What is it About Chocolate?

        Over a quarter century I have made very few errors in my daily interaction with my staff.  When you are surrounded by a dozen women all day, you do have to pay attention and learn though.

        There used to be a magazine in the bathroom and the lead article was ‘Ten Loveable Bunny Crafts.’   The cover photo was some kid whose mama had decked out for school in a floppy ears and odd looking nose get-up.  I took the magazine up front and said, “What the heck kinda mama would make their kid go to school looking like that?”

          In return I got a room full of icy stares.  Then one said, “Dr. B that’s precious.”

        I left the article in the bathroom for a decade to remind me I was but a dumb man.

        The biggest mistake I ever made was over chocolate though.  Some drug rep came by one day to tell me about a new product.  At the end of his presentation he pulled out some bright colored tins.  “Care for any chocolate?  This is from Europe.”

        I picked up one of the tins.  “Man, looks expensive.  I just had lunch, so I guess not.  Appreciate it though.”

        I got ready to see another patient, and one of my staff members walked by.  “What did that man have Dr. B?”

          “Aw, just another ace inhibitor.  Crowded market there.  Had some fancy tins of chocolate from Europe too.”

         “Chocolates?”  She all but giggled.  “Can I have some?”

        “Uh, I didn’t get any.”

         “What do you mean?!  The man brought free chocolate and you didn’t get us any?”  She was beyond disappointed. 

          “Uh well, I mean… gee, uh… I wasn’t hungry.”

           I got a ‘you sure are a dumb man’ look.  Word spread quickly.  In twelve seconds I was in the office staff doghouse. 

           I took a quick look to be sure my patient didn’t have an emergency and dashed out to the parking lot.  I caught the man as he was about to pull out, and rapped on his door.  He rolled down the window.

          “Hey pal,” I asked.  “Maybe I better get some of that chocolate after all.  My staff might like it.”

           “Sure, Doc.  How much do you want?”

            “I’ll take all you can give me.”  (For a man I am a quick study.) 

            I went from goat to hero, and it was one of the most contented days at the place I ever recall.   I still don’t know exactly what it is about chocolate, but I’ll never forgot the lesson.  I believe I’ll go buy some this week-end.  Mondays are always tough at the office, and it might make for a better day.

          I have learned it is best to follow good advice.  What kind of chocolate do you guys think I should get?

Dr. B

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30 Comments on “What is it About Chocolate?”

  1. Billy Says:

    Back when I first started taking the Mrs. on the road with me I found that Godiva was the one she liked. Back then it was sold in only one place in each city so we had to look for it. In Oklahoma City it was in the exclusive Brown’s Department store, in New Orleans it was only in the high end Adlers Jewelry store. It became a game we always played. But in Palm Beach we almost lost until we walked in the newsstand on Worth Ave. .

  2. Julius Says:

    Dr. B, in the many things you have taught me, this is another! I just got back from my internal medicine rotation, where the resident was female. It was on the first day or two, and she was asking me something alone the lines of what I can do as a student thus far (writing notes, orders, etc). I just spoke up and said “I’ll do whatever you ask me to.” She looked over at the Medicine Director, and said “I like him already.” I think I’m in for the Residency program there.

    –Julius

  3. thankgoditsfood Says:

    Loved your story Dr. B. What a coincidence that you happen to stumble upon my blog. I’m actually a pre-med student and about to take my MCATs in January. Good to learn from your experience. I’ll make sure to go into medicine pockets full of chocolate…especially when dealing with a chief resident =)

    • drtombibey Says:

      thankgoditsfood,

      So good to hear from you. I cherish every reader but the young ones are extra special. After a life-time of accumlation of ideas, I felt like I had to begin to write them down. When young people read your work it is a thrill.

      I used to ask my son if he worried about standardized tests and he’d say, “No sweat, Daddy. All you gotta do is fill in the right bubbles.” So, go take that MCAT and fill in all the right bubbles, kid. Hope you’ll come back and visit again.

      Dr. B


  4. Dr B
    My advice when buying chocolate for women: get one of everything. Different moods call for different chocs. If you had access to Australian choc I’d recommend the following:
    Mondays are cherry ripe days(dark chocolate with cherry and coconut
    Tuesdays are scorched almonds or peanut slab days
    Wednesdays are Tim Tam days – actually a biscuit covered in chocolate
    Thursdays are M&M days
    Fridays are Twirl days – flakey chocolate dipped in more chocolate
    I don’t do chocolate every day despite the suggestion of chocolate days

    • drtombibey Says:

      Sharon,

      Great comment! You are like my electronic office staff with that one. I learn a bunch from those ladies all the time.

      I guess I need to think of chocolate in terms of music. When you’ve got the blues it calls for one kind of song and acing a big test calls for another. Different chocolates or songs for different moods.

      One time we played a wedding and the bride wanted ‘Zippedy-Do-Dah’ for the recessional. We’d never heard it done in bluegrass but we gave it our best.

      Come to think of it, she had a chocolate wedding cake. I guess with the arts we all connect in more ways than we realize.

      Dr. B

    • Julius Says:

      Man, the “cherry ripe” sure sounds good!!!

      –Julius


      • Julius, Cherry ripe is the best! This is the kind of chocolate that can make you forget your troubles for those brief minutes you’re eating it. If Dr B comes our way I’ll send him home with a few bars to hand out.

  5. Cindy Carter Says:

    Music may calm the savage beast. And the way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach. But….Women, all women, will never refuse chocolate. It makes everything better….You can’t ever go wrong with chocolate.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Cindy,

      I am certain you are correct. I have a lot of lady patients, and so far I have never met a woman who didn’t like chocolate.

      Dr. B


  6. You never turn down chocolate, Dr. B! Never! There will always be someone else who’ll want it if you don’t. I see you’ve learned your lesson well by now, though :). I’m into bitter chocolate – the darker the better. I can keep a square of 85% cocoa chocolate in my mouth and savor it for half an hour. Mmmm.

    • drtombibey Says:

      slightly,

      That is the bottom line. Even if you don’t want it right then, chocolate will come in handy. Since that day I have never turned down free chocolate.

      Hope school is going well for you. We aren’t signed yet, but a couple publishers are showing interest. I am still on target for some time in 2010.

      Dr. B

  7. drtombibey Says:

    Sharon,

    You need to consider writing a book on chocolate in Australia. I think it would be a hit.

    Dr. B

  8. drtombibey Says:

    slightly,

    It has been a long slow process, but I am convinced we are getting there. I began the journey in 2000, and figured on ten years. It looks like that was about right.

    Dr. B

  9. Simpkins Says:

    Dr.B,

    I am enjoying reading your blog very much. They are some absolutely wonderful and memorable stories here, and I intend on reading every one of them.

    thanks for the memories !!

    Simp.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Simpkins,

      Thanks for dropping by my friend. My goal is to be sure folks find out why the bluegrass community is the finest, most loyal, and tight knit community anywhere. And chocolate is dang good too.

      Dr. B

  10. twoblueday Says:

    Here’s my vote:

    Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares. They come individually wrapped, in bags of one flavor or mixed. They have a gooey inside of caramel, mint, raspberry, peanut butter, etc. They are wonderful.

  11. drtombibey Says:

    twoblueday,

    Lord have mercy they sound good. Can’t be too blue if you have some of those.

    Dr. B

  12. Martin Waddell Says:

    For me, it’s dark, bitter chocolate every time – 70% content is good, 85% even better. Most chocolate bars sold here in Britain are horribly sweet – some of them, you’d hardly think it was chocolate at all. Some Scottish restaurants use small amounts of dark chocolate in savoury dishes, especially venison, and it’s wonderful. But whatever type of chocolate you go for – dark, sweet, milk, plain or whatever – it’s really worth considering fair trade chocolate, because with so many of the commercial brands, most of the profit goes to the companies selling it, while the guy who actually grows the stuff in Ghana or wherever sees hardly any of it.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Martin,

      As always the blog is educational for me. I have to admit I do not know about fair trade chocolate. Where do you find this?

      I am all for anything that helps out the little guy.

      Dr. B

      • Martin Waddell Says:

        I don’t know what the position is in the US, but Fair Trade is pretty big here in Britain. Products include tea, coffee, chocolate and bananas. After several years of efforts to persuade, all major supermarket chains in the UK sell Fair Trade brands along other commercial brands. When it all started in the 1980s, quality was a problem (some of the most horrible instant coffee I had ever tasted!), but now quality is uniformly excellent. Percol brand of fresh coffee is a really good example. Starbucks places in the UK only sell Fair Trade coffee now. Take a look at the Wikipedia entry on Fair Trade, plus some of their links – three that seem relevant to North America are http://www.fairtradefederation.org, http://www.fairtradeaction.net, and a student organisation http://www.usft.org. Hope this helps.

      • Martin Waddell Says:

        PS Should have added that churches all over the UK have adopted a policy – at denominational and congregational level- of promoting and using Fair Trade products. Have a cup of coffee, or a chocolate brownie, in just about any church in the UK, and chances are it’s Fair Trade.

  13. drtombibey Says:

    Martin,

    You are ambassador for good there my friend. It is much like the music business. I like to see the artists get rewarded over the money changers.

    Dr. B

  14. Dody Says:

    Hey Doc~
    If you are ever up in Ohio, in the Columbus vicinity, you really need to try the chocolate from Anthony Thomas. It is the best ever, and I have friends in NC that request that I mail it to them every year. I highly recommend you try the Buckeyes….peanut butter covered with chocolate. They are heavenly….

    I really enjoy your stories. Can’t wait for the book!

    • drtombibey Says:

      Doty,

      Thanks so much. Ohio State Buckeyes; I can’t forget that. Sounds like an excellent suggestion for the Northern tour.

      Dr. B

      • Dody Says:

        Let me know when you will be up this way. I can get a signed book, and make sure you get some of our best chocolate in the mean time. Being that we are home to the MACC festival, you should plan the trip up here in July…. Darrel and Phyllis Adkins put on one great Festival and the money raised all goes to St Jude’s Childrens Hospital. Its one of the best ones in the North.

  15. drtombibey Says:

    Dody,

    My agent has been talking to publishers. We are confident the book will be ready by fall 2010. I plan to be at IBMA with it next year.

    I also have a Mississippi and deep south tour I have promised first and the North East is next on my list after IBMA.

    My wife and both want to make MACC next year. Everything we have hear about it is good. I’m not sure the book will be out by then though.

    Tis all good. Bluegrass people are the best.

    Dr. B


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