A Vision Of Incompetence

, , , , , , | Healthy | February 18, 2018

(I am a college student. I have learned of a summertime job, as a “gopher” — office boy — with a local railroad. I arrive at the office where I receive initial training in my duties, and then I am given a piece of paper — ordering a pre-employment physical — that I am supposed to take to the railroad’s doctor’s office. Since I recently passed my college physical, I have no qualms about the pre-employment physical. I drive to the doctor’s office. I note that the waiting room is empty, and there seems to be nobody around.)

Me: “Hello, is anybody here?”

Nurse: *a few minutes later, while eating an apple* “The doctor is out having lunch. What do you need?”

Me: “I am here for a [Railroad] physical.”

Nurse: *chomps on apple* “Okay. I can start that. Sit in the exam chair, and read the eye chart on the wall.” *chomp*

Me: “Do you want me to do that with my glasses on or off?”

Nurse: *chomp, chomp, long pause* “Um, take your glasses off.”

Me: “Should I do this with both eyes open?”

Nurse: *chomp* “Um… Take this thing and cover your left eye.”

Me: “Okay… E.”

Nurse: “Can you read any more?”

Me: “No, I am near-sighted, but my distance vision is 20/20 or better with each eye with my glasses on.”

Nurse: *another long pause, throws away apple core* “I hear the doctor. You must see him now!”

(I then put my glasses on and walk out to the waiting room, where the doctor is apparently reading my physical report. The doctor takes out a pencil with red lead at one end and blue at the other…)

Doctor: “What color is this?” *making a red line on the back of my physical report*

Me: “Red.”

Doctor: “And what color is this?” *making a blue line on the same piece of paper*

Me: “Blue.”

Doctor: “Okay, you can go home now. The railroad will call you later.”

(A day goes by, and I get a call from the railroad.)

Railroad Guy: “Sorry, we can’t hire you.”

Me: “Why not?”

Railroad Guy: “You failed your physical. You can’t see well enough to work here.”

Me: “My vision is corrected to 20/20 in each eye, but the nurse never checked that.”

Railroad Guy: “Maybe so, but you could be hit by a train if your glasses fell off while you were crossing the tracks.”

(I guess I never was qualified to be “workin’ on the railroad,” but I got a better summer job soon after, and not all was lost.)

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