Saturday, October 30, 2010

Up in the air, down on the ground - a veteran sure and proud

A while ago, I saw the 2009 film Up in the Air, starring suavemeister George Clooney. It was your typical Clooney film, meaning it was slightly quirky, used a lot of close shots of his improbably perfect stubble, and exploited his prodigious talents in making mundane dialogue somehow seem interesting.

The movie has an interesting plot. Basically, Clooney plays this high-flying executive whose only job is to "consolidate" badly performing firms. If you haven't figures it out yet, it's just a nicer way of saying his job is to fire people. See, the company he works for specializes in this sort of thing (a repo agency for firms, if you will) so anytime a firm is not doing so hot, it will hire Clooney and Co. to come clean up. Clooney is your seasoned veteran: he has a gazillion frequent flyer miles (towards the end of the movie, he gets a special gold-plated card by American Airlines for becoming one of the very few people to accumulate ten million miles), and an equal number of club cards, credit cards, hotel discount cards and so on. Long story short, he has a change of heart, one predictably disastrous love affair, and decides to change his life for good.

The reason I brought up this movie is that lately I have been feeling like a veteran too. I may not have the same number of frequent flier miles that Clooney does, but I have certainly done more than a fair share of flying. Medical school interview sure have familiarized me with a LOT of airports that I would otherwise never have gone to. Since all of my interviews usually end around 4 pm in the afternoon, I end up taking the late evening flight back to LAX. That means I get to my apartment by 11 (on a good day) or midnight (on a mas o menos day).

And let me tell you something: no matter how much I hate the ridiculously long lines, no matter how irritated I get at the byzantine security procedures (I am severely glaring at you American for moronically counting my garment bag as a "third carry-on" bag), I definitely breath a nice, long sigh of joy and relief when I get down the escalator and see the giant pic of our esteemed mayor giving a wholesome grin. Damn it feels good to be back each and every time.

To round this off, here are some interesting tidbits from today:

  • God I had this kid patient once and he had severe foot odor. He had sweaty feet! - overheard at Northwestern med school. 
  •  My faculty interviewer was roommates with noted neurosurgeon Keith Black at the University of Michigan med school. He also partied hard with Magic Johnson when Magic was at Michigan State. Best quote from him: "We needled Keith a lot when he appeared on cover of Time." Medical celebrities!

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