This was our anatomy laboratory back in med school. Anatomy was one of our first subjects in med, and our class of 160 students was divided into groups of six. Each group was assigned a cadaver, who became our most important teacher and torturer throughout the semester. I was lucky enough to be in a group with brilliant people, because I was not particularly skilled in dissection. In pre-med biology I was partnered with Miss T in dissecting a cat. I was so bad at memorizing the tiny bones in the cat’s skull while in the laboratory, that I had to bring our beloved cat’s head home. This had gotten Miss T particularly incensed, because when she opened the plastic bag to study she discovered a headless cat-daver. There were no sophisticated computer simulations or video tutorials back then, so I had to make like a demented voodoo feline headshrinker lugging around a cat head in the bus.
The “anatomy group” would essentially become one’s first built-in friends in med school. My group was composed of Miss T herself, who seemed to have gotten stuck with me since first year college. There was Smoketh, who eventually became the breakout star of this blog. If, one day, she decides to restrain me from writing about her life, this blog will die. Elise, whom I liked calling Clarice in my attempts to sound like Hannibal Lecter. Len-Len, who has saved me many times throughout med school with his genius and niceness. And Roxy, whose skills as a physical therapist had given us a leg up in our implicit competition with the adjacent groups in dissection. There wasn’t really any competition, but we had called our group “The Competitors” anyway because we reveled in finding gems like the parathyroid or an accessory spleen before the other tables could.
As a subgroup, we called those who were able to escape the Philippines–Roxy, Len-Len, and Elise–The Competitors Who Won. Smoketh, Miss T, and I refer to ourselves as The Competitors Who Lost. It was, of course, a label made in jest, but suffering through all the things we have to go through in this country I sometimes feel that we have, indeed, lost (an unintended social commentary ^ ^).