The recent events that just swooshed by—the end of residency with the very toxic moving out of things, the holiday season, the PSBIM reviews, the two graduations, the announcement of the specialty board results, the sudden commencement of fellowship—have given me a total whiplash. Spinal cord injury is more like it. “It’s like you’re just picking up where you’ve left off,” Smoketh has admonished in her wisdom. True, except there are a million broken, jagged pieces and I couldn’t pick them up for fear of getting wounded. Yes, I’m a failed song writer. Damn it.
I didn’t really feel like attending the rather anti-climactic graduation, but there were great speeches that made up the four-hour event. Got all misty with The Man’s speech, although now that Ging has turned over the position of being The Man to Djanah, I need to come up with a new name for her. Suggestions welcome. Having HIV speak in behalf of the batch was a treat as usual. And we couldn’t have found a better keynote speaker than Sir Kilgore Trout, whose unique inspirational speech had us in stitches. Vampirella had me write the introduction for Sir Kilgore Trout. I remembered Ellen Degeneres’ intro for Steven Spielberg in the 2005 Grammy Awards: “The following speaker needs no introduction”, after which she immediately left. A few months ago when asked who we would suggest to be the keynote speaker I suggested in jest our PMA oath taking speaker in 2006, Patricia Evangelista. "She can quote Spiderman," I said.
Kilgore’s fun and inspiring words of wisdom had me thinking: no one will ever get me to speak in front of a graduating medicine batch, and rightfully so, being messed up and all. However, in the same way that I always have this fantasy of going up the stage to get my award for Grammy Song of the Year while my song plays in the background or an Eisner for Best Comic Book Writer of the Year I henceforth deliver my speech to the graduating class of 2091. With the Kilgore Method of giving specifics. So:
To the graduating class of 2091, 2028, or 3028, etc etc etc congratulations etc etc etc here are my tips on how to live your life post-residency/post med school.
- There is this Simpsons episode where they all go on a vacation and Lisa, hating herself, adapts a new identity. Marge tells her some crap that she should just be herself and all, and Lisa retorts, to which I agree: I was being myself for eight years and it didn't work! You can't be yourself if you don't know who you are, so am I suggesting that you pick up self-help books or get psychotherapy? No. I'm suggesting: do whatever the heck you want to do and stop reflecting on whether that's really you.
- Waste time. Not all the time, okay, just some of the time. Just lie down and stare at the ceiling for hours on end. As long as there’s no one in the other room desperately waiting to be intubated. Sometimes no one will miss us, so just lie down and kill time. Kill it!
- Get an iPod and fill with all kinds of songs and listen to them in full blast, but keep your eyes and noses aware in case there’s a fire or a bomb exploding or something. Put the damn iPod in shuffle, we hate predictability.You misfits are lucky you can get thousands of songs in a device. In my time (AHAHAHAHA!) I had to bring my worn-down Walkman and twenty cassette tapes in my bag, and a pen in case the bleeping Walkman chomps up the tape.
- Read at least one comic book a day. Except the ones written by Felicia Henderson and drawn by Mark Bagley. I would recommend an actual paperback novel a day, but there are charts to write and patients to see. If you insist on paperback novels get some sort of buddy or support group to nag you to finish the damn book. We hate unfinished books.
- For the graduating medicine class: if you’ll go into residency, see all referrals. All of them. Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t ask too many questions—the time spent being a whiner could be spent drinking coffee or clipping your toenails. Seeing all referrals works on two principles: 1. The principle of PTN (Para Tapos Na) and 2. The principle of mas mabuti nang pagod kesa ma-guilty.
- Don’t introspect. Or reflect. Or think too much about undertones of things. Introspection kills. It’s more fun to sleep.