Friday, October 3, 2008

How bold is too bold?

So my clinical medicine course has prompted an urgent need for new dress shirts. Since it takes place once a week, I wasn't exactly keen to wear the same shirt week after week after week. However, finding shirts that don't completely engulf me is, admittedly, a challenge.

Recently, my Mom came home with some new shirts she had picked up for me while she was shopping. One of them was a particularly bold brand of purple. Those of you who know me may know that my grasp of the colour purple is not exactly amazing... but even I could tell that this was purple.

Now purple is not exactly the manliest of colours (we all remember the controversy over Tinkie Winkie). But I have to give that sometimes unorthodox colours worn the right way exude confidence - like those guys that walk around wearing pink shirts, which are apparently relatively fashionable these days.

I'm still within the return period for this shirt, and so I'm debating whether I'll ever muster up the resolve to wear it or whether it's better to play it safe and return it. I thought I would give you your chance to have a say (Ooh! Interactivity he says! Viewer participation!). Do me a favour and scroll over to the sidebar and answer the poll: "Is purple too purple?" I'll keep your responses under consideration.

Empathy Vignettes

Today we were learning about empathy in my Clinical Skills course. Part of our exercise was to act out emotionally charge situations. We broke into groups of three with the following roles: physician, patient, and observer. My particular patient role was of a middle-aged man who had been diagnosed with sarcoma and needed to get his arm amputated. He was a macho steelworker proud of his physique and was worried about things like his wife not finding him sexually attractive anymore and not being able to perform at work.

It got off to a bit of a sketchy start, as I eased myself into character. The "doctor" asked me how many children I had. I had to pause and scour the scenario but it only told me that I had "teenage children." So I blurted the first thing that popped into my head: "Five and a half."

Err... "I mean five." "Five children? Wow. All teenage?" "Yup... thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen... seventeen." We couldn't help but start laughing. After that though I managed to get into serious mode. I was already a bit nervous since I was pretty sure we had drawn the attention of the instructor. I find that acting out a scenario is pretty tricky. You have to balance being in character and also being reasonable when it comes to offering up information. As it goes, I had a mind to act my character as kind of harsh and angry, but I didn't have to heart to do so. So I was kind of bleeding my feelings in the way that I personally as a person might do, but probably not Mr. Steel Worker. However, I think I threw my partner for a loop when they suggested I talk to my wife about my concerns. I had previously mentioned (as part of my role) that I had not talked to my spouse about this nor anyone else... and it was clear that my character did not want to because he was worried about how they would look at him. "I think that maybe I've been a bit too forward with you, Doc," I replied to the suggestion, "I'm not usually like this. I don't talk to people like this about my feelings." I think that was my shining moment; my partner dealt with it well, but later mentioned it had surprised them. Still, I don't think I'll be quitting my day job for a career in acting.

Speaking of which, next week we're going to start seeing real patients. That's so scary! I think maybe I want to change my career path to pretend doctor.

Dion fails to connect in English Debates

I was kind of sad coming off the English debates last night. May had managed to put up a fierce fight, which made me happy after her disappointing French performance, but Dion really failed to produce a spark. Failure to launch. After his impressive performance at the French debates, I was really hoping he would manage to connect at the English version and woo some of those voters who had been emotionally swayed by Harper's character attack ads for the past few months. It was sad because Dion I feel is very intelligent and very sincere. Harper on the other hand is the least sincere of the bunch.

I actually had a friend describe to me that they felt Harper performed very well. Apparently, Canada agrees. But the sad thing is that Harper is the most dishonest of all of the party leaders. Indeed, he glossed over a lot of policy, continually listing off "achievements" of his government that were panned by the other leaders (and most of the time, rightly so). He was the one who had suggested to spend more time during the debate on the economy because of its turmoil, yet he had nothing to say on the economy except that we are doing fine and should stay the course. In fact, his platform itself was practically nonexistent, prompting Jack Layton to take the jab: "Where's your platform? Under the sweater?" - a reference to Stephen Harper's artificial election makeover, where he has worked hard to cast himself anew as a gentler, more approachable Harper (the trademark of which is a vast wardrobe of sweaters). But the fact of the matter is, if you're a grand speaker, you can get away with not having a platform.

A couple examples: Harper insists that even though we are bleeding jobs from manufacturing, that we are gaining more jobs overall. Other opposition leaders rightly pointed out that we need to be making jobs all over the country instead of losing jobs in Ontario/Quebec and making jobs in Alberta. Furthermore, the jobs we are losing are the good, pensioned jobs. The jobs we are gaining are the shoddy, unstable, low-paying jobs.

Secondly, Gilles Duceppe hammered Harper on his policy for the Canadian Forces. He referred to a speech that Harper gave as leader of the Opposition (the now merged Canadian Alliance) that Canada needed to send troops to Iraq in 2003. He asked Harper if Bush had made a mistake (Harper conceded, "Of course. There were no WMD's.") and also pushed Harper to tell Canada, straight up, that if he had been Prime Minister in 2003, Canada would be in Iraq today. Harper denied the charge flat out... but that's an outright lie when his official and very vocal stance at that time was that Canada needed to be in Iraq.

A CBC commentator on the National suggested that the opposition leaders who came out as winners of the English debate were not the same ones who came out winners in the French debate. He went on to express the opinion that debates should really be held in French and English at the same time, because having two separate debates really distorts our political view. I agree wholeheartedly.

Bitter Bug?

Apparently today I've been a big complainer (probably because I used up all my empathy this morning in Clinical Skills). This is partially because I'm starting to get jittery about the state of my studies (exams are next week) and because I am chronically underslept. Apparently this has made me somewhat of a "bitter bug" today. That's kind of catchy, isn't it?

1 comment:

sandlot said...

"Now purple is not exactly the manliest of colours"

I disagree. Purple looks great on guys.

You also practically only wear dress shirts. So.....