Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Curse of Epicurus

"Human, I wonder why you’re a better make than I could ever build or create
You know not love or hate
I am so scared of what will kill me in the end for I am not prepared
I hope I will get the chance to be someone, to be human
Look what we’ve done
Look what we’ve done"

Human (2010) by Ellie Goulding

If everything goes according to plan, I'll be graduating my first posting in a fortnight. Ob and Gyn is not my favourite cocktail in the bar but the taste sort of grows on a person, you know?

Recently, I received an insight into how I was selected to be one of the two house officer leaders in the first place. A couple of days ago, I approached the medical officer in-charge of house officers to tell her that I'm leaving soon and that she would have to get another sucker outstanding individual to fill the vacuum. She told me to rattle off a string of names at random but she didn't like the sound of any of them. Then, one of my colleagues happened to stroll by and she decided on the instant that he should be the next HO leader. I half-expected her to holler "Pikachu! I choose you!"

While it's gratifying to know that I was one of the HO's she disliked least, I also know now precisely which of my coworkers she outright disdains - and I'm not quite sure what to do with that knowledge. It also made me wonder: which of my many bosses secretly hate my guts?

In a post-round powwow last Wednesday, a specialist singled me out openly as an example of a good house officer - and that totally made my day. I also secretly hate it that it can make my day. It made me feel like a spaniel pup, ever-eager to please; fetching papers and and bedroom slippers just for that little pat on my foofy head. And I also find his praise perplexing because I don't think I'm cleverer or more hardworking than any other house officer in the department. In my mind's eye, I honestly see myself as a middling worker with no loftier goal than surviving the posting without beeping too loudly on anyone's radar.

On Thursday, said specialist excused me from the afternoon round and summoned me down to his office in the clinic where he had me "chaperone" as he scanned a few patients. To "chaperone" in medical parlance meant sticking around to make sure that nothing sexy happens between a doctor and his female patient - and chaperones are always women. By the virtue (or sin) of being male, I am technically not qualified to do any chaperoning, so his request struck me as being more than a little bizarre. He then proceeded to give me a crash lecture on scanning for fetal anomalies (which I only have a very elementary understanding of) and when he was done with the patients, he proceeded to show me a few 3D sonographs of brain defects in unborn babes in his collection - which I thought were pretty damn neat. In the meantime, my partner had to do all the ward work in my absence while I essentially had a one-on-one teaching session.

I felt out of my depth then; like I'm in a race where which was rigged for me to ultimately disappoint whoever that is fool enough to bet on me. I have no ambitions to speak of. I do not aim to be better than everyone else in anything I do (and frankly speaking, I don't see my destiny in medicine at all). Whatever it is that's the opposite of a go-getter, I'm it personified. I'm so much of a beta male that if I'm a girl, I wouldn't want to fuck me.

My idea of a perfect life is that of a wealthy Victorian highborn lady who does nothing but write, read or paint, and is free to pursue studies in whichever subject she fancies because no one expects her to amount much to anything anyway. In 21st century terms, what I'm saying is that I want to be Paris Hilton, but classy.

Dreaming of pipes,
k0k s3n w4i


Diyana said...

hahahahaha. That last sentence sums it all up. You should've just wrote that. ;p

McGarmott said...

Please tell me that your destiny is to write (novels), please please please ...

k0k s3n w4i said...

Diyana: if i have a twitter account then yes ;)

McGarmott: i'd certainly like that. i'm stuck in that creative rut where i think nothing i ever do is good enough. most people who have ever tried to write, paint pictures, make movies or compose songs would know exactly what i mean.

Diyana said...

ahaks. no, don't get on twitter, that's the dark side >_<

McGarmott said...

Sen Wai, incidentally, my latest blogpost about something that I encountered today reflects just that. (The Ira Glass quote that's doing the rounds on the Internet these days is so fucking spot-on.) The thing is, you just need someone to ascertain the validity of your talent – less so because it makes it true, but more so that you believe it. And dude, in your case, I am one of those 'someones'.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Diyana: but the dark side is sexy!

McGarmott: i was thinking of that ira glass quote when i replied you. and also something george hrab said about making the best possible version of anything you're making that you're able to - and not worry that it's not perfect. he was quoting someone else but i can't recall who it was though. he also said that the worst piece of shit anyone have created is still better than that perfect novel, play, song or movie you have in your mind.

McGarmott said...

Yeah, but can you imagine thinking like that - not worrying whether the shit you're creating is perfect? I still can't, and get paralysed as a result. Sometimes one feels that the best version of the thing that you create is not worth making because it doesn't seem like it impacts the people you want to have an impact on (the audience, the reader ...).

nicoletta said...

yeah, same here, no ambitions to speak of. never really had any. about that creative rut you mentioned, I'm of the opinion that sometimes initially it's best to mass produce as much stuff(writing, paintings, music, etc.) as possible...quantity over quality, and not all needs to be shared with everyone. it will really get you into a productive and discerning mode and then you can obsessively refine and edit all that stuff afterward.