go walkabout. 

I met with the insurance agent today, finalizing details of my medical malpractice insurance; it will cost me about a month’s earnings. 

I went to the office and took down some pictures I had forgotten.  I also took my photographic portrait that had hung in the front.

My office manager asked me about keeping my name on the glass door.  Did I want to keep my name up?  Did I want to put the word “Retired” after it?

I admit I had to think.

“Take it down,” I said.  “I’m not retired and I don’t work here anymore.  I don’t want to mislead people with false advertising.”

I stopped into the break room and had a piece of cheese pizza from the stack of sixteen pizzas, brought in by the pharmaceutical manufacturer’s rep.

He came in while I munched and listened to the staff’s conversation.  I’d not met him before.  I dressed in shorts and a button-down shirt, certainly not what a working doc would wear.

He didn’t introduce himself, and I didn’t have to sit still for a sales pitch.


I got a lot done today: I cooked Bethany and me breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, spaded up the garden, exchanged my computer at Best Buy, bought reeds and miscellaneous for my new sax, met with the insurance rep, stopped at the office, went grocery shopping, dropped in on friends, bought plants for my garden, led religious services, and exercised at the gym. 

But I didn’t rush through it.


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