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Sunday, June 9, 2013

And you thought your job was interesting?

My favorite little helper at work

One topic I like to discuss with people is anecdotes from their job. Maybe I'm trying to have fun by proxy: as a (mostly medical/pharmaceutical) translator, and as much as I enjoy what I do, I can't say there's a lot of exciting moments in a work day.

An occasional exception occurs when I am asked to review the work of an incompetent translator. One recently managed to make it sound like a kidney had brought home a lousy report card (kidney failure was the term to be translated).

In fact, a lot more noteworthy stuff happens during my volunteer work. For example, there was this recent visit at the farm during which I thought it would be interesting to show the kids the difference between your "regular" horse and a draft horse. Before I had time to finish my sentence about the size of the draft horse's legs, one little girl had noticed the size of something else and exclaimed "J! Look! What is that huge thing under the horsie's belly that looks like an elephant trunk?!?"

Some of my friends, on the other hand, always have a funny work story or two to tell. The teachers/professors have their share, of course, but I would say the ones working in the medical field (in person as opposed to solely on paper like me) are unbeatable! I've heard it all about root canal complications, placenta praevias and syphilitic chancres. The most recent of such tales was a vivid description of a scrotum swollen to gigantic proportions. (I'm NOT making this up!)

Interestingly, those ravishing stories always come up in the middle of a meal. Bon appétit, everyone!

One of my favorite tales was told by a vet(erinarian) friend of mine, A. From what I gather, she often has to cut puppies' bellies open to relieve them from something they should never have swallowed in the first place. Once the procedure is over and the little furry ball stitched back, she rinses the incriminating evidence and puts it in a Ziploc to show it to the owner(s). Sometimes (often as it would seem), such evidence takes the form of a piece of underwear. One day, as A was presenting such Ziploc-contained female underwear to the puppy owners, the woman of the couple had an unusual reaction. She seemed rather disturbed by the sight. Turns out that this underwear... was not hers! Ensued an awkward moment in the vet office as the couple started arguing vehemently!

Now there is another field that has a lot of entertainment in store for us, and it is law. Did you ever read this book entitled Disorder in the Court? It is filled with court transcripts that will not fail to make you laugh. Take a look at this and tell me which one is your favorite. I personally love the autopsy ones!

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He's 20, much like your IQ.

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid

ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral...

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?

And last but not least:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Your turn! Any fun tales from your job?

(Pssst... if you don't feel like working this Monday morning, you have almost 3 minutes to procrastinate -  while practicing your French - with this song that keeps repeating "Je ne veux pas travailler"...)


  1. This post made me smile this morning - especially the lawyer ones as I have several attorneys in my family. I like the one about "what gear were you in?"

    I don't have any great work stories but I do have a lot of funny kid stories!

    1. Kid stories would make another funny post for sure! :-)

  2. Hi Julie! Yes, the craziest things/stories happen in the courtroom and with the legal clients. Just when I think I'm desensitized, something even more over-the-top happens. :D

    :-) Marion

  3. OMG, those court transcripts are hilarious! And love your stories as well. Fortunately or unfortunately, my job doesn't yield much in the way of funny stories. Even aside from privacy concerns, my coaching clients tend to be smarter than your average attorney, apparently. So while I'm often laughing WITH them, I don't have to laugh AT them.

    1. Thanks for this Crabby! I'm glad it made you laugh too!

      I'm sure you do an excellent job at what you do! :-)

  4. Since I'm an artist and my studio is at home, most of my funny stories come from the pets getting involved when they shouldn't. Although I have had the random stranger come up to a booth at an event while I'm literally in the middle of painting, gesture to the paintings displayed behind me and ask "so, did you paint all of these?"

    1. Haha! People have those questions!!!

      Just like the ones who look at my bookshelves and ask me "Did you read ALL those books?"

      If only they knew! (I started to read at 4 years of age, and I'm a French Literature Master's; gives you an idea.)

  5. Okay, here's one from a surgeon :

    "My assignment that day was to work with the surgical residents at a local prison hospital. It was a decent operating theater, but the equipment and staff were not at the level of our university hospital. The operation, on one of the inmates, involved something that was broken and I was fixing it!

    It was most likely the result of a fight, or slipping on a bar of soap, or approaching someone who was not in the mood to be approached! The operation was going along well when suddenly, the prison anesthesiologist (a nice man who, however, was in the vicinity of 80 years of age, and shall we say, had the majority of his career behind him), started yelling, in the few English words we both shared, something about the oxygen running out and he didn’t know what to do! I hate when that happens!

    Yup, Old Mother Hubbard’s oxygen cupboard was bare all right. I remember as a resident the luxury of always having an attending surgeon to turn to if there was a problem. Someone with more experience and the confidence to handle the unexpected. Those were the good old days. They were gone. Now I was the attending, the buck stopped with me.

    I asked the anesthesiologist if somewhere in the hospital there just might be another one of those lovely green tanks with 02 written prominently on the side, and yes, he knew where one was. Excellent! I told him I would take over for him and do the anesthesia until he returned. I had six months of hospital anesthesia training in my residency and really, I like the field.

    I packed off the operating site, broke scrub and assumed his position at the head of the table. “See you in a few,” I offered, feeling bon voyage was just not right. When he returned, we had to change oxygen tanks in the middle of the stream so to speak, but in the end, all's well that ends.

    1. Awesome, awesome anecdote Dr. J! Thank you for sharing!

      Oooops, the oxygen tank is empty... Is that something that happens on a regular basis?!?

    2. Yes of course it does, with almost every tank.

      That sounds like one of your attorney examples, lol!

      You would make a very cute straight woman for our stand-up routine :-)

    3. I meant, does it happen often in the middle of a procedure with no spare tank in sight, smart as*!!! LOL

      Just because of your comment, I'm keeping 60% of the profit we'll make from that stand-up. :-p

  6. I really want your side kick!!!!!!! SO ADORABLE! SOOO adorable. I just melted a little bit! Oh wait, that's my sweat from just finishing my work out, LOL!

    1. I know! How am I expected to concentrate!!! :-)