Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rat race

In November 1963 I went to Montreal to do the two day oral examinations for the Royal College of Surgeons degree. This was a followup to having passed the written examinations in the fall of '63. These exams were the culmination of five years of specialist training for the hundred odd aspirants to the higher degree. The pianist was home with two children and one, almost done, in the oven.The risk of failure was high and meant another year of training and impecunity. At the end of the two days the results were provided by hand, in the evening, in a large auditorium in the Montreal General Hospital. Adjacent to the auditorium was a large room used for catering. We all gathered in the auditorium awaiting our name to be called in alphabetic order. The wait seemed interminable! It was then that I envied Aaron Aardvark, and felt sorry for Zoltan Zolotony.! When called, the candidate walked down the stairs to receive a sealed envelope. The candidates were initially, either greeted with a handshake and directed to the catering room to the right or, greeted with a nod and an envelope, and directed left, out of the auditorium. Later, as those of us who were successful drank sherry in the room to the right, through the window, in the darkening gloom, we watched the unsuccessful trudging along the snowy path! "Mans inhumanity to man !" They should have never served sherry to the so-called 'select' and left the unsuccessful that year, some dignity to bear their grief privately! I hope they don't do that now!

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