The Capital is DONE; "i" Isn't

i never thought of not using a capital “I”. And certainly David Tang or Tyler Brule would never jettison this letter or notion from their vocabulary. Explanation in a little while. e e cummings was the poet that felt that “I” should be “i”. His poetry is characterized by mostly lower case letters and free form verse placement. But I am sure we all know people for whom even “I” is not enough. For them it is reverse (perverse?) e e cummings. For them “me” is “ME,” making sure that everyone recognizes their “ME.” Cummings, the son of a Harvard sociology professor, was brought up with the hint of egalitarianism that sociology breeds. There is less “ME” and more “we.” He was influenced by the philosopher William James, who happened to live on the same street as Cummings.

Who happened to introduce Cummings’ father to his mother. Who happened to write an essay in 1892 that influenced Cummings entitled “The Stream of Consciousness.” Cummings was born in 1894. He started writing poetry at age 6. Cummings was a good looking guy. He never exploited this. Women would come to his poetry readings to listen and LOOK. He graduated from Harvard. His graduation speech, “The New Art,” generously encompassed references to: Marcel Duchamp’s paintings, Gertrude Stein’s poetry and Arnold Schoenbergs’s music. No “ME” and very little “I.” A few vein specialists should take heed.

I don’t know them at all, but David Tang and Tyler Brule seem to suffer from what Dylan has identified as “The Disease of Conceit.” They write for the Financial Times. They write about themselves constantly. They never use “i” or “me.” They always use “I” or “ME.” In recent columns in the same issue they randomly wrote about such egocentric topics as: “Why I have my coat breast pocket placed on the right side rather than the traditional left (David Tang)?” This was in response to a reader’s query regarding David Tang’s picture. Tang’s self-centered, Trumpian answer, “I deliberately have my pocket like this in order to try and feel different from the other 3.5 billion or so men who wear jackets with the monotonous left hand pocket.”

Really? Is it that important? And does Tyler Brule think we are the least bit interested in his traversing the world which he documents in his column, “The Fast Lane?” Yeah, Tyler, you’re really cool. Guess what? A lot of people travel. His column is riddled with so many “I’s” and “ME’s” that it feels like the car that Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down in. So many bullets. Are we really interested that you are running out of clean underwear? He writes in his hugely bombastic, clueless style, “ All of the early starts and late arrivals have left no time for laundry and the undies and T-shirt supply are running low. I find a few minutes to run to a store and I am quite alarmed to find so little in the way of sensible undergarments.” You poor, unfortunate, busy, self-important man. Wash a pair of underwear out in the sink and it will dry by the morning.

I’ve never known Gloviczki or Meissner to run out of underwear and they travel a lot. They write a lot. They have done a lot for venous disease. They understand and use the noun, “we.” David Tang and Tyler Brule don’t. Our cover article is about the first Professor of Venous and Lymphatic Disorders. This is an important milestone in the specialty of venous disease. There are not many people who deserve to be associated with this honor more than Peter Gloviczki and Mark Meissner. And in true “it’s not about me fashion” they each explain what this means to our world of vein disease. Well deserved by two unselfish friends of mine.

Another hardworking, unselfish person in the vein world is Bruce Sanders. Bruce has been there from the start when our specialty was not even thought of as a discipline. Bruce has been the only Executive Director of the American College of Phlebology that I’ve ever known. I’ve worked with him, a true gentleman and a true pleasure. He has retired. Our loss. His insights are worth reading about. Even if you never knew him, read this article. There are insights to be gained.

Our roundtable discussion this month continues to look at an issue that many of you face and many of you have encouraged us to highlight. The issue can be described as, “What the hell is going on out there? It’s a free for all and someone needs to stop it.” We discuss the growing minority of people treating vein disease who are doing the wrong thing. Our panelists: Bob Kistner, Jose Almeida, Lowell Kabnick, Joe Zygmut, AJ Riviezzo and I discuss what not to do when treating venous disease. We know some people are abusing patients. The panel hopes that this list may encourage the outliers whether they be individuals or the growing number of vein care companies to think twice. It’s not all about volume. It’s about patients and the right thing.

Other stories in this issue address important topics including an update from ACP on its collaborative efforts and a helpful article about physician burnout elucidated by Helane Fronek or as Neil Young has written, “It’s better to burnout than to fade away.”

Finally, Dan Han gives us a great synopsis of the 2016 CHEST Guidelines. We all need to know them. As a vascular fellow at Mount Sinai Hospital in NY, he first gave this talk at Englewood Hospital which is a teaching hospital associated with Sinai’s Fellowship Program. It was so good that I asked him to give it at our Fellows Course. Now we bring it to you. Well written and concise. Thanks Dan.

And thank YOU, david tang and tyler brule for showing us how not to be. Their names are writ small in this column to remind us that no ONE is a capital letter in life and certainly not in the VEIN WORLD because if we lose the sense of “we,” THEY will take over. they: third party payers, the government, Medicare, and the outliers of honest vein care. In VEIN each month we try to infuse the sense of comraderie and cooperation for the good of OUR specialty. Finally, in the poem below entitled, “I(a” by e e cummings; david tang, tyler brule and some vein specialists might see a lot of capital letter “I’s’. i don’t see them. Do you?