Wednesday, May 30, 2007


When I was a medical student, I had a chief resident who's motto was: "Stairs are for firemen." Given that we were medical professionals and not part of a fire brigade, whenever we would go on rounds or went anywhere as a team, we always took the elevator to get anywhere.

Whether we were going up six floors, or down one, we'd take the elevator. A group of healthy young people in their late 20's and early 30's waiting around for the elevator to arrive so that we could go down one floor... so idiotic. I always got embarrassed when we would crowd into an elevator, pushing the patients and their families against the walls, so that we wouldn't have to expend any energy getting around the hospital.

This waiting around for the elevator and riding this slow moving box just drove me nuts. Not only that, once we got on the damn thing, it would be a rare day when we wouldn't have to make several stops prior to getting to our floor. But being the low man of the medical hierarchy meant I had no say in matters, so I simply kept my mouth shut and complied.

Strangely, most of the other members of the team saw nothing wrong with this. Even during the times when the chief was away and we would sit around bitching about one thing or another, nobody else voiced any complaints about the excessive elevator riding.

Nowadays, no longer confined by being the low man on the totem pole, I lead my team of residents up and down stairways with minimal thought of the elevator. This does wonders for my need for instant gratification. Gone are the days of waiting around for the elevator to arrive. We simply hit the stairs.

Of course, I'm reasonable and we put it to a vote and often take the elevator if we're planning on going up more than 3 flights of stairs. But I'll lead my team down 11 flights of stairs if we're headed down.

I always tell the other members of my team to feel free to take the elevators if so inclined. Interestingly, nobody ever does.