ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: If Darwin Only Knew...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

If Darwin Only Knew...

In previous editions I have commented on the ridiculous heights people will go to make their presence felt in class (see Hypertalkers). However, having spent even more time in lecture, I can't help but feel like I've observed an evolution into different species of talkers. It is rather remarkable, I think. And really fucking annoying too. So without delay, I present to you the nightmare that is the Question-Asker Evolution Process. (As a disclaimer, I realize upfront how incredibly dorky this makes me appear, but honestly, if you spent your day trying to learn about nerdy science stuff it just becomes a lameass part of you).

It all began with a simple raising of the hand, a simple four months ago. From this initial promise of life spewed forth a mass of churning, ugly, indistinguishable questions from indistinguishable question-askers. However, as a result of environmental influences, these people have changed, morphed, and evolved into their present, differentiated conditions. I give you now a catalog of the predominant types:

Emptus Brainus - You know who this is. Approximately every five minutes, this particular species will raise his or her hand. Not out of a desire to annoy or show off, but rather because this person simply does not get it. By it, I mean anything the lecturer is saying. For example, a slide on "Four causes of Pulmonary Edema" might be followed immediately with a "So which are the four causes of pulmonary edema?" Or a slide stating "The active site is very nonspecific, so that MANY molecules can fit in it" with a picture of six different things fitting is followed with a "Does that mean these types of proteins can fit six different molecules only?". It is not long before a "Can you help me tie my shoes?" or "Why is my tinkle yellow?" question will appear in class. It makes you wonder how this person made it this far? I mean seriously, how the hell does someone like this get into medical school? Do you really want this type being YOUR doctor? I sure as shit don't. This raises the question: how does one know how to avoid such creatures of idiocy? Sadly, I am dumbfounded as to a useful screening process, but I am open to any and all suggestions.

KA (abbreviation for Knowit Allus) - Why the unnecessary and confusing abbreviation, you ask? Well, that is a major method for identifying this class of jacka-umm-question asker. No matter the lecture, this person insists on demonstrating his or her outside knowledge (most likely as a result of working as an EMT or other related health profession, but this could also apply to a law student who spent three years as a para-legal, etc.) by asking a question that is over almost everyone's head and by inserting as many complicated abbreviations as possible. A typical exchange might go as follows:

Professor - "...so that is a typical acid-base case."
KA - "Would you want to administer the epi or naravac before or after getting the ABG, or is that contraindicated by an increased PMI?"

OK seriously, what the fuck are you saying? We have only been in school for 4 months, asshole. The great thing is that, despite all this previous knowledge, KI AUs are likely of below-average intelligence and are merely compensating for this insecurity by trying to make everyone else feel inferior while they still aren't familiar with the medical-specific lingo this person has had years to master. As a result, when they choose to make questions that are more like suggestions (like the above example), they are more than likely blatantly wrong. An exchange today between a professor and a KA resulted in the professor saying "Well, actually, that would most likely kill the patient." There is justice in this world.

Ripoffus Cockus - Perhaps the most deadly question-asker, this person is known for asking questions in the most violent way possible. No matter what the topic, where there is a question about aortic stenosis, lung volumes, or when tomorrows handouts will be available, the subtext is always clear: ANSWER THIS FUCKING QUESTION RIGHT NOW OR I WILL GO UP THERE AND RIP YOUR COCK OFF. There is a sense of urgency to this question asking that is unparalled in the modern world. It is advised to proceed with caution around these people and always let them ask as many questions as they want.

Toolus Maximus - This particular species sadly does not even realize he or she belongs to the Question-Asker class. Instead, this person basks in a false sense of coolness, faking a sense of idiocy by choosing to raise his or her hand and say something that makes him or her sound dumb to look cool. You all know what I mean. For example, after a series of post-class annoncements are made, this person will undoubtedly follow with a "Everyone! I'd just like to announce that I have no more announcements-HAHAH" despite having heard that joke be made multiple times in the past with little or no success (perhaps even done by this person previously) - this person will also be thinking he or she is the funniest man alive and will laughin your face until you laugh with him or her. Oh please shut the fuck up. The beautiful irony is that this person is only demonstrating how BIG of an idiot he or she is anyways, and, more importantly, how this idiot personifies all that is "Tool"-ness (a word that evades definition but is so important and all-encompassing - perhaps I will go into what really defines a tool some other time).

Offus Highwayus- Perhaps a sufferer of ADD as a child, this type can often be found pulling questions out of thin air, totally blind to the fact that such questions are completely and utterly irrelevent and wholly detrimental to the learning process of the class. Beyond that, they are really fucking annoying too. Interestingly, the questions are often KA-like and way beyond the scope of the class, and suggest that there is a recent common ancestor between these two species. To these people I repeat these immortal words from a brilliant immunology professor: "Jeez, what's with these detailed intense science questions? You guys are in medical school, not grad school. Lets stay on the highway..."

Makus Sensus - Shockingly, one group has evolved that does ask questions that are clear, relevant, and not long-winded. Atheists beware: The evolution of this group ironically provides true evidence for the presence of a higher being and true divine intervention, for no one thought this would ever be possible a few months ago...

There are many other forms, but this is enough for now...

(Well, I've gone and done it. I am now the biggest dork of all time. But I did manage to procrastinate for a solid 30 minutes.)