Friday, January 20, 2017

Religion in the form of Ecclesiastes and The Golden Rule Combined with blog-Related Housekeeping Chores

It's a hard-knock life around here. Bring your A Game or go back to where you came from.

At least one of my dear friends, and perhaps more, would prefer that I not say some of what I will say here. My presumption is not that my friend and/or anyone else would take issue with the content of what I have to say but, rather, would see what I am conveying here as a response to criticism or as defense of previous writings. I've been advised, with very good reason, not to defend what I have written when criticism or opposition appears. I won't go into the reasons for such, because I think those of your who read here semi-regularly already have a grasp of where I am going with this.

I recently referred to  a fellow student -- one with greater seniority than I but a fellow student nonetheless, as a "cunt." While I'm the first to admit that scooping so low into the lexicon of the English language to find a descriptive noun so fitting for the "peer" in question does not necessarily speak well for my grasp of the English language and does not cause me to feel pride in my level of linguistic skill, I stand by my use of the term in description of the person in question.  At times an unconventional shoe -- perhaps even one that can be purchased at Walmart, of all places --  fits the foot of a particular person, in which case it seems -- to me, anyway --  utterly senseless for me to scour the shoe racks of the most exclusive stores on Rodeo Drive to find another shoe or pair of shoes that might possibly fit almost as well, but almost certainly will not be a better fit if even as good. If future interactions between myself and this person are of sufficiently noteworthy nature to merit inclusion into this blog, the peer in question will likely be referenced by the same crude term. It is my guess that most who read here (I don't advertise this blog to pre-adolescents) can handle the figurative use of the word cunt on occasion. I am speaking for myself right now, but I would not choose to regularly read a blog that was filled with almost nothing but expletives and crudities indicative that the writer's mastery of his or her native language was such that he or she had few options in making his or her points or any other literary references without resorting to gutter language.  In my own case, I feel that the use of this word cunt is the exception rather than the rule in terms of demonstrating my ability to express myself in conventional English terms. If you, as one of my readers,  find my sparing use of the word cunt to be unaccountably coarse to the degree that it causes my blog to be difficult for you to continue to read, please leave either a message here or an email to me at or a Twitter DM @theAngelAlexis . Perhaps some sort of compromise may be reached.  Let me reassure you, though, that even with the occasional inclusion of cunt as the moniker of choice in referring to or describing a particular one of my colleagues, I have no intention of taking this blog all the way to the depths of the Bowery section of blogs. 

Much verbiage has been created -- by those ranging from authors of religious tomes now having been elevated to the level of scripture, all the way down to those working for the Hallmark corporation and its lesser competitors, who would use sentimentality and greed to guilt all of us into believing that the only way we could ever truly let our loved ones know that we think of them during times of celebrations both major and minor, that we love them, or to convey to those we've wronged  the totality of the depths of sincerity of our admissions of wrongdoing and desire for retrenchment, is by shelling out our hard-earned cash for all the merchandise Hallmark and it competition are manufacturing and hawking. The bottom line here is that many of our religious leaders, along with our modern-day cultural leaders of morality, who would include but not be limited to greeting card manufacturers and crafters who stitch inspirational maxims onto decorative pillows and wall hangings, cling to the concept that love conquers all, that the only way to have a friend is to be a friend, that incivility must always be returned with kindness, and that if a person behaves in an unkind or otherwise unacceptable manner either to you or to me, the only correct way to respond is with kindness and love. It is our responsibility as the recipients of ugly, uncivilized, and abusive  behavior to kill the perpetrator with our own kindness. He or she has not learned to love himself or herself. Only by the attainment of such knowledge of self-worth and self-love will the person be able to recognize his or her own true worth, and thus rejoin the human race on terms that might be compatible with the standards of you or me.

I'm saying here and now that I'm not buying into this particular brand of masochistic pop-psychology.  We've all had hard knocks in life.  No parents are perfect. With such being the case, not one of us received everything we needed from our parents throughout our childhoods and youths. Some of us did better in the parent lottery than did others of us, but not one of us had the advantage of escaping childhood unscarred by errors made by our parents. Likewise, not one of us escaped childhood and youth entirely unscathed where treatment from our peers was concerned. Each and every one of us was, at some point in our earlier lives, a bully to someone else. Similarly, each of us has suffered at the hands of at least one bully, whether it was physical or psychological abuse.  

I don't think I believe the cliche of that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. In the cases of some lower forms of life, there is something to be said in favor of the immune properties an organism encounters through exposure in formidable  yet ultimately defeatable doses from challengers. That's the theory (which has essentially transcended theory to become law) behind antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. The bacteria has been exposed to so many antibiotic substances in just the right  strengths so that it, in effect, becomes invinceable, not unlikely a young prizefighter being provided with an opponent of the perfect strength for each succeeding match until he has developed the strength and skill set to ultimately defeat any opponent who might ever be thrown up against him.   With humans in their natural states, though, I assume it's possible for one to be beaten down, physically and/or mentally, to the point that one continues to exist though not necessarily to thrive. Still, those of us who have made it as far in education as medical school have, for the most part, if not having actually overcome the scars from earlier negative encounters with imperfect upbringings and negative experiences we may have encountered with educational systems and with peers, have dealt and/or made  peace with traumatic experiences from our respective pasts to the degree that it is assumed we can conduct ourselves  professionally. We are expected not necessarily to like each other but to treat each other with professional respect and courtesy, including, to a degree, those who may be somewhat beneath us in the pecking order.

My initial encounters with the cunt were ones of one-sided respect, with the respect coming from my side.  I do not know what it may have been about me that caused her to come at me with, in a verbal manner, all claws bared. I've been told that these sorts of conflicts are, more often than not, female versus female, not that all male-on-male or mixed-gender encounters in our program have been 100% civil and professional. Still, a disproportionate amount of the conflict that has taken place in our program has occurred between women of non-descript physical attributes and average-at-best achievement in the medical program itself versus those who, at the very least, pay close attention to detail in terms of cosmetics, fashion,attire, and accessories, and who excel in most or all components of the medical school program, which is not to say that they're inherently in possession of raw material that would make them better-looking or smarter than others, but it may perhaps seem that way to some of the others. 

I excel in my medical school program despite being considerably younger than the oldest in the program, and am noticeably younger than the youngest in the program other than Matthew. Most material comes easily to me, but I also put in a huge number of study hours. I make a reasonable effort to look presentable whenever I'm on duty, however early than may be. I'm not a mirror addict, nor do I spend a disproportionate amount of money on clothes of make-up. I don't buy an outfit, wear it once, then get rid of it. I've been seen in the same outfits multiple times each quarter.  I do, however, style (or at least thoroughly brush) my hair each day before lecture or work. 

I've had a few breaks which have caused me to gain attention. One was the sexual harassment incident early in the quarter. The other was the flukish hospital parking lot delivery of the baby. I sought out neither of those incidents, yet made myself appear in the best light possible when they happened to me. Sometimes things just happen, and all one can do to mitigate once's circumstances is the best her or she is able to do.

If these things, and I can only guess that it is such things that have gotten under the skin of the cunt and the couple of other students who have behaved less than professionally toward me, have caused sincere distress to the three students in question, and to the cunt in particular, I would encourage A) that they evaluate whether or not medical school is a suitable match for them; an B) that they perhaps seek professional psychological assistance. It is not my job to provide that psychological assistance, not that I am in any way qualified to do so. 

This is not like when I was a substitute teacher in a high school summer school math class,  when some of the girls were a bit jealous that the boys in their classes were looking at me in a way that would have been far more appropriate that the boys look at their female classmates. In that situation, I felt that it was my responsibility to mitigate some of the discrepancies that existed between myself and my temporary students. I made it a point to compliment each girl in the class each day on some aspect of her physical appearance, hoping not only to make the girls feel better about themselves, but to cause the boys, also, to take notice of their female peers. As far as the math was concerned, of course I was better at it than either the boys or the girls. I held a university degree, while they were mere high school students.  In any event, I had a responsibility to these young people - children, really, though soon to be adults. I took very seriously my role both in teaching them and in keeping the girls in the class from being jealous of me.

This situation in which I'm currently involved was nothing like my substitute teaching gig. I have no obligation whatsoever to do anything to help these women who dislike me to feel better about themselves. That's on them, their own advisors, and their own mental health professionals, if they have been wise enough to engage the services of such;  they most certainly are in need of them.

I did not bring this situation on myself. I said or did did nothing to start this supposed feud. I was not the one who called out a peer whose Minnie Mouse Halloween costume featured "the slut look," nor did I suggest that "the slut look" was not a good look for anyone. I would never say something of that nature to anyone else, much less in the presence of peers. It is not my job to say anything to the person who said those things to me to make her feel better about herself because I care about her or for any other reason. If she or either of the other two women who have spoken inappropriately to me this year have serious intent to pursue careers as physicians or surgeons, in addition to brushing up on their studying skills, they need both to grow up and to devote time toward the development of social skills . I am a mere third year medical school student. It is neither my right nor my responsibility to say or to do anything to  accelerate either of these processes in any of these women.

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