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March 27, 2016 / thackersam

The Paper Mess or Hanging Out in Frostbite Falls

Max & Spider (2)I am forever overwhelmed by the amount of paper that piles up in my small apartment, though it is more under control than when I lived in an apartment that could eat my current abode for dinner and dessert with an aperitif. It was not only a much larger apartment, but there were more places to hide stuff. My desk, where I no longer do any work (I do it on the laptop) and only play spider solitaire, is my first target to sort through. [please see picture] When you just keep throwing mail, paid bills, notes you’ve written to yourself and work related stuff on any old surface as I do, it does become a problem and one that can no longer be hidden from guests, though I don’t think my friends really care. Regardless, for the past couple of nights I have taken the initiative to start from the bottom of the piles on the desk and either toss ’em or put them in the – I’ll decide later – pile. The desk piles have been building for a number of months and contain a surprise here and there. One discovery, something I had saved, is just downright amusing. Please, allow me to share.

I don’t think I’ve really mentioned what I do for a living, you know, that thing that pays the bills, but I work for a Caribbean medical school. As director of the department that I developed years ago (impressed?), I guide the students in their final year through the process of getting a residency, without which they cannot practice medicine. While most American medical schools have a placement rate in the upper 90 percentile, we average about 75% each year. Just so you know, there are some American schools that kind of suck and my youngish school is improving and raise their standards little by little. After each “Match” as the process of matching a medical school graduate with a residency program is called, which is now wrapping up for this year, I am contacted by other non-residency medical programs looking for cheap labor in the form of MDs for the more clerical of the medical positions. I post the positions and interested applicants will respond directly to the program. Except for one program with which I have worked for several years that offers an unpaid, yearlong, full-time position that is actually an incredible opportunity to get intensive hands-on training, and the program directors assist their charges with improving their chances of achieving residency the following year. Their success rate is impressive. As their standards are high, particularly for an unpaid program, and due to the length of our relationship, I provide initial screening for them.

With that background information, which you should memorize as there just may be a pop quiz at a time when you least expect it, here is what I found in my pile of desk papers – two resumes. The first is the sample CV I wrote for the guide I created on writing a CV – curriculum vitae – really just a fancy shmancy name for a resume. I had discovered that many graduating students didn’t know how to present themselves on paper. Using mostly fictitious information based on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, including the other cartoons that came with it like Fractured Fairy Tales and Mr. Peabody and Sherman, childhood favorites of mine, I created a resume for Sherman Peabody, who attended Wossamotta University as an undergraduate. While a student of Wossomatta U. in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, he worked as an Office Manager/Phlebotomist at Frostbite Family Practice, and volunteered with the Frostbite Falls chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Applicants for the position are required to send me their CVs which I review before deciding if they qualify to pass on to the program’s directors. Although the requirements are listed, many of the applicants, desperate for the opportunity to improve their chances of getting a residency the following year, don’t meet them. So when I looked at the resume for one graduate, who could have been a candidate for the B list if not enough A-listers applied, something seemed amiss. She is from a warm southern state, where she did her undergraduate education, and her extracurricular activities, aside from those as a medical student, are where she currently lives in that same southern state. So I found it confusing that amongst her warm weather experience, I noticed that she had worked as a habilitation technician for Frostbite Family Practice in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota for the same five months, though different years that Sherman Peabody did, during an inactive time between getting her Bachelor’s degree and going off to the Caribbean to start the academic portion of her medical education.

As I wrote the sample CV years ago, it took a moment, and then I thought, wait, does Frostbite Falls, MN actually exist? So I Googled it. Indeed there are several references to Frostbite Falls, MN on the internet, ALL referring to the place where Bullwinkle, with the aid of his trusted friend Rocket J. Squirrel, played football for Wossamotta U. Of course Frostbite Falls, MN exists, but only for those of us that will remain Rocky and Bullwinkle fans forever, which obviously does not include the MD who submitted her not so truthful CV to me. I did not pass on her application for the position, nor did I chuck it. As sad as the situation is, it has provided much entertainment. My boss and I had a mighty good laugh over it and he in turn had a mighty good laugh when he told our school’s founder and president, who then came to me, mostly for further chuckling, but also asked me if I thought perhaps the graduate, who is now a doctor but without residency, was simply copying my format and just forgot to change the information, even though her format is nothing like the one I gave as an example. I stopped to think about it for a moment, then got kind of irked, and told the president with whom I have a decent and jovial relationship, that he should not ask me to explore the mind of a liar and try to explain it. What unfair pressure that puts on those of us that are let’s say, mostly truthful. I have not heard from the graduate since.

Nobody minds that these resumes are in the decide later pile, right?

I hung out with the ex on Good Friday, not that I celebrate these particular holidays, but the office was closed. We had our usual breakfast, did not go to the movies, but in the evening rediscovered that sake (the rice wine) is a wonderful thing. Hi from ex to J.

Btw – I do know the difference between heal and heel, and vice versa, despite evidence in last week’s post to the contrary. Oh, and Max loves that I moved the couch so it now abuts the desk.

The sign outside the liquor store yesterday read “Not sure if I want buns of steel or buns of cinnamon.”

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