Here's writing to you

March 5, 2003

By Greg Freiherr, Editor, gfreiherr@cmp.comI've been writing commentaries on the back page of SCAN for about two years now. It's definitely the most enjoyable part of my job.I

By Greg Freiherr, Editor, gfreiherr@cmp.com

I've been writing commentaries on the back page of SCAN for about two years now. It's definitely the most enjoyable part of my job.

I like getting mail, especially the letters that try to outdo my own sense of humor, like one I received in response to comments regarding the phobia about x-rays in the U.S. My jumping-off point was the imminent release of Levi's radiation-proof trousers. Someone from Hitachi wrote: "Your commentary left me with the amusing mental image of Americans walking down the street with Levi's on their heads..."

Spending as many years as I have writing about radiology, I've seen a lot of phrases come and go. Every so often I write about them. My commentary "Molecular what?" threw cold water on the use of the term "molecular imaging" to mean what I have come to know as functional imaging. A Philips executive wrote: "I've been feeling the same way myself. It's good to see someone come out and say it." A Bracco exec wrote: "Caught your commentary. You are right on target."

I love hearing from people who agree with me. I have a special file for their letters.

Sometimes I start off commentaries with a bit of humor, like the one in "Crooks go home." I received an e-mail that said "I liked this article, especially the joke," but I don't think he agreed with me. I was writing about how our industry is fairly free from corruption. My correspondent reminded me, "It wasn't that many years ago that there was significant scandal from manufacturers, dealers, and radiology administrators over silver and film. Some ended up in jail."

I learn a lot from my mail. In response to an editorial about cultural differences between the U.S. and Europe, a Frenchman wrote "Europe is also a melting pot...don't forget the French Protestants who landed in Erlangen, drained the marshes, and brought in agriculture." Hmmm.

I've been told I tend to ramble, and sometimes, maybe I go overboard. Here's an e-mail from someone who considers me a "friend and colleague" and hoped I would take these remarks in the spirit in which they were offered:

"The last few editorial commentaries have been clearly your opinion, to which you are entitled. However, they are so irrelevant to your publication and our industry that I can't help wondering, 'What were you thinking?'"

Ouch...but thanks for getting back to me. Really.