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    Making the "Best of the best" list

    Making the claim: They couldn't print it if it wasn't true, right?


    "The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."

    —Anna Quindlen

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    My friend, an ophthalmology department chairman from Mexico, has an expression he uses when he is really enjoying something—be it food, wine, or whatever. He will smile, close his eyes, and say, "Ahh . . . perfection!" My kids find this very endearing and like to say it when my friend visits.

    But we ophthalmologists have mixed feelings about perfection. We try to do the best job we can for our patients, and we constantly strive to improve surgical outcomes and reduce the risk of complications.

    At the same time, we are realistic, as exemplified by the often-used phrase when teaching in our operating rooms: "Perfect is the enemy of good." And we are often queried by our friends and colleagues who need a doctor: "Who is the best person for me to see?"

    How can we know when we have obtained perfection, or if not perfection, then at least become the best of something? People's opinions tend to vary, comparative data may be hard to come by, or there may simply be disagreement.

    That is why an in-flight magazine like the one I recently read can be invaluable (Spirit. October 2011). The magazine, no doubt after carrying out exhaustive research, revealed the best of the best in many interesting categories:

    • Best, Most Unique Patriotic Gift (a camouflage baseball cap)
    • World's #1 Musical ("The Lion King")
    • Greatest Illusionist of Our Time (David Copperfield)
    • World's Best Seafood Restaurants
    • Top Ten USDA Prime Steakhouses
    • Best Strip Headliner! (Barry Manilow)
    • Orlando's Wildest Zip Line
    • Best American Steakhouses
    • America's Best Land Buy (Wyoming)
    • Best Mesquite Barbecue in the State of Texas
    • World's Largest 3-D Experience (Universal Studios Hollywood)
    • Best Fitness Hotels
    • The Best Brands, The Biggest Selection (Macy's)
    • #1 Best Show in Vegas ("Jersey Boys")


    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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