Directly Speaking - Who's Killing You?

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
March 15, 2011

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President

A friend and colleague on the ASHP Executive Vice President Search Committee, Mark Siska, has a great favorite expression… “You’re killing me!”  During our deliberations, he used it frequently.  When asked about it, he explained that he uses it at work with pharmacy colleagues as they ask him to work his IT magic with the Mayo Clinic Pharmacy computer systems.  He uses it with his IT colleagues when they ask him for similar magic in his CPOE and EMR committee meetings.  He uses it on the golf course when he finds himself with an impossible recovery shot, and I’m sure he uses it at home with his kids and wife in various situations.

I love the expression and used it myself even before I had heard it from Mark. Most of the time it’s when I’m walking my dogs in the cold or rain, and they are more intent on sniffing a small patch of grass for minutes rather than finishing the real business at hand!  Only when I use the expression, I add one more word.  “You’re killing me, Smalls!”  As you probably already know, I love movie lines, and this is one of my favorites from the 1993 classic The Sandlot.  Hamilton “Ham” Porter uses the line at least twice when struggling to deal with his less than athletic new friend and main character, Scotty Smalls.  I don’t think it is because Smalls’ first name is Scott, but rather I identify with the level of frustration Ham experiences from his new buddy who sometimes just doesn’t have a clue.  It’s a great movie if you were a kid in the 60s like me (maybe that’s why I like the movie) or if you want to know what living in the 60s was like.  It’s definitely on my “recommend to see” list.

Sometimes I use this expression when I’m working for or representing ICHP.  I use it in situations where I know I now have a new project, task or quick assignment that is doable but unplanned, inconvenient, busy work or all three.  I know I can get it done, but I would have been happier without it.  Often, it’s an easy way to express mild frustration in a humorous and non-confrontational way.  As a matter of fact, I seldom if ever use it in full blown frustration!

So who’s killing you?  Is it the prior-shift colleague that can’t seem to get their work done on time but doesn’t
bother to completely report everything that’s hanging when they leave?  Is it the supervisor who constantly selects you for the “special” projects because they know that as busy as you are, you will get it done?  Is it the administrator who thinks that since the pharmacy’s budget is one of the largest department budgets in the hospital, there certainly must be some fluff there somewhere that can be cut?  Maybe it’s a spouse who isn’t a health care professional and doesn’t understand why sometimes you’re late getting home because you stayed a little late to resolve that last patient’s medication problem.  Or could it be your kids who don’t understand why you have to work on a weekend when they have a big ball game or worse yet on a big holiday when they would rather have you home with them?  

I wonder how many of you already use the phrase, or now that I’ve brought it up think, “Yeah, don’t I know it!”  We all have people who mess up our lives with extra work, new complications, unexpected interruptions, unreasonable expectations and much more.  If we can muster the patience to quietly and pleasantly or even silently utter, “You’re killing me” (Smalls-optional), wouldn’t it be a little easier to handle the unexpected in a more positive manner?  Whenever I speak those words, it immediately brings a smile to my face regardless of the situation!   It makes me step back, relax, and think to myself, “This really isn’t that bad” or “I can do this.”  I probably experience a brief movie flashback or even a flashback of the last time I had to use that phrase, but it works.  

If you need a mechanism like this in your life, I invite you all to rent The Sandlot and enjoy a great movie and experience the origin of my advice.  If you’re already letting folks know that they’re killing you, let me know.  If you make this your frustration mantra, I’d like to know, too.  If you think I watch too many movies, I can take the heat.  But see if a little pleasant, movie-emulated venting doesn’t make it a little easier to keep moving, smiling and producing in this crazy life!  It does for me, and maybe it can for you.  Who’s killing you? ΓΆβ€"Β 

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