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I had lunch today with a close dear friend.  We talked about some topics that get me ‘hot around the collar’.  The first topic that gets me going is how we like labeling people.  For instance, we label people as ADD, as alcoholics, as sex offenders, as hyperactive, etc.  I am not minimizing these aliments but when we label people we dehumanize them or make them one-sided individuals or reduce them to simply their ‘label.’  In other words, when we label it is as though that label becomes the person’s primary identity.  Sometimes a person is treated according to their ‘label.’  However, a person is more than his or her malady.  For example, talk to a person who has ADD and one will see that this person is more than his/her ailment.  Every person has incredible worth and value and is not simply the sum total of their ‘problem.’

 The second topic that gets me hot is ‘efficiency’ or rather the decisions that are made in the name of efficiency.  Don’t get me wrong, as a former engineer, I like efficiency.  However, when I call the doctor’s office I expect to talk to a person and not an answering machine that gives me options.  When you finally get a live person and ask why an impersonal answering machine?  The answer invariably will be something like this, “because it makes us efficient; we can be doing other things.”  It just seems to me that some professions or services should remain personal or at the very least give a caller the option of speaking to a live person first instead of making this the last option.  I often think about the elderly; how do they navigate technology like this?  Maybe they are not as uptight or impatient as I am.

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