ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: It Finally Happened.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

It Finally Happened.

Sometime during the middle of my second year of college, I was posed with a serious challenge by one of my friends (we'll keep things anonymous here and just call him Patsy). A bunch of friends (including Patsy) and I were in this horrific year-long human biology core and over the course of the year, each and every one of them said something during lecture in response to a professor's question - this was often met with surprise and shock by the entire class that any one of us actually knew something or could contribute, but such surprise usually faded to indifference and these extremely rare contributions over the year quickly disappeared, save a classic "clatherin coated vesicle" story that is not only too long of a story to explain now, but also probably not that funny if you weren't there and didn't know how big of an idiot Patsy really was in that class.

Anyways, it turned out that every one of my friends had said something, anything, in that class except for me. Now don't get me wrong - consistent active participation and raising of one's hand in lecture should be severely frowned upon, and lord knows I've bitched about that before with the hypertalkers in my class. However, making a statement at a once a year clip is probably healthy to remind everyone that a) you are alive and b) you are in the same class as they are. I mention that because despite consistent prodding by Patsy to grow some balls and say something during lecture, I never said a word. He repeatedly challenged me to stop being such a puss and just raise my hand and say something to prove I could do it. However, I have never said a word in reponse to a professor's question in a big, medium, or small-sized lecture setting. Maybe it is my constant neuroses, my shyness (it's that sexy kind of shyness, ladies), or my complete and utter indifference that has held me back all these years, but my booming voice had never been heard in any lecture hall whatsoever during class.

That is, until today. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am now a man, bar-mitzvah entitlements notwithstanding. However, if you were expecting some brilliant observation I just had to make with the group or something especially contributory, you obviously have no idea who I am.

In lecture today, we began studying parasites and we were being lectured to by an atrociously boring Australian Phd. After tediously covering...actually I have no idea what the first thing is we talked about (and yes, I just had this lecture less than 5 hours before writing this - I'm going to be YOUR doctor!), the prof began discussing Giardia lamblia. Briefly, for those of you who don't know, this little bastard is a parasite that you can get by drinking dirty water (medically referred to as "fecal-oral transmission" [insert offensive joke here]), which causes abdominal discomfort, mild to severe diarrhea, and horribly foul smelling flatulence. I was fortunate enough to contract this fucker at some point during a Birthright Trip to Israel (funny, they haven't asked to put a picture of me on the toilet for their promotional material yet) five years ago, and I vividly recall all of the symptoms.

Anyways, the prof started describing Giardia and then paused to ask if anyone had experienced this parasite before. Along with a few other people, I cautiously raised my hand - I should add that even raising my hand is a big deal, because I'm a total neurotic mess and don't like calling attention to myself. Of course it helped (or rather, it made it so that there really wasn't much choice) that the guy sitting next to me raised his hand and placed his finger over my head and pointed, because I had just whispered to him that I had Giardia in the past. The prof then said, "Wow that's more people than I expected. Anyone want to describe what it was like" (after he already described the symptoms in painfully boring detail, but I'll leave his lecturing skills alone for today).

Maybe the part of me that doesn't talk in class blacked out or something, but I found myself moving my lips as I uttered a word that shall live immortally in the pantheon of defining quotes of my life:

"Awful."

Yes ladies and gentlemen, this word, this one utterance, wholly constitutes all that I have spoken in lecture during my 23049823098423098 hours of lecture time I have sat through in my life. This was quickly followed by heads turning from every corner of the classroom to see who had just spoken such words, as well as some laughs by my friends and my roommate (who I shall anonymously refer to as Laymond) saying "Wait who is this guy? Is he in our class?", needlessly pointing out that there are probably a significant number of people in my class who have no idea who I am because I never say anything in lecture.

I realize that this might not seem like that big of a deal to most of you, but for me, this represents a defining moment in my life. I finally conquered the challenge set forth for me by Patsy 4 years ago, and I experienced what it is like to have the attention, albeit fleeting, of over a hundred people. I promise never to talk in lecture ever again.

I also realize that some of you might question the wisdom of this venture. After all, I spent so much time keeping my mouth shut in lecture, was the right time to open my mouth when I would proclaim to all that yes, I did have a hideously wretched farting attack not too long ago? When I would let the world know that I somehow managed to get some disease by fecal-oral transmission? When I did what amounted to someone getting on a rooftop and screaming, "I SHAT WATERY SHIT FOR DAYS, BITCHES!"? Well, probably not. But...fuck you, where were you 5 hours ago when I opened my mouth?

Somewhere, up in heaven, a Patsy got his wings.

9 Comments:

Blogger Nikki said...

When I did what amounted to someone getting on a rooftop and screaming, "I SHAT WATERY SHIT FOR DAYS, BITCHES!"? Well, probably not. But...fuck you, where were you 5 hours ago when I opened my mouth?

That partial paragraph made me laugh out loud at work!! Thankfully almost everyone left already today at 5, so no one could hear me. You really have a way with words...I hope you practice medicine as well as you write.

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