Hoffman's Houston
the wait is over

Ken Hoffman has the prescription for annoying doctor's office waits

Ken Hoffman has the prescription for annoying doctor's office waits

doctor doctors office waiting room bored frustrated
Could this be the cure for those long doctor waits? Photo by Getty Images

When I moved to Houston, to the Gessner and I-10 area, I discovered a tremendous, secret sale at my local supermarket. At 10 pm, they reduced the price of fried chicken, whatever they had left, to 10 cents a piece. I started setting my biological and digestive alarm clock for 9:50 pm, pedaled to the store, and bought my late dinner and next day’s lunch.

Not thinking clearly, I mentioned this absurd bargain in my little newspaper column. The next night, there was a small crowd at the deli counter, watching the clock tick down to 10 cents, like it was Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

The next night, no more dime chicken. I ruined everything for everybody — mostly myself.

This week, I’ve discovered an even better scheme. At the risk of blowing it again...

I was due for my annual checkup and showed up at the doctor’s office right on time. The waiting room was packed. Uh-oh, this might take forever. I’m not a waiter: I don’t wait at the bar in a restaurant, in the drive-through for a Frosty — or in the lobby for a sex robot.

I sat in the doctor’s waiting room for five minutes, went to the counter and lied, “I just got a call from work, they need me down there right away. Can I reschedule another appointment?” And away I went.

This week, I went back, on time, for my reschedule appointment. Oh no, the waiting room is SRO again. I checked in with the receptionist, already thinking what lie I’ll tell her this time.

The receptionist turned and announced to a nurse, “He's here!" The nurse opened to door and said, “we’re ready for you.”


I went into the back, and as the nurse took my blood pressure, I asked, “What just happened?” She said, the doctor told office workers that I was a flight risk. Like a criminal with a passport. Do not let him walk another appointment.

That’s the ticket: turn the tables. Make the doctor wait for you. (Got a feeling I’ll be waiting and waiting and waiting from now on.)

Ken's no-spin zone
Here’s my in-depth, hard-hitting political analysis for 2018:

Have you seen Harris County Judge Ed Emmett’s new political ad, where his grandchildren ask where voters can find Emmett on the ballot, and grandpa surprises the kids with a big box of doughnuts?

The investigative reporter in me had to ask: Where did Emmett get those doughnuts? Answer: River Oaks Donuts on Westheimer. Seems the ad’s producer liked how the box looked on camera. 

I would have gone with Shipley Do-Nuts, home of the fantastic Hoffy Twist, an extra-long cinnamon cruller topped with dark chocolate icing. It’s one of the crown jewels in my collection of fine foods. But I’m still voting for Emmett.

Hands off the baseballs
Here’s what the Astros need to do to avoid another ugly incident of fan interference on balls that should have been homers. Just move the outfield fences in by two feet, or the seats back two feet, so it’s impossible for fans to stick their arms onto the playing field. Baseball is weird. I can’t think of another sport where fans can impact the final score by touching a player or ball in play.

While the Astros are at it, extend the screen farther down the foul lines. At some point, MLB will make it mandatory, so why not be proactive for fan safety? I used to have a jai alai problem when I lived in Florida. Jai alai frontons are totally screened in so the audience doesn’t get smacked with a stray pelota. The view never was an issue, especially when I hit an exacta.

Behind the burger scene
Last week I was dining on a burger (I know, big surprise) at Jax Grill on S. Rice Avenue and thought: “This is pretty terrific, I need to know more. I’ll just ask the owner, Paul Miller.” He also owns the Union Kitchen on Bellaire Boulevard, two blocks from my spring/summer home in West U. (Love the Kitchen’s meatloaf.)

Jax half-pound patty is 80/20 chuck, never frozen, from Ditta Meats in Pasadena. The bun is from Ashcraft bakery in Stafford, delivered fresh daily. The burger is served with sliced tomato, Bibb lettuce, red onion, and dill pickle. MSRP: $5.25.

“All of our burgers are cooked over a live-fire mesquite grill, which burns hot and puts off a great smoke that makes our burgers something special,” Miller says.

Jax Grill has a second location on Shepherd Drive, which adds live music to the menu on weekends.

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