She replied, " Pardon me for saying this, but why is it that medical doctor's handwriting is usually illegible? "
" Well " I said, " We are taught to write badly. In the second year of the medicine course, " How to Write Badly 201 is taught. "
" How can that be ? " she said credulously. I waited for a glint of humour in those eyes, but it didn't appear.
" Well, " I said, piling it on, " We can't be held responsible for what we write, since no one can read it but us. "
" Good Heavens , " she said, " I didn't know that ! " I looked in vain for any sign of amusement in that serious mien. So up the ante was my desperate way to deal with the matter. Surely in that stretch she would see that i was joking.
" Yes " I said. ' And in the course in third year medicine, " How to Mumble 301," will complete the skill set, how to communicate without doing so . That way we avoid any trouble such as " you said this or that. "
" Well" she said, as she rose from the table, " I'm glad you told me that. "
I could see that I was in deep trouble. She didn't get it . My humour fell flat . To disavow it now would be disingenuous, and reaffirm what she wished to believe, even possibly in the first place. I had just trashed myself and medicine in the face of an attempt at ill-advised humour in the wrong arena. I could imagine the furtive looks of disgust from the assembly of attendees in the coffee hour later. I slunk away and listened to the rest of the meeting chastened in the shadows.
As many of my loved ones have said to me before, "Why can't you ever be serious for once? "