Is anyone else creeped out by the ethereal lady eye doctor on the Restasis commercials? Her name is Dr. Alison Tendler, a board-certified ophthalmologist in South Dakota, a real doctor, not an actress, so I cut her some slack. I assume she only appears distracted because she is concentrating on every move. In real life, she could be a very charming person. When she is shown silently chatting with a simulated patient, the patient, a real actress, is probably coaching her: “Focus on me. Now nod as if we are agreeing.”
Back in my career days, I worked closely with our company’s toxicologist. He was, among his other duties, the guy who answered the hotline when someone’s pet ate our brand of rat poison (see posting of 12/05/2009, Rat Poison) or when someone’s child chewed on a blanket dyed with our dye. He was quirky, but so was I, and we got along well. Someone once quipped that they kept me on the payroll because I was the only one who could understand him. On a phone hotline, however, he conveyed the calming impression of deep knowledge.
One of his quirks was that he always wore a white lab coat, even though he hadn’t worked in a lab for years. He worked in an office cubicle, just like Dilbert and the rest of us. He was given the job of answering customer calls precisely to get him out of the lab that was very expensive real estate. They let him keep the lab coat because his name was embroidered on it, just like Allison’s.
He did have a Ph.D. in toxicology, so he could legitimately be called a toxicologist, and that’s all that mattered. He was just an average guy making the most of what he had, no different than the rest of us, except for the white lab coat. He knew what worked, and who could blame him for that?
So now, I am suspicious of anyone appearing on TV in a white lab coat. What? You momentarily interrupted your busy day in the lab just to tell us something? You had time to adjust your clothes, comb your hair, get a little dusting of makeup powder, but could not take off your lab coat?
And you draped a stethoscope around your neck. Now you’ve definitely gone too far. Not even our toxicologist did that.