Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Not So Brave New World--Part IV

The ancient writings would, at this point, conclude that all would live happily ever after. Perhaps theirs were simpler times. But in 2090 things were far more complex then anyone could have imagined.

To the horror of the Deans of medical schools and to the horror of the Directors of hospitals, not everyone who entered medical school would finish the program. Some were simply not doctor material. Instructors could poke and prod all they wanted but "doctorliness" would not descend on these students. At first the fiat remained firmly in place. Deans of medical schools were so sure of their methodology and philosophy that they refused to face facts; some students could not/would not learn in their schools. Since the competition was fierce among the various medical schools, sending a boy to different medical school was out of the question.

Some of these non-doctors remained in the medical schools, docilely following the others, but it was clear that they could not become medical practitioners. Others caused the Deans sleepless nights. These students were far from gentle and far from accepting. These students questioned why, if they clearly were not doctor material, they were being forced to become doctors before they could study to be something else. These students were rebellious.These students might, heaven forfend, foment rebellion in the general student body.

Still, nothing might have been done about the situation were it not for the debacle of the great conference of medical school Deans that was hastily called to address the situation. Dean__________, in a hurry to get to the conference, tore a button off his shirt. Having no knowledge of how to put the button back on, and his wife being engaged in outside work to support them, he looked in vain for someone to put the button on the shirt. Dimly in his memory he remembered that once upon a time there had been tailors, but they were all in medical school now. Dean___________came out of his house to find that his car had a flat tire. He would have called a mechanic, but they were all busily engaged in medical school studies. Dean _________ arrived at the venue for the conference only to find the lights off and the heating not working. He would have called a plumber or an electrician but, you guessed it, they were all in medical school. The meal that had been ordered to feed the participants would not arrive because all the caterers were in medical school. And so were the accountants, and the lawyers, and the financial advisers.

The medical school Deans huddled, cold and disgruntled, in the outside courtyard of the meeting venue. Only now was it clear that their original plan might have had a tiny flaw in it. By unanimous assent, the Deans voted that there would be exceptions to the Compulsory Medicine Education Act of 2049. Some few boys would be allowed to attend school for other studies at night while still studying medicine during the day. Some few boys would be allowed to study for a trade without completing advanced medical studies. Those boys of the Khazidiche medical schools, who had always been exempted from advanced medical studies, would continue to go out and work in the trades. And any boys whom a Dean labeled as a potential trouble maker would be peremptorily removed from the medical schools, regardless of their aptitude for the studies.

Thus it was that society was saved, if only for a little while, from total annihilation due to a lack of basic survival services. Man does not live by medicine alone, although some Deans still secretly harbored that idea deep inside of them.

But if the conference saved people from annihilation, it also changed the structure of society. The Deans may have been forced to deal with reality, at least somewhat, but they were not going to go down without a fight. It was decided at that fateful conference that society would henceforth be stratified: at the top would be Deans and Directors, followed by medical students. All others would occupy the lower strata of society, tolerated out of necessity, but neither admired nor venerated.

This idea would need to be tweaked further as one lawyer, taking umbrage, refused to write a check in support of his local medical school nor in support of his local hospital. The Deans and Directors hastily buckled--was there any doubt they would do so?--and declared that those who would offer sufficient monetary support would be rewarded with their names on buildings and with honors at the yearly dinners. The money men's ire subsided. And the Deans and Directors got their revenge when they made doctors out of the money men's sons.

To Be Continued


Anonymous said...

Plese, just a hint about how many parts this story is going to be in. I have to be able to figure out to leave reading time for this week or maybe for next week too.

ProfK said...

8 parts to the story, and hopefully all posted this week.

Anonymous said...

At an industry wide conference last winter the organizing group decided to use modern technology to its limits. There were multiple screens all around the meeting rooms, there were scheduled teleconferences, there were power point presentations and there were plugs at each place so that all participants could use their lap tops. They blew the fuses for the hotel ballroom and all the meeting rooms and they had to wait for Con Edison to come just to get the lights on. The organizers had their ideas but didn't bother to check with an electrician if they were going to run into problems.

My brother in law is a heating and air conditioning contractor. When you get hot or cold are you going to call a "doctor" or are you going to call someone who might actually be able to fix the problem? Those are the people who keep society going.

Anonymous said...

My husband is an electrician. he was called to a yeshiva that needed some major repairs on their electrical system. when he was finished he gave the rabbi who is the director the bill. the rabbi was pretty nasty about the amount. He asked my husband how he dared to charge so much for "only" fixing the electricity. My husband told him that if the school wasn't daring to charge so much for tuition maybe other people wouldn't have to charge so much for their services. And then the rabbi tried to talk him into donating his services as tzedaka. They still haven't paid all the bill. Next time they have a problem they can just sit in the dark. They are pretty much in the dark about how real life goes anyway.