One morning last week I turned on C-Span TV network. C-Span has a morning show where people call in and talk about some issue or another in the news. On this particular day the subject was the new healthcare program being proposed by the US Senate.
The callers were divided into three categories — Democrats, Republicans, Independents. Each caller was allowed a reasonable amount of time to make their case for or against the bill. Some made sense. Some made no sense. But one stood out.
An older woman called (no faces are seen but voice tone is a pretty good indicator of age) who had the most amazing opinion. She asked for how long we have been trying to find a cure for cancer.
The TV moderator estimated research had been going on for 70 years or so. The caller then asked if we had found a cure yet. The moderator said no. The caller then declared, with the utmost sincerity, that we had wasted millions and millions and millions of dollars trying to find a cancer cure. According to her we should immediately stop throwing away money on cancer research and re-direct it to taking care of sick people. Doing this, in her mind, would save the healthcare system.
Between the TV moderator, myself and I’m sure everyone watching there was a coordinated rolling of the eyes and laughing out loud at the proposed cure for our ailing health system.
I thought to myself are people really and truly that dense?
Well, I got my answer later that day when I met a friend of mine for a business meeting. We were sitting at a casual outdoor coffee shop in the Flatiron district of Manhattan to go over a TV show proposal. Before we got into the details we called one of the wait-staff over to order. My friend asked for tea. When the wait-staffer turned to me I said I would like a cup of coffee. I was then asked how I would like my coffee and I said, “Black.”
The charming, cheerful, eager, bubbly wait-staffer smiled at me and asked, “Would you like milk with that?”
I couldn’t believe it! Two dense-confirming, eye-rolling incidents in less than 24 hours.