What color is your discus?

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Let's be honest with each other. I made a bad career choice, and so did you. We should have been Olympic discus throwers. What were we thinking?

Not that there aren't rewards in being a writer or long-term care professional—there's gratification aplenty. But a purpose driven life dedicated exclusively to spinning around and hurling a saucer-shaped object across the lawn     would have been so … simple.

We wouldn't have had to worry about advances in technology, for one thing. As far as I can tell, nothing much has changed in the sport over the past 2,500-plus years, if the famous fifth century sculpture of a naked discus thrower is any indication.   (This should not be confused with the equally famous marble depiction of a naked nursing home administrator throwing an MDS manual. Now there's an historical exhibit you'll definitely want to see if it ever comes to your town.)

Another clear advantage of a discus career path would have been the welcome absence of complicated new software to learn, as I'm not aware that the event is going electronic anytime soon. Having said that, I note that there is an official London 2012 video game, so it's probably just a matter of time before the movements of the actual athletes on the field are controlled by thousands of joysticks in the crowd.

Then there's the seeming absence of excessive regulation. In all my years of Olympic viewing, I've never yet seen a discus professional interrupted mid-throw by an impromptu visit from a survey team. There's no multi-star rating system to turn a minor slip-of-the-toe into a national stigma. And to my untrained eye, discus throwers are permitted to do the best job they can however they choose, as long as their feet stay inside the circle and they're not sneaking performance enhancing substances from the athletic med cart.

Personally, I'm glad you chose the career you did, because goodness knows the world of long-term care desperately needs you. But doesn't the breeze in your hair, uproarious applause and your face on a Wheaties box seem like more fun than poring over quality indicator reports? And which would you rather have, a lawsuit or a medal?

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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Walla Walla, WA. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.

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