Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday memories

Back where I trained, he ran one of the country's top neurosurgery residencies. Before his retirement he was widely considered one of the best brain surgeons in the world, and people came from all over the planet to see him.

His position, and skill, brought him enormous financial rewards. Because of the size of his house he threw a large Christmas party every year to which all the neurology and neurosurgery people were invited, including peons like me and the other neurology residents.

He was also socially inept, and entertainment was never his thing. Obligated to host the party, he firmly planted himself by the door, greeting all who came with "Glad you could make it. Food is to your left, bar on the right." This was his mantra, repeated endlessly all evening until it was replaced with repetitions of "Thank you for coming. The valet is to your right."

For one night every year he was the highest paid doorman on Earth.

I went to his parties for 4 consecutive years. In that time I never once saw him leave the door (maybe he had a foley) and never heard him say anything there outside of those 2 phrases.

We all learn a lot from residency. Among other things, I learned I didn't want to be a doorman.


Anonymous said...

You did remember to tip him, right?

Bobbi said...

Wow, that's really kind of sad.

Packer said...

Let's not be too hasty.

Food on the right, probably beats the tumor is inoperable on most days of the week.

arzt4empfaenger said...

I agree that it sounds sort of sad, but maybe he actually enjoyed it anyway. Some introverts just like being around people, and this way he had personal contact to each guest. It might have been a relaxing change to being at work.

S.M.O.D. said...

Awesome. You captured the arrogance of the man.

Every chief of NS in the country will read "best brain surgeon in the world" and be sure it's about him/her.

And the doorman story probably applies to all of them.

CrayonEater said...

Everyone's a genius, just on different subjects. (Sort of Will Rogers)

Anonymous said...

Hey, it worked for him and for everyone else.

Anonymous said...

A bit odd to many people? Maybe. But just because the man was smart, wealthy, owned a big home and could host a big party doesn't automatically make him an arrogant douche.

I'll bet he was an introvert with a brilliant mind who really felt at home doing what he loved within the arena of neuromedicine. And, thank goodness for that since the stories tells of his influence on his peers who probably soaked up his knowledge and helped their patients tremendously. Take him out of his comfort zone and the anxiety kicks in?

So really, who cares if this guy wasn't Mr. Life of the Party and seemed to prefer his role at the door?!? Why be sad or feel pity for him? Maybe it's exactly what he wanted to do in that situation.

It doesn't make him an arrogant prick.

arzt4empfaenger said...

As long as the food was good, I wouldn't have minded too much. ;-)

Zen of Cake said...

Bless his heart, I feel him. I hate parties, but at certain social echelons they're expected, so if you're an introvert/have poor social skills, you....wind up as the world's most expensive doorman! Heck, maybe he liked the people watching. Arrogant is the last thing I'd have assumed about him, tbh.

Bobbi said...

I don't know where anyone sees arrogance in this, either. And, no, it's not true of all hotshot neurosurgeons. I've had occasion to meet a couple, and they were both quite personable.

spectrummom said...

Neurosurgeons are some of the weirdest group of people I met in all of my medical training.

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