There was a running joke back in med school that if you graduate at the top of your class you will turn into an academician or a researcher, the sort who gets published in The Lancet or the New England Journal of Medicine. Or you will become an author of medical textbooks or a peer reviewer who will point out fallacious conclusions from tortured statistical analyses. You will be highly regarded in the academe, you will always be invited to lecture, you will conduct clinical trials, you will be quoted. Some aspects of your life might suffer–like you won’t ever get to fellate someone behind a dumpster in a back alley somewhere, but nevertheless you are content with being cited in some newbie researcher’s bibliography.
Those who finish somewhere in the middle third will become the successful clinicians, the sort with lines of patients waiting outside their offices, with the occasional pharmaceutical representatives cutting in line to give the young impressionable doctor a bunch of cakes, gift baskets, tour opportunities, and useless knick-knacks. Supposedly they are the most well-rounded, able to juggle career, romance, family life, spirituality, and the occasional sexual misconduct. They are average, and are proud to be.
And it is inevitable that the ones at the bottom, those who barely made it out of the college of medicine alive, those who always had to look at their intelligent classmates during conferences for telepathic S.O.S, will become underground abortionists wielding clothes hanger dipped in isopropyl alcohol, doing the illegal unanesthetized uterine scraping in a poorly-lit broom closet in the basement.
We first heard of these judgmental prognostications back when we were in first year in medicine, and after we have graduated we went to the admin office to get our class ranking. At this point we have already passed the board exams and were already certified doctors who had our whole futures ahead of us. Still, as we opened the envelopes with our class rankings, you could hear buzzing all around:
“Abortionist ka ba? Abortionist ka ba?”
“OMG abortionist ako!”
“Talaga si _____ abortionist? I never expected!”