Where is efficiency to be found?

We have all heard that the serum injected to protect us against the flu arrived two months late in Israel.

Calculating energy efficiency (Illustrative) (photo credit: Courtesy)
Calculating energy efficiency (Illustrative)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In the late 1940s I experienced an epidemic, but I was unable to act to protect myself. For me, the polio epidemic hit me personally. Two of my close friends “had” polio. One, thankfully, same age as me, recovered completely. The other, a few years older than I, was never able to walk again, but he became a famous scientist. We were all very proud of him, and what he accomplished in spite of what polio did to him.
I lived day to day, during my early teen years, fearful that I was going to wake up in the morning and be paralyzed. Thankfully, it did not happen and I put polio in the back of my mind. Then in 1955-1956 there was a recurrence of polio, and my fears returned. It was then that Dr. Jonas Salk discovered a serum with which one could be inoculated, and be immune from that terrible disease.
Now I come to my point.
At first, for about a year after the serum was made available, only certain categories of individuals could come to a clinic and receive the shot. I was a sophomore at Emory University, and one day it was announced that college students were now on the eligible list. I rushed over to the infirmary a few days after the announcement, and there were at least a hundred students there.
What amazed me was how the staff worked in such an efficient manner so that one after another after another received their shots. Emory only had male students then so there was no concern about sexual harassment since we, men, were packed together. As I recall, all the nurses were women. Only later did nursing become a profession for men.
We have all heard that the serum injected to protect us against the flu arrived two months late in Israel. I assume that not having government for almost a year did not halt the delivery of the serum, but who knows. I live in a senior residence. Normally, we receive our shots at our own infirmary. All of Israel has heard that for residences like mine, the serum will be delivered much later.
Since I have a fear of not being immunized, I decided to go to my anonymous kupat cholim. The experience was like a Sid Caesar joke.
Entering the waiting area, I took a number. Looking at the number of the person inside being injected, I realized that I was 14 away.
My cousin was there waiting, and he told me that he had been there two days previously. While he was in line, an announcement was made: “no more shots.” Come back when you can.
So he was there when I arrived. A few people went in, but it took a long time for them to emerge. My cousin had a number, but he felt that he had had enough so he just entered. After 10 minutes, he emerged.
Then the “hell” began. For 20 minutes, no one came out and a new number was never flashed. I was getting tired. I recalled my polio experience. Magically, a supervisor appeared. I jumped up and I said: “We have been waiting here for 20 minutes and nothing has happened... this is very unfair.”
“I know,” said the supervisor, “there is a problem, and I am setting up a new station where people can have the injection.” We all breathed a little easier.
A bit of a change occurred. The new numbers began to appear, but their bearers were long gone. I like to help create efficiency so I rose from my chair quickly and started announcing: “Keep moving – those number-holders are not here.” Seven numbers passed quickly. Then a halt. The supervisor passed again – “we are working on the problem.” Finally, I entered. I was inoculated without any problem.
I looked around. There were sites for injections but no one was there. I walked out and all the people with numbers after me were pushing at the door. No one had entered after me.
Then I heard a whisper. Only when the new shift begins could a new station be opened. This was the main office of a health fund. The other residents in our building have not tried to go to their personal health office. I shared my experience. Not sure what will happen.
Today, I was at the Mahaneh Yehuda shuk. It appeared that it was a Thursday or Friday in the shuk – crowded on a Wednesday. When I completed my purchases, I looked for a place to eat. Entered a humus and ful locale. I sat down, and the waitress took my order quickly and brought my lunch.
Sitting there enjoying what I had ordered, the owner came over to me.
“I have a large group coming – I am wondering if you would move over to another table,” he said.
I was in no hurry, and he, personally, moved my food and water and salads over to the new table. The group entered – 12 in number – and the owner, in English that was not too perfect but understandable, welcomed them and urged them to select what they wanted. The waitresses took their orders, and the food came out quickly. I was really proud of my fellow Israeli. This was business, but this was accomplished with efficiency, which made the customers feel good and so they feel even better about Israel.
Before I left, I walked over to the owner and praised him for the manner in which he runs his restaurant. “Maybe we should hire you,” I said, “to show the kupat cholim how to operate so that we, the paying members, will be able to enter those offices, finish what we came for, and go home satisfied.”