Tales From The Crypt VI: Yes, This Actually Happened*
Sometime during the end of the first year of medical school, first year lecture halls are commonly filled with admitted students who want to revisit the school and get another glimpse at what they might be getting themselves into. It makes sense, after all – their first visit to the school was for their interview, which was likely very stressful and barred them from really getting a true feel for the school. One such individual, a petite Asian female, arrived uneventfully for one of our lectures at around this time, perhaps hoping to get a better sense of the freakshow that is my class.
She sat down somewhere in the middle of the lecture hall and probably would have gone unnoticed by me and the other six people who were awake in class. However, if that were the case, you would probably be pretty pissed off that I just took two minutes of your life away reading a totally pointless story.
Instead, she had the good wisdom to realize that, unlike the rest of us, she was not yet accountable for anything that the lecturer was talking about, and that maybe there were better ways to spend her last days of freedom before she started medical school (but I guess no one really knows what they have until it’s taken from them, so she was probably thinking “Wow this stuff is so interesting and exciting, I can’t wait!!!”…ah, to be young and naïve again...but I digress). Anyways, she gets up in the middle of the lecture to leave. Hey, looks like they finally accepted someone so smart she knows when to peace out of lecture!
Well, not so fast.
Our lecture hall is unique in that the entry/exit doors are in the front of the hall, so if you plan on coming in late or leaving early, you have to walk in or out in front of everyone (lecturer and block chairs, with their judging eyes, included). It is also unique in that this door is not only very difficult to push open, it also blends in very nicely with the wall. Our lecture hall is even more unique in that there is a door right next to the exit door that a) unlike the entry/exit door, actually looks like a door, and b) is very easy to open.
Revisiting our plucky young future medical student leaving class in front of everyone, she quickly approaches the exit door so as to not disturb the lecturer. Unfamiliar with the stiff nature of said door, she pushes rather hard (but apparently not hard enough) before determining that what she was pushing at was, in fact, not a door, glowing "Exit" signs be damned. Looking to her right, she notices the other door, opens it easily, walks into the darkness on the other side, and closes the door behind her. There is only one slight problem:
She just walked into a closet.
However, she didn’t just walk into a closet in front of 150 people, students and doctors alike, who would mark her for permanent humiliation should she ever cross their paths again for the rest of her career.
She stayed in the closet for the rest of class.
At first there were a few giggles from the people who noticed. Then word spread, and the laughter got a bit louder. And then, louder still. Whether out of sheer terror, embarrassment, or a complete lack of common sense, she remained in that supply closet for what must have felt like an eternity.
This raised an interesting question. What does one do in this situation? Laugh? Cry? Lau-ry? (Get it? Laugh and Cry, combined? Seriously could I be anymore brilliant?) Do you get up from your seat and open the door and show her the way out? Do you get up from your seat and walk into the closet with her? There is no protocol for something like this, because this kind of stuff is only supposed to happen on TV or in the movies. As for me, like I mentioned in the beginning, I had an urge to laugh larger than any in my entire life…but I held it in. Perhaps out of sympathy, perhaps out of respect, I kept it in as much as possible. Why? It is hard to explain the unspeakable bond that we share, but let me just say that after referring to myself as my sister’s “sister” (contrary to popular belief, I am actually a man) once in front of an entire camp filled with over 100 of my 8-year-old peers, and again as a 10-year-old on her Bat-Mitzvah tape (thus saving this moment of embarrassment for an eternity), I can only say that I’ve been there myself, and it just wouldn’t be right. As for her, I think someone eventually got her out of there, but I did not see her once in the past year so I think she decided to go somewhere else for medical school. Shocking, I know.
*I may have made reference to this story in past posts, but I felt like it was so good it was worth some elaboration. Apologies to any of you who feel cheated by a repeat story, but seriously, if you feel cheated, then you probably have bigger problems anyways.