In case you’ve been wondering if I took a powder, I didn’t. I’ve been immersed in slide-making hell. A few months ago I was asked to give a talk to the American Society of Bariatric Physicians in San Diego. I agreed. I figured I would give one of my standard presentations on the virtues of the low-carb diet, but the organizers wanted me to give a talk on the virtues of protein in the diet, which, of course, means new slides. I loathe making slides, so I always put it off until the last minute. This time I had a little help putting it off because my schedule was so full up until a couple of weeks ago. Since starting on these slides, I have been consumed. I have become a Protein PowerPointer.
Although grinding these things out at the last minute is stressful, there are some virtues. Once a few years ago I agreed to give a talk and promised the extremely anal honcho of the organization I was to speak to that I would have my slides finished and sent to him THREE months before the talk. I did all my stressing and agonizing (this was a new talk) three months early. I got the things done, and when I sent them off I had a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction settle over me. I’ve got to do this every time from now on, I thought. My feelings of bliss lasted exactly two months, 29 days, and 22 hours. I pulled up my slides to review them a couple of hours prior to my talk, and it was as if I had never seen them before. I went into a blind panic. “Why did I say that? What did I mean here?” I was screaming at myself. I realized that working on the slides right up until talk time keeps my head in the game and keeps the material fresh in my mind.
When I agreed to give this talk, I assumed it would just be your typical, garden-variety talk albeit on a new subject. I had to chuckle when I got the brochure for the meeting in the mail. I learned that I was to give the Robert C. Atkins Memorial Lecture. How the ASBP has changed. MD and I were members twenty years ago, but we bailed because the organization was so steeped in low-fatness. Now, they have me giving the Robert C. Atkins lecture.
Back in 1972 I was a newly minted civil engineer working on my first engineering job based in Carlsbad, California, a little beach town about 30 miles north of San Diego. I was the engineer on site for a huge pipeline project running from Poway, California, a little bedroom community east of San Diego, to a treatment plant on the coast. I had just made the decision that I wanted to go to medical school, but still had to take a few courses to bridge the gap between my engineering degree and all the prerequisites for med school. I was keenly interested in anything medical at the time, and Dr. Atkins, who had just published his first and most famous book, was much in the news. I decided to read his book to see what all the fuss was about.I got the book on my way to the jobsite and started reading it while I was supposed to be overseeing. I finished it at home sitting in my driveway in my pickup. I was thin at the time and had no need of a diet—I read it only as an interesting piece of medical current events. Based on my zero medical knowledge at the time, it all made sense to me, and I couldn’t see why folks were getting their panties in a wad over it. Little did I know that 32 years later I would be giving the Robert C. Atkins lecture 30 miles south of where I was then sitting in my pickup with the summer night falling reading his book.
You may be wondering why I’m writing this right now instead of working on my slides. I am hurtling down the freeway with MD at the wheel on our way to San Diego. I fired up my laptop, but with all the traffic and the bumping and jerking of the car, I can’t make PowerPoint sing. I can type okay, though, so I figured I would let everyone know I still existed. My little Verizon Broadband card is worth its weight in gold, allowing me to surf the net and post this post while going eighty on the I-5 toward San Diego.
During my absence from posting I have built up a pile of blogworthy material that I will dig into after the talk on Tuesday morning. Stay tuned.
Protein talk at the ASBP meeting in San Diego