One day after I had been working for Phyllis Diller for about a year, she made a very strange remark” “You know I had a doctor’s visit yesterday. I had to wait for over half an hour.” She was making notes in her calendar, and it was clear that she was irritated. “I may have to fire him,” she added.
“I beg your pardon?”
“The doctor. I might have to fire him.”
“You can fire a doctor?”
She gave me that look she used when her patience was being sorely tried. “Well, of course I can fire him. I pay him. He’s my employee.”
Wow, what a concept: the doctor as an employee.
Yes, it sticks in my craw, too, waiting as the humble petitioner to be allowed a few minutes with the All Knowing, All Powerful One whose time was was so much more valuable than mine. It didn’t make me happy to be cooling my heels in the waiting room with a bunch of fussy children and sick people, either.
As I watched Phyllis make changes to her schedule, I mulled it over. I knew Phyllis didn’t think that simply because she was a celebrity she should necessarily be given priority, but she did think that when she had an appointment, it should mean something. Phyllis was an “in charge” person. (I’m sure all successful people are.) She knew what she wanted, how she wanted it done and what she expected everyone to do to make it happen.
Although I am tempted to say she did not suffer fools gladly, that was not really true. She was gracious to everyone although when somebody was a total screw-up, she maneuvered that person out of her life. (Well, with the glaring exception of her husband, Warde.) She expected professionalism from professionals and punctuality from everyone whether it be other actors, service people or employees. Even doctors.
Now that she’d gotten that off her chest, she relaxed. “You know the difference between God and a doctor?” she asked. “God never thinks He is a doctor!” And then there was that raucous laugh!