Does It Matter How You Are Remembered?


The General would probably accuse me of wasting time. Actually there is no probably to it. Fortunately, she was still sleeping while I allowed myself to get sidetracked. Otherwise, I’d have to plead guilty as charged. She would have called my hand on it. Yet, even though I was diverted, I voluntarily went down that path. I was looking for a name on the Internet.   Even though I located the wrong “Morris Fishbein”, the storyline that followed was fascinating. I found the story both interesting and frightening.

Both men by the name of Morris Fishbien had at least one thing in common. Both  were Jewish. I don’t know if that’s where the similarities end because I never located any details regarding the other Morris Fishbein other than those I already knew. Why I opted to read the storyline about the wrong Morris Fishbein, I can’t really say, but the story line was disturbing.

Morris Fishbein’s story caught my interest even if he wasn’t the man I was looking to find. Fishbein was born in 1889 and died in 1976. Under the concept of “physician, heal thyself” there are those that maintain he didn’t have the skill set to responsibly practice medicine. Perhaps, that may be one of the reasons he opted to stay on the periphery of medicine. Yet, as head of the American Medical Association and editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association none deny his influence.

There are those who reflect on Dr. Morris Fishbein’s contributions to medicine and deify his efforts. He is described as a “quack-buster extraordinaire”. Of him, it is said: “He was relentless in his pursuit of exposing the fakery, fraud and pseudoscience of this charlatan and quack (Note: reference made to a particular physician), he eventually succeeded”. The writer went on to write, “I am well aware of the criticisms of Dr.Fishbein–many are valid, some are exaggerated and some are utter nonsense.  He was, after all, human. That being said, however, in the final rendering  Dr. Morris Fishbein left the profession of medicine a better place for having been here”.

There are others who denounce his efforts and describe him as a shakedown artist whose primary interest was self-promotion, financial gain and power.

According to one publication, “In 1900, while attending the annual AMA convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, three doctors came up with the always-destructive but all-to-human idea of using the AMA as a front, in order to form a closed corporation for their financial benefit… A constitution, bylaws and a charter were created which appeared to give the members of the AMA a say in the activities of the corporation. Subsequently, the three doctors had complete control”.

In 1924 one of the directors became involved in a scandal and had to resign. He appointed Fisbein to take his place. Fishbein ultimately took control of the AMA and by 1934 owned all of the stock. In his new position he was able to assume dictatorial control of the state licensing boards and made it as difficult for any doctor who did not join. He, and the three doctors who formed the corporation, were little more than extortionist, ones who made millions by using the power of the State”.

So, was it all about the money? Did the AMA operate on the basis of collusion with drug companies, building roadblocks for effective cancer treatment and orchestrating lengthy and costly treatment regimes? Hopefully the answer to the question is “No”, but after stumbling across several articles, I don’t have a clear picture. Perhaps no one does.

I mention that both men named Morris Fishbein had something in common. Both were Jewish. Perhaps one other characteristic shared by the two men named Morris Fishbein is the likelihood that both are now deceased. One day we, too, will follow their footsteps. How will we be remembered?

I don’t anticipate there will be a Wikipedia link that provides a quick summary of my life. Most assuredly that is not the case. I jokingly tell people that I seldom take off two consecutive weeks at work for fear that when I return, people will ask, “Don who?”

How will I be remembered? How will you be remembered? Hopefully, it is more than a “coin toss” in that it could go either way. Perhaps the opinions that matter most are the opinions of those closest to us. What will family members and close friends remember? Truthfully, isn’t that the only group that ultimately really matters? It matters because the investment you have made in the lives of those closest to you will continue earning dividends.

I’ve mentioned before that I often tell my grandchildren that it is okay to say that Granddad is “crazy” as long as the say “he is crazy and fun.” I remember those two things about my Granddad and they were always linked together. I also remember one other thing that I value greatly. I remember that he was kind. Isn’t kindness always the quality mostly valued? If we are kind to others, isn’t that one of the ways we are most like God? If I only get two out of three, I’m hopeful for the “fun” and “kind” categories. “Crazy” continues to be a wild card. It could go either way.

All My Best!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s