Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I have been attending a series of lectures at BU Med School. I like science; I like to hear about research; I thought it would be fun. They had important doctors lecture on their area of research. Some were better than others. You know--some actually talk, and others read right off the powerpoint. The stuff they presented was a little boring--I was ready to hear about some amazing new discoveries, and they were all like "Smoking leads to heart disease." But it was OK.
There were two things that I hated though: one, the building the lectures were in has a constant smell of week-old garbage. Two, there were several other attendees who delighted in asking the most obnoxious followup questions.
Now, some of the mainly-elderly audience was asking kind of strange questions, but clearly they needed to know the answers, and I can't have a problem with that.
But then there was Pre-Med Asshole. Every time he raised his hand, I rudely rolled my eyes. He would invariably ask a "question" that was really just a list of vocabulary words he'd recently memorized, with no real point. The speaker would listen politely, blink, and try to form a question out of those words that he or she could answer, and end with "Does...that answer your question?" Pre-Med Asshole was a fucking showoff, but not even really smart. The worst kind!
Then there was My People Are Superior in Every Way Guy. Oh god. This guy did not ask questions. He would raise his hand and say "I have an observation," and I would shrink down in my seat because I was actually embarassed for him. For example, when the topic was Depression, he offered that His People do not suffer from depression, due to their "fighting spirits." The speaker respectfully repeated the main topic of her presentation: depression is caused by chemistry in the brain and central nervous system. She guessed that cultural coping mechanisms could mask or exacerbate depression. But MPASEWG wasn't having it. "We had a man in my country named Gandhi," he continued, "who had this fighting spirit! I have a fighting spirit!" The speaker allowed as how Gandhi and MPASEWG might have the somewhat-protective allele of a particular gene that has been recently discovered. But MPASEWG insisted on the more scientific conclusion of "fighting spirit". I wanted to ask his spirit to step outside to settle it mano a spirito.

Last night the topic was BOOBS! Or breast cancer, specifically. And oh my god, am I the only person on earth who still doesn't understand how mammograms are possible?? The the machine...and squashing....holy crap, that has got to hurt. Also I still can't look at my own chestal area and imagine how mine would get in the machine. They're ATTACHED, for pete's sake. And there is not much there! They don't stick out very far! And I just imagine this horrible pinching machine scrabbling at my chest trying to squash something that isn't there. And it misses like 30 percent of tumors? Why is it still used? That's insane!

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