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Doctors and Bubble Gum

Posted Jul 18 2010 12:00am

In the mid to late 1980's my title at Doctors Hospital of Jefferson was, Physician Services Coordinator.  My position coordinated the medical staff office and also identifying opportunities to support our physicians with promotion and management of their practice.  I really enjoyed this position and working for the 13 surgeon owners and with the rest of the hospital's staff.  I bring this up because of an article I read in the paper today about the 30th anniversary of the bubble gum, Big League Chew .  So what does bubble gum and doctors have in common, you ask?

Well, one of my responsibilities was to coordinate the annual medical staff dinner that was held in a New Orleans hotel and included a speaker.  We selected a well known news personality that year and just a few days before the event he canceled.  I had to scramble to find someone else, and the speakers bureau suggested Jim Bouton , a former baseball player, famous for his knuckle ball pitch.  The Medical Staff President and I checked with a few of the docs and we agreed Jim would be our pitch hitter, but I know all of us were a little nervous.  I know I was...

So, I met Jim for dinner the evening before to go over the schedule for the next evening and to talk about our hospital and the medical staff (mostly men at that time.)  A few knew of Jim from his baseball days and were looking forward to hearing him speak.  I learned that evening about Big League Chew and his book.  The next evening he was on....

Right off the bat, he seemed to be a big hit with the wives.... he was handsome and charming.  And, yes, even our few women docs seemed to be impressed.  Finally, it was time for him to speak and I have to say that he blew the crowd of docs and their guests away with his wild, but motivational, stories.  The ladies were particularly impressed with the speaker and I received many thanks for bringing one that they also enjoyed hearing -- even though I really didn't have too much control over the choice.

A week after the event, I received a signed copy of Jim's book and have to say it is like reading the book of a commercial diver .  Wild, crazy stories that include bad words and a few ladies.  I still have it, and think its time I let my son read it, too.

Anyway, the gum is 30 years old this week.  He created it as an option for players when he and a fellow player were disgusted by others spitting chewing tobacco.  Yes, it has sugar in it, but I'd rather see kids chewing on it than tobacco.  Every time I see it in the store, I think of Jim and the medical staff dinner.

Congratulations on 30 years!

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