I offer Exhibit “A.” Proof positive that most people don’t choose their jobs as much as their jobs choose them. Exhibit “A” is a vocation smack atop the ‘Who in the world would chose that job?’ employment pyramid. No, not portable toilet cleaner. No, not North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un’s food taster. It’s a job no high school student on this planet has dreamt of holding (yes, even the ones smoking dope behind the gym). The job is prestigious; nonetheless, it’s often quite literally the butt of the joke. Bingo. You got it. I speak of the lonely, and much maligned, proctologist.
On the first day of medical school, when the professor asks for a show of hands on the interest in various specialties – neurology, pediatrics, dermatology, do you see any hands rising for proctology? Do you see one hand? Is it even on the list? Do you see one brave soul raising his hand for “other” and announcing, “Proctology, Sir”? (Remember, each of these students is going to choose a lab partner to share a cadaver. First impressions count.)
So when exactly does someone take the sharp bend in the road that leads to the glamour of proctology? I have a theory. It’s actually one I stole from John Grisham’s book, The Rainmaker. I would like to say it was based on careful peer-reviewed research, but that would violate my policy against doing research. I avoid this drudgery with my own brand of “research,” which I refer to as “Research-lite.” (Yes, maybe I have been drinking too much Miller beer). My policy is that if I can’t find an answer on my iPhone in under eight seconds (I was going to say ten, but who’s kidding whom?) I make it up. Try it. It’s great. Example – 38% of all professional baseball players drive American made cars. (Sounds authoritative, doesn’t it?) For all I know, 90% of them drive Yugos. Back to my John Grisham inspired theory. In Grisham’s The Rainmaker, a doctor tells the protagonist that one of the reasons he went into oncology was that there wasn’t much competition. I mean how many people want to drop the Big News on one poor soul after another? So I figure the same goes for proctology. I’ve heard that the process of trying to land a residency in neurosurgery is practically a knife fight. On the other hand, the proctology department is no doubt serving tea and cookies to coax students into their program. The waiting room during interviews is probably a ghost town.
Think about it. There are only a couple of ways for a proctologist to view the “subject” or “target” as it were, and they both require that the doctor either sit on one of those little stainless steel stools, or crouch down for a good look. (And to think that I once quit a job because I didn’t like the view.) Amazing. After sweating the grades through primary, middle and high school, and then skipping all the parties in college to get the grades for medical school, this is your reward. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure it’s deeply fulfilling in its own way. I’m serious about that. I SAID I’m serious about that.
That said, while some folks are able to steer their vocational ship in the general direction of their interests, the wind blows where the wind blows. (And most proctologists hope the wind doesn’t blow, if you catch my drift). We’re all along for the ride. So there you have it. Exhibit “A.” Game. Set. Match. Edwards.
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