One Maxim, Two Movies

Yesterday, I propounded the SBIFF Axiom due to an illuminating experience at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. But since it is a universal principle, the name seems a bit parochial. Therefore, I am immodestly redubbing it Monroe’s Maxim. If Peter can have a principle and Ohm a law, I see no reason I can’t have a lousy maxim.

Monroe’s Maxim states: To learn what really matters to any person, business or institution no matter what they say, find out who they treat really well and who really badly.

Latest instance. A week before my daughter’s annual physical, she was required to go to her doctor’s office early in the morning without eating breakfast in order to pee in a cup and have her blood drawn. Elapsed time ought to have been 10 minutes, not counting the 15 or 20 minute drive in rush hour each way. Under an hour, however.

But no! First she had to wait in the outer office. Then she got moved to the lab’s waiting area to wait some more for an available bloodletter. Then she was told the wait would be longer due to a computer malfunction, though it would seem blood could be drawn and a cup provided for urine without the need for tech so that the patient could be on his or her way to work. At no time of course was there any apology for the delay. Waiting is what patients are expected to do without a peep no matter how long it might take.

This is not an exception but the norm for medical practices that seem not to grasp the fact that patients have a life beyond their office.  A job, say, which they need in order to earn enough money to allow them to pay their doctor bills. So, according to Monroe’s Maxim, patients are obviously not what the medical practice cares about. So what is important? The doctors and their ability to throughput as many patients as possible so as to maximize revenues. The doctor’s time is pure gold to be budgeted wisely, nay ruthlessly. The patient’s time is expendable. Causing them to lose an hour or two is of no interest. Causing the doctor to lose five minutes of billable time is a cataclysm.

Thumbs Up! Having vented about the maltreatment of steerage class filmgoers at Santa Barbara, I thought I ought to mention a couple excellent films we actually got to see after running the gantlet the festival erected to make it difficult.

Two Lives, a German film with Liv Ullmann in a supporting role and Juliane Koehler in an impressive star turn, is a reality based drama about the children of Norwegian mothers and German fathers from the invading Nazi military who were forcibly removed to the Reich. Years after the war ended, the mother’s were still trying to find and reunite with their abducted children. In an even darker Cold War turn, in some cases the East German secret police infiltrated imposters to pose as the lost children and spy on the West. The true facts about one mother and her supposed daughter slowly but inexorably come to light in this absorbing drama that demonstrates that truth really is stranger than fiction.

U want me 2 kill him? is an English film also based on an actual case. A successful and popular high school age lad has his life ruined when he falls under the spell of a duplicitous and possibly mad enchanter via social media. Creepy and beautifully acted by the young stars. And a warning that the internet can be a hall of mirrors where all is not as it seems and innocent bystanders can be duped into dangerously compromising positions by connivers more clever than the average Nigerian Prince.


About Hayden Keith Monroe

I was born and raised in northern Ohio and have spent most of the rest of my days in North Carolina. I have studied literature, written advertising copy and spent almost twenty years writing editorials and columns for daily newspapers.


One Maxim, Two Movies — 6 Comments

  1. I only make appointments to see my doctor in the summer so that I don’t have to endure the above-described stress. I don’t work summers so, I take a book, sit back for the wait. Sometimes the other patients and I clap for the next person who finally gets called back.

    I can’t complain though. My doctor spends more time with me than I’m sure the practice wants. As a matter of fact, I think he gives everyone more time than the profession encourages. He seems to want to take his good ole time and enjoy his job.

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