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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Today's my birthday ...

and while on the topic of birthdays, I'd like to mention one of my pet peeves. Not a day goes by when I am not faced with a man picking up a prescription for either his wife or one--or both of--his kids. Before handing over the medication we verify the date of birth of the patient, just so we know that 1) the person picking up the medicine is likely to be a representative of the patient and given instruction to do so, and 2) that we indeed have the right prescription in hand.

Simple enough, right? Wrong. You'll note I said earlier that it is a man picking up the prescription. The man does not know the date of birth of his wife. The man does not know the date of birth of this child. Many would say that this is an example of generalization, of stereotyping. Not so. While there are of course exceptions, the majority of men picking up prescriptions struggle mightily to come up with a date of birth for their loved ones.

Let me be clear: A man who does not know his child's date of birth is not a man. He is a boy. A man who does not know his wife's date of birth is no husband, but a slacker.

I don't think I've ever known a mother who did not know her child's date of birth. I know, many will be saying that that is no miracle, that it is likely that a mother undergoing birth pangs would remember it to her dying day. But that does not excuse the man. Not hardly. It is a travesty that so many men are so emotionally separated from their families that they do not know the most basic of details about them. It disgusts me.

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