Friday, June 12, 2009

Don't give me that look...

Did you ever wish sometimes that you had a statistician at the dinner table with you?

Last night I met a med-school hopeful recent Harvard grad and his girlfriend, a fashion-design major turned dental school student. To be fair, I knew I'd dislike them before I even got to the ridiculous beer hall we went to on the South Side, and, honestly, before I'd even met them.

While I felt indifferent of their choice of going into medicine* as my parents are doctors**, I could not but be highly annoyed by everything else about them. YOU were going into fashion and you wore THAT?! The guy, in the first five minutes, even admitted that he "had a vicious mean streak" (yeah, nice to meet you too!) and met his lover playing dodge ball. He was the same kind of pompous ivy-league self-obsessed (and formerly teased, to be sure) Ivy-league jerk I'd tried (and repeatedly failed) to avoid in college. It's easier to deal with these folks in a class setting, when you can beat them at their own game, but at a bar, and without a statistician or some other source of validation, you might as well put your nose in your beer and save it all up for your blog.

One of the funnier and more peculiar aspects of the evening was that this guy, (who had all night been attempting to be the one with witty fast retorts that just came out mean-sounding and presumptuous at best) was actually afraid of "thunder."

No folks, not lightning as you would think that would be a mistake, but "thunder." He said, "It's really scary! It can kill you!" I first thought it was a joke. But then he told a story about how, during a thunder storm in his West Village apartment, he thought he was going to die because he had a metal air conditioner in his window that was (gasp) plugged in. I dropped my smile when he and his girlfriend took a totally morbid tone, eyes widened, etc. To her credit, the girl said, "I wouldn't have even thought to unplug the air conditioner!" And I thought, well there's a step in the right direction...though it wasn't even a gesture in the right direction which had to be: That is so funny and frankly rather absurd!

It would have even been endearing had the Harvard guy not started actually trying to convince me that thunder (yes, still thunder) would try to kill me.

At a certain point, it had gone on too long, and so I said, "You know, you're more likely to be killed by a person than by either thunder or lightning!" I smiled, hoping he'd also smile, roll his eyes, and realize the true absurdity of the situation. But he didn't.

Instead, he gave me this look. This, uh, wait, where did you go to school? what the hell would you know anyway so why would you ever want to start something with the likes of ME look that just made me want to hocker one right there.

Rather than engaging, I shrugged and cooly decided I'd look up the stats on CDC's website and post them on the internet to my little group of supporters.

So here it is folks:

PER YEAR in the United States alone:
0.042802 per 1,000 people are murdered - To break it down for you, there are 304,059,724 estimated to be living in America in July 2008, which, when divided by 1,000 and then multiplied by 0.042802, you get the nice round figure of 13,014.364 deaths by homicide in America per year.

In the United States from 1980 through 1995 (that's 15 YEARS, people!), a total of 1,318 deaths were attributed to lightning, (average: 82 deaths per year {range: 53-100 deaths}). It didn't even make the big list.

And 0 (zero) deaths were attributed to thunder, except for people who had heart attacks at the mere mention of the word.

So, Mr. Jerk, don't you give me that look! And, well, DUH!

* In one case, over working with Isaac Misrahi?! Yes, she quit working at Liz Claiborne to become a dentist. I mean. No judgment here, I'm sure as a result she'll be a better dentist than most because of this transition. But I just don't freakin' get it..Open wide!
**For the record, even though my parents are docs, I've never met a med student I liked, which makes me wonder what MY folks were like in med school...

1 comment:

L said...

Ok, so having posted this comment, I do want to mention that I don't have a problem with people who have phobias. There's nothing wrong with phobias because they're utterly nonsensical and unexplainable.

I am afraid of spiders, really, really afraid. I know they won't kill me but they freak me out. My friend Eliza is also afraid of thunder.

The difference between Eliza and me and this Harvard chap was that he was a jerk about it. He actually judged me for NOT being afraid of thunder like HE was because HE actually thought that it was "dangerous" and going to "kill" him.

That's all.