2 – 7 – 4 – 3

Study hard. They said. Go to university. They said. Become a doctor. They said. You’ll be respected. They said.

The Tories will be good for this country. Dad insisted. Give everything a good kick up the arse. He said.

Thanks school. Thanks Dad.

Following a naivety drilled into me by the ignorant, I stalwartly studied two sciences. I sacrificed at least one ‘1 Vodka Red Bull for £1.25’ night a week and forewent the day smoking hash and watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in one gulp. The outcome? To fester in the smell of bodily expulsions for a decade. It was quite an effort to feel useful when a patient played down his symptoms to the point of prescribing himself paracetamol. It was even more of a challenge to seem relevant when an ailment more extreme than tonsillitis was presented via a wiggling rear…and all I could do was prescribe paracetamol.

My entire career had become a small town-centre Christmas tree light switch-on.  One week of incessant marketing, a vaguely notable guest of honour, the big red button and then disappointed ‘Ooo-. Oh’.

When I received the telephone call that changed everything it was, and I appreciate the irony in this likeness, witnessing the creation of the universe:

Treat intrepid space-settlers on the new frontier in the coppice region of the Almeida Peninsular? How….out of this world! Yes. Of course! Sign me up!

It wasn’t a major effort to pack my bags and bid Lindsay on Reception farewell. I suspected her of committing to a full physical with at least one other doctor in the practice and the private dietitian. The overpaid overlord of precious human knowledge. Helping legions of lardos understand that:

While vegetable oil is more desirable than margarine, it has scant health benefits when used by the gallon to desecrate potatoes. Which, by the way, are not a vegetable.

I was relieved. No. I was exhilarated to be soaring 1000mph away from the ground I spent every day hoping would devour and engulf me. My fellow practitioners seemed less than jubilant as we ricocheted in the confines of our seats. Like action figures in a box we were sealed and waiting.

Some looked ashen, others perturbed. A few sobbed and a smattering more bit their nails. Clearly none of them had ever participated in Doctors Without Borders. Incidentally, I had had triumphed in my application and was annually assured I was moving up the waiting list.

I’ve had a long time to ponder why, like everything else in my sodden life, my ejector seat failed and everybody else got stung by the constellation of the Scorpio. I’m still strapped in and waiting for some sign of lifelessness. My only glum companion is a ‘break glass in case of emergency axe’. It fell in between my thigh and armrest during the blunt exit of my fellow travelling companions. An axe all round for those moronic enough to offer their services on behalf of the state.

Thanks Hypocrates. Thanks Dave. Thanks Irony.

 

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