“What’s up, Big Dope?” he said as I pretended not to know him.
“Waiting for the first speaker,” I said. I began to study my program.
“Can you help me while you wait?” he said.
“Help you what?”
“I’m preparing for a test.”
“What kind of test?”
“Just a test,” he said, thrusting a sheet of documents into my hand. “Just ask me the questions and see how well I do.”
I glanced at the sheets. They contained a series of multiple-choice questions. Then I looked back at him.
“Just ask me the first one,” he said.
I read aloud the first question listed. “The patient should be positioned (1) on his stomach, (2) on his back, (3) on his side, or (4) It doesn’t matter.”
“Number two,” he said. There was genuine excitement in his voice. “What’s the second one?”
I looked, and confusion began to set in. “What is the optimum length of the first incision?” I didn’t bother to read the answers.
“C.W.,” I said. “What the hell is this?”
“It’s a test for doing an appendectomy,” he said. “I want to get licensed in case I might be needed.”
“I want to be approved for conducting appendectomies so I made up this quick test to prove I’m ready.”
“I just need to pass a test,” he said. “So let’s get busy.”
“C.W.,” I said. I didn’t know where to begin.
“You can’t be permitted to conduct an appendectomy by passing a test.”
What could I say? “It’s idiotic,” I said.
“Isn’t that the way your species’ education system works?”
I didn’t know how to answer. In a federal building some four or five blocks from where we sat, experts are promulgating that exact methodology.
|Why must I study the skeletal system?|
I just want to do appendectomies.
“No,” I said.
“Why?” I can learn exactly how to do it in just a few hours,” he paused. “Particularly if I have a guide for taking the test.”
“One thing,” I said.
“Experts tell me it takes four years, a great deal of supplemental learning, practice, and considerable experience combined with contemplation to know what to do if something goes wrong.”
“What could go wrong?”