Immediately after completing my plastic surgery residency at U.C.L.A., I opened my private offices in Beverly Hills. My close friends were very supportive and called often to see how I was doing. My friend, Elliot, had an amusing and annoying habit of identifying himself to the receptionist as a different celebrity every time he called.
When she would inform me over the intercom that, “Mohammed Ali or Howard Hughes is on the phone”, I knew I was about to hear the voice of Elliot. After months and dozens of crank calls of this type, I was told, “Cary Grant is calling”.
I picked up the phone and heard what I thought was truly the best Cary Grant impersonation I had ever heard. Could this possibly be Elliot? I was trapped. If I spoke to the caller as if he was Cary Grant, Elliot might never stopped laughing. However, what if the real Cary Grant was calling, no matter how unlikely? What if I was foolish enough to address him as Elliot? Well, that would have been even more embarrassing… and most unprofessional. So, I chose wisely. And, after a few moments, I realized, in fact, that I was speaking to the Mr. Cary Grant.
“May I see you tomorrow, doctor”, he asked. “Is 1:30 convenient for you, Mr. Grant?”, I replied. “I’ll be there”.
I wondered that night what it would be like to meet Cary Grant and what on earth did he want from me. During my residency and first year of practice, I had advised and treated several men of varying ages who invoked Mr. Grant’s image in the pursuit of improving their own appearances. Often mentioned in these discussions and included in the operating plans was Mr. Grant’s chin and it’s characteristic dimple. I couldn’t imagine what changes a man who looked like Cary Grant could possibly want to make.
The following day, I found myself seated opposite this elegant, handsome and charming man. He made me very comfortable and gave me wonderful advice concerning how to deal with the celebrity-doctor relationship. His advice would serve me well in the years to come.
After small talk and getting to know one another, I inquired, “Mr. Grant, what is it that you would like to talk to me about today?”
“It’s this chin, Dr. Glassman. It’s such a nuisance to shave because of the dimple. Can it be removed?”
It took me a good half hour to talk Mr. Cary Grant out of having his chin dimple surgically removed. He eventually believed me that his chin was, in fact, the gold standard!