Tales From The Crypt V: The All-Purpose Tool
Ouch. That's a big tool*.
Anyways, that got me thinking. Who, among the vast array of medical people that I have encountered in the last couple of years, is the biggest tool in my department, otherwise known as the festering sack of shit that is medical school?
After much thought (Procrastination 2398429038, Boards studying 0), I am inclined to present my winner for this year's Wedge Award**, given every year hence for the biggest tool I've had to deal with in the past academic year. This year's winner hails from the East Coast and is one of my "special" classmates that gets to be in school for a few extra years to get an extra three letters by his name (PhD), which he will undoubtedly make sure you see and know about as much as humanly possible. What separates this tool, who I have chosen to name the All-Purpose Tool from all the other potential nominees (and believe me, there's a lot of them) in my class? Let me share with you a few reasons why:
Much of the last two years of medical school was geared towards helping us understand, practice, and become competent with the physical exam. In other words, it was time we spent learning how to fake everything so well that you, the patient, will never know that we have no clue what we are doing. However, as you may realize if you've ever been to the doctor before, some parts of the physical exam require the touching or manipulation of body parts on the chest or back, which means that when a doctor was going to demonstrate it for our classmates, some lucky gentleman (sadly, no ladies) was going to have to take his shirt off in front of everyone to help out. I vividly recall the first time this happened for two reasons. First, I remember sinking so far into my chair that I could almost taste the coffee some prick dental student spilled on the floor earlier in the morning, all to avoid exposing my pasty whiteness in front of everyone. Second, and even more disturbing than that image of my pastyness exposed for all to see (which, believe me, is pretty bad), I heard the first of what would be many grunts from the All-Purpose Tool insisting that he be the model.
Why was this so bad? Well, it turns out that there’s guys without any back hair, guys with a few hairs here and there, guys with lots of back hair, Chewbacca, and then this piece of shit. Him taking his shirt off was undoubtedly the most hideous site I had ever seen. I could actually hear people in our class gasping and groaning. The doctors who were there to teach us the exam were visibly shaken by his back hair, some shaking their heads in disgust (no joke), and the one head doctor who had to do the demonstration was obviously very hesitant throughout the exam. Perhaps you don’t realize the magnitude behind that, but keep in mind that, unlike us students, these doctors have spent anywhere from the last five to thirty years of their lives sticking there hands up and in peoples assholes, vaginas, and any other pus-infested parts of peoples bodies, becoming so desensitized to any and all disgusting things that they don’t even blink in the wake of gross stuff…and they were STILL disturbed by the All-Purpose Tool’s back hair.
Unfortunately, this monster didn’t get the memo that gorillas were supposed to stay IN the mist, not jump out from in at every opportunity (how’s THAT for an obscure movie reference)? The only thing more frustrating and sickening than having to see his back hair that time was the fact that he insisted on volunteering for EVERY TIME AFTERWARDS. Not only that, he always ran up there with this huge smile on his face, actually thrilled with the opportunity to take his shirt off in front of all of us. He actually thought he was being cool and that we were enjoying the show. Honestly, he would have been better off putting the hair in dreadlocks and joining a circus freakshow or getting it all shaved off to provide complete heads of hair for at least twenty kids with cancer (but I guess if they knew where it came from they’d probably choose to remain bald – and, lets face it, he’d have to use at least one head’s worth to cover up his own hair loss). What a tool.
However, back hair does not by itself suffice to win the Wedge. Another pattern noticeable in this waste of space had to do with the facilities at our school. It turns out that one thing our school does not like to spend money on is functional projector equipment for lectures. As a result, the first couple of months of medical school were filled with frequent and convenient five to ten minute delays in between lectures as some clueless doc fiddled with his or her laptop and the projector equipment in order to get it all to work. This led to extra break, relaxation time, and happiness for all. However, after a few months of this, the Tool decided to appoint himself as master technology man, running up to the front of the lecture hall every time there was a hint of technical difficulties to either fix the problem quickly, or just make a further ass out of himself trying to fix the problem. He became so known for doing this people would mockingly chant his name to run down there and fix things when it looked like the equipment wasn’t working – the only thing sadder than that was that he ran down with the same smile used when taking his shirt off, which can only lead one to believe that he actually thought people respected him for what he was doing. In fact, the only positive to this was that I would get a rise out of the girls who sat in front of me every time I screamed out “TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRT!” when he’d run down there (this was actually followed a few times by “DEAR GOD NO!” from mysterious voices somewhere else in the lecture hall – again, no joke). Tool.
Finally, as we are in the midst of hardcore USMLE review, the last thing anyone needs to hear is someone being psycho about studying. However, when I ran into the All-Purpose Tool last week, he proceeded to lecture me on what was important to study and how to plan my time, insisting that I read one of the review books at least 10 times (as he planned to do). I’m sorry, but anyone who reads a book 10 times and tries to intimidate other people by telling them about it is not just a tool, he’s a fucking asshole too.
So I salute you, the All-Purpose Tool, as this year’s winner of the prestigious Wedge award. May you continue to express your tool qualities as far away from me as humanly possible.
*My mom once posed the following question to me: "So...I've never used that word in that way...what exactly is a tool?" Since I appreciated that it was not "Why don't you have a girlfriend already?", I told her I'd give it some thought and get back to her. However, I soon realized that while I could pick out a tool from a group of people really easily, I could not actually define the specific characteristics required to classify someone as a tool. Urbandictionary.com had one close entry (see entry #2), but it was also given as a series of examples, rather than a discrete definition. So the only response I could give to my mom was something like "Well, it's sorta like what Louis Armstrong said when someone asked him to define jazz - 'If you have to ask, you'll never know.' " And yes, I realize that was a really tool-y response on my part. Apologies to all.
**The Wedge Award is named in honor of a person (his real name is not Wedge but he insisted that everyone call him Wedge for some reason utterly beyond comprehension) who is, quite simply the biggest tool I have ever encountered...a man so renowned at my undergraduate institution for his skills as a tool that he was almost always referred to as Wedge, The Simplest Tool.