Sunday, May 16, 2010

Do you know the muffin man?

In 2009, Allan Detsky, an internist at the University of Toronto wrote a (partially facetious) JAMA article on the Art of Pimping. "Pimping" is a legitimate term in the medical vernacular, referring to the staff practice of grilling medical students and trainees with questions, often pushing them to their limit.

Last year, Kon directed me to this article, both for its amusing anecdotes and the marvel of its publication in a recognized peer-reviewed journal. In it, Detsky lays out several strategies for both avoiding or (if you're keen enough) capitalizing on the act of being pimped out by your staff.

One such "pimping protection procedure" is referred to as The Muffin:

This technique is particularly useful for senior residents who are fearful that the attending physician will embarrass them with a question they should be able to answer but cannot. The resident holds a large muffin in the dominant hand with the elbow flexed, and slowly makes motions with the elbow that move the muffin toward and away from the mouth, somewhat like the graphical lines representing the attitudes of focus group members used by television networks while watching the recent presidential debates (ie, closer to the mouth if the resident does not know the answer, further if he or she does). If the resident feels that the teacher will call on him or her to answer a question to which he or she cannot respond, the muffin should be placed into the mouth. Most attendings will not ask residents or students to speak with their mouth full of food. If the attending does, the resident should pretend to choke, thus avoiding all future questions.

Kon clearly had this article in mind whilst entering the following anecdote. In our radiology seminar last week, the teaching resident pointed out a few common X-Ray tricks. She followed up these teaching points with, "Staff love to pimp you with these kinds of cases."

A classmate's hand went up. "Excuse me, what does pimping mean?"

The resident registered surprise that a second-year medical student could be unfamiliar with this term in its non-underworld context, but obliged in explaining. Kon, eager to demonstrate his awareness of medical culture and bubbling with excitement at being able to reference Detsky's entertaining paper turned to those around him and with a grin burst out...

"I'll just take a muffin and stuff it in my mouth!"

I choked back a laugh. I guess Kon had not seen Betty White's muffin skit on her recent hosting of Saturday Night Live (to which I was directed by Sandlot), else he would have been aware that the word "muffin" can also be used to connote "vagina." Perhaps this is not surprising from the fellow who during a game of charades once confused the term "rising sun" as meaning "morning wood". I'm sure the Japanese would not be pleased if they suddenly became known as the "Land of the Morning Erection". We can only presume that Kon in that case had been confused with the less-popular term "morning glory" (which then must generate a small chortle at Morning Glory brand stationary).

In any case, Kon's double entendre went unnoticed by the rest of the seminar group, while he himself continued unaware that he was such a cunning linguist.


sandlot said...

Hahaahaha. What a funny post! You should keep them coming.

shirls said...

"cunning linguist" - good one :P

Terence said...