Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Doctor Dream
It is pretty standardly accepted that there is nothing more boring than reading or being told about someone else's dreams, but I had one the other day that was so ridiculous and illustrative of the petty nature of my true mind that I thought I had better write it down. I have noted before that on occasion I have some doubts as to whether I ought not to have been a doctor, though this would have required adopting a completely different mindset and mode of life years before even going to college, though I actually care nothing about people's health, though I find the entire subject of sickness and disease singularly uninteresting whenever it comes up (indeed even with the most boring people, unless some monstrous growth has broken out on their face, their illnesses are still more boring than anything else about them), and though I hardly would want to wake up and perform the actual tasks and duties of being a doctor every day. What I want of course when I have such thoughts is to be in the position to make people feel they have to watch their behavior and words around me, to consider that I am every bit the serious adult that they are and indeed probably much more so, to make them feel that they and their children will never be able to overcome me and my children either intellectually or in any other competitive arena--in short, to be able to make other people feel as inadequate and bad about themselves as I have generally always felt around substantial people. This is an awful spirit in which to think about anything, and I usually beat it down within a few minutes and try to turn my attention to some improving and more uplifting subject; but still it is there and obviously it floated somewhat to the surface in this dream.

In the dream I was, although I am now 38 years old, in the science classroom of some high school--it had sinks and bunsen burners and glass cabinets and all that sort of thing--taking my medical school examination. I found I was quite giddy to be doing so, all my fellow test-takers (we were all wearing white doctor coats) being obviously intelligent and capable people, and indeed, at my table were two men I had gone to college with, neither of whom to my knowledge became physicians, though either certainly could have, and both would, if they had, probably been as trusted and beloved by their patients, nurses and community as Dr Kildare or any of the other superdoctors of 1960s TV. The questions on the test were not in the least difficult--indeed they were trivia questions--however the test came in a little metal sliding-box in which the letters of the alphabet were all jumbled and one had a pair of tweezers with which to rearrange them quickly to make the right answer, sort of like the game Operation. This is the extent of detail that my mind is apparently capable of conceiving where the study of medicine is concerned.

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