Friday, August 24, 2007

messing around


one of the things that i instituted in the bad old days of my registrarship still puts a smile on my face when i think back.

it was my worst rotation. not the work but the head of the firm i was running. he tended to lose it sometimes and rip into one, sometimes for no clear reason. there was also usually no reprise. the entire firm had been struggling under what was viewed as a fairly oppressive regime. the particular consultant was a typical surgeon. bombastic to the extreme. often cruel with the students (in my opinion anyway). but he also had the typical inflated surgeon's ego. he once openly claimed that he could keep up with the young bulls even though he was getting on in years. he meant on calls, which was a bit of a joke because he would typically get called out only about once every two months, wheras the 'young bulls' would typically work right through the night, through the next day and way into the next night on every call.

as usual i digress. anyway. one day on the post call round after a particularly strenuous call with the entire team totally exhaused, he had some or other complaint. he went at me. i replied 'ja prof. jammer prof' (yes prof. sorry prof). he kept on. i tried silence, seeing that to apologise didn't work. it also didn't work. he just wouldn't stop. the students, luckily were sympathetic with me because we had a strong feeling of unity and team spirit based on what we had been through together, much of which was at the hands of the prof. so actually the prof was just moving himself down in their estimation. usually that knowledge would have been enough for me to just take his tirade, but with such a heavy call behind me and with exhaustion from weeks of his constant attacks, i felt my anger rising up. i became nervous i was about to do something stupid (to punch the prof would be something stupid).

as luck would have it, we reached the base of a flight of stairs. i just thought i need to get away from him. i moved quickly up the stairs. i looked behind me. the prof was keeping up. suddenly i realised his ego wouldn't have me beating him up the stairs. an evil smile crept onto my face. i pushed, but not too hard. just enough to be in front of him and create the false impression that he was holding his own against the 'young bull'. the students were way behind.

this we kept up for three floors of stairs. by the time we got to the top, the prof couldn't talk because he was so out of breath. even then he made a point of trying not to pant too obviously. i was gleaming. the students looked forlorn, but that was only because they didn't know what had just happened.

after those rounds, i called the students around me. i told them that from now on our post call entertainment would consist of exhausting the prof on the stairs. sure enough, next time around, the prof tried to keep up. the only difference was an excited body of students all around rushing full speed up the stairs. in fact this became a regular occurrence on every rond.

the prof never realised what we were doing. i think that is as it should be. it was not too noble of us, but in the context of that time and the type of sh#t we went through i think there may just be a small arguement to justify our behaviour in the name of sanity.

makes for a funny story i suppose

8 comments:

rlbates said...

Great fun! I had a "falling out" with one of the guys I did my hand surgery fellowship under. I really never figured out what I did wrong (& the nurses didn't know either). Anyway, I decided I would take the high road and "kill him with kindness". He would head down a different hallway to avoid me, but (if I saw in time) would go out of my way to say hello or good morning, always pleasantly, and force him to have to acknowlege me. The little devil in me was grinning the whole time.

Sid Schwab said...

Good story! Better still that it was a conspiracy with you and the students, and he never knew. Sweet revenge indeed, well modulated.

makeminetrauma said...

Well justified behavior I would say! I am a big fan of passive agressive behavior (and pretty good at it I might add) and it is so much more fun when the intended target has no clue!

MMT

Bongi said...

sid, after the first day it did become a conspiracy with the students. in fact when we approached the stairs i could hear the excited chatter from behind us. at the top of the stairs, all the students seemed to be invigorated and enjoyed the rounds so much more. maybe because they enjoyed our little joke and maybe just because the prof was always so tired he literally couldn't talk.

Roer said...

Well done for keeping your 'cool' and not pushing him down the stairs. ;-) He sounds arrogant. No matter where you work, there is always one of them...

Little said...

Ooooh, I remember those stairs: they were wicked. I would have loved to have raced that man up them: I've never met anyone who quite enjoyed the sound of his own voice so much, and I wish I'd known there wassuch an easy way tosilence it for a short while...

Bongi said...

little! i was starting to think you were gone for good.

Bongi said...

there was an interesting follow up to this story. the guy who rotated with this prof after me recently read this post. he laughed and said that now he knows why the prof always ran up those stairs. it seems the prof's ego was such that he had to take on the next young bok as well. so funny yet quite predictable.