Friday, September 09, 2005

The University of the 4077th

I have this (old) love-(newer) hate relationship with the boob tube. Much of my misspent youth seemed to take place in the vicinity of the TV, and I have great memories of old shows -- The Outer Limits, The World at War, Monty Python, SCTV, Bob Newhart (ever play "hi Bob" in college? I sure did), etc. When I was a mere surgling, I watched my fair share of the Three Stooges and Gilligan's Island, and Bob Denver's recent death made me somewhat nostalgic for that time. Today, however, I can't think of a single regularly scheduled TV program (other than hockey, football, or Fox News) that I have watched in over 15 years.

I must admit, however, that one show probably had more influence on me than any other -- M*A*S*H. Yes, it's true: everything I learned about being a surgeon I learned at the University of the 4077th. It's even where I stole my pseudonym, the title for my blog. What aspiring, cheeky, flip and smart-alecky pre-med student wouldn't want to believe he could eventually become the glib and cheeky Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce? Not only could he operate in the chest and belly like a virtuoso, but he could talk back to the Colonel and charm the pants off any nurse in the unit -- at the same time! What a guy! Every week night in college we'd watch M*A*S*H at 10:30, drink a beer, and forget that tomorrow some paper was due or there was a big exam. The show was always funny, but Hawkeye got all the best lines:

"We try to play par surgery on this course. Par is a live patient."

"What a unique device, the human tush. An architectural marvel, one of a kind... actually two of a kind. Designed to support our weight for a lifetime of sitting, it also has the subtlety to do the samba. And when attached to certain members of the female species at a time when light summer dresses are worn can cause some of us to drive our cars straight up a lamp post."

"I'll stick with gin. Champagne is just ginger ale that knows somebody."

"As a doctor, I can assure you we'll all be a lot warmer if we press our bodies together. So let's all line up here: girl, boy, girl... and the rest of you are on your own"
Hawkeye even set me up for the martini habit I developed after turning 40:
“I’d like a dry martini, Mr. Quoc, a very dry martini. A very dry, arid, barren, desiccated, veritable dustbowl of a martini. I want a martini that could be declared a disaster area. Mix me just such a martini.”
So, when you raise a toast to Gilligan, I suggest mixing it with a little gin from the Swamp.

[Quotes from Television's Other 10 Percent]