“I lift things up and put them down.” This quote is from a commercial for Planet Fitness I have seen in the past. It portrays a bulky body builder on a tour of the gym premises. There is no real communication with the tour guide since he keeps saying that he lifts things up and puts them down, irrespective of what the tour guide actually says.
He looks like a robot, focused on one thing that he sure excels at. Like a well-oiled machine, he doesn’t fail. He is the perfect bodybuilder. Medicine requires discipline, excellence, and commitment. There is no doubt about that.
Medicine also requires humanity. We are humans with stories, walks of life, hobbies, dreams, beliefs, emotions, just like anybody else. Or should I say maybe more than anybody else. Aren’t we called to be examples, healers, helpers, friends, teachers, counselors, pioneers, inventors or entrepreneurs? We are more than providers of standardized packages. I had the privilege to sit down with residency applicants when I was serving as a chief resident at my program. I was one of the interviewers. I sure cannot remember many applicants today, but I do remember one.
He said he was making wine in his cellar. Most of them had good scores, most had decided to become a doctor right at the exit of the birth canal, or when they had a sick family member, most said how they were impressed by the hospital and the residency program and that they would love to be here. They pretty much all looked alike at the end of the day.
What was left to guess was whether they were in the field to impress their parents who took pride in their sons’ or daughters’ success or a genuine personal dream, or a mix of both. I don’t remember if the winemaker fitted the standardized applicant description.
He did have good scores. When the match list was being prepared, my program director pointed at the wine maker’s mugshot and said he wanted that guy. He was looking for the “Most Interesting Man in the World,” after meeting clones of the most boring man. He was looking for a story.
The winemaker did not match at our program, but he sure stayed in my memory as an applicant who had a genuine human profile.