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    Better not knowing

    Why we ophthalmologists sleep better than we probably should


    "There's a time and a place for everything. It's called college."

    —"South Park," Season 4

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    My sisters and I grew up in a home literally on the beach at the Jersey shore. We had no lawn, only sand. When not in school or working, I spent my time swimming or fishing.

    An acquaintance of mine had a job that required him to fly around in a helicopter. When the movie "Jaws" was released, he told me about the large number of sharks constantly in reasonable proximity to the beach, and showed me some aerial photographs that confirmed this.

    "If most people knew how many sharks are out there, they would never get in the water," he said.

    When friends would visit and ask about sharks, I would routinely tell them not to worry, and if need be, lie and say there were no sharks in this area. "It's best they don't know," I told myself.

    Similarly, when my son graduated high school and went to an institution of higher learning, he would often repeat the quote from the TV program "South Park" about the college years being a time for, shall we say, "experimentation." He would sometimes treat his father to tales of sophomoric fraternity behaviors. But I would not listen. "It's best I don't know," I told myself.


    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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