A Tale of Fear and Treachery

A Tale of Fear and Treachery

To mark Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary I have badly plagiarised this for the occasion.

The Players
MAC BETH, MRCVS – a Scottish Independent Vet
SEYTON, MRCVS- His employed vet
The Drug Rep – bearer of news and gossip

SCENE 1. The Vet Practice. Within the Consulting Room.

Enter MAC BETH and SEYTON, with the new marketing material

(Enthusiastic about his latest Marketing Plan and Facebook strategy)
Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
The cry is still ‘They come:’ our practice’s strength
Will laugh a siege to scorn: here let them lie
Till famine and the ague eat them up:

(and a bit cocky)
Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
And beat them backward home.

A cry of dogs within
What is that noise?

It is the cry of a patient, my good lord.

(Reflecting on his diminishing clinical work)
I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cool’d
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in’t: I have supp’d full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.

Re-enter SEYTON
Wherefore was that cry?

The patient, my lord, is dead.

(becoming philosophical)
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
(and worried)
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
(and in despair)
Practice is but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Enter a Drug Rep (without an appointment)
Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.

Drug Rep
Gracious my lord,
I should report that which I say I saw,
But know not how to do it. (as if)

Well, say, sir.

Drug Rep
As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look’d toward the High Street, and anon, methought,
The corporate began to move.

Liar and slave!

Drug Rep
Let me endure your wrath, if’t be not so:
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a competitor practice.

(becoming angry)
If thou speak’st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
I care not if thou dost for me as much.

(…and alarmed)
I pull in resolution, and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
That lies like truth: ‘Fear not, till Corporates
Do come to my practice:’ and now a competitor
Comes toward my practice.

Arm, arm, and out!

(…now in confusion)
If this which he avouches does appear,
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.

(…and resignation)
I gin to be aweary of the sun,
And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone.

Ring the alarum-bell!

Blow, wind! come, wrack!

At least we’ll sell out with harness on our back.


From Macbeth, Scene V, by William Shakespeare. With apologies to William, The Royal Shakespeare Company, anyone Scottish and anyone under the age of 30 that never studied English Literature after GCSE.

Now it will be obvious to you that I am not a poet or a bard or lay claim to anyone else’s genius, BUT what I do know is that our friend MAC here is not alone in running a gamut of emotion on a daily basis as he contemplates an uncertain future as an independent practice owner faced with increased competition, an uncertain economy, recruitment problems and the daily grind of dealing with the clinical- management paradox that is the “busy-trap” – working far too hard, for far too long, for far too little return due to poor profit, inefficiency and frustration in his practice.

Well, Mac, it doesn’t have to be that way!


Why not join me and Mac at one of this year’s Veterinary Business Accelerators near you to find out more about  our Platinum Practices that are enjoying running, profitable, productive and engaged practices – NOT a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Stop wishing the estate o’ the world were now undone.
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
And beat them backward home.


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