I Love Nerd Humor

Wanna hear a joke about sodium?  Na.  Wanna hear a joke about sodium hypobromite?  NaBro.

Okay let’s lighten things up a little.  Back to heavier stuff tomorrow. 😉

I love being a nerd.  I love learning new things, seeing how they connect to old things, and standing in awe at nature and how it’s all perfectly tuned and balanced, despite us and our meddling.  The parameters for normal function in the human body are incredibly narrow.  Temperature, blood pressure, pH, and electrolyte concentrations, for instance, all have well-defined optimal ranges.  But we have all seen one or multiple of these systems go wildly off track, and not only do we survive, we function!  For long periods, sometimes—our bodies compensate—all the while literally defying disaster and death.  And it all boils down to simple laws of physics, chemistry, and biology.  Amazing.

So whenever I see jokes about science, math, or medicine, I laugh out loud and show it to my kids.  They’re nerds too, you see.  We are a proud nerd family.  Here are some of our favorites; please share yours!

What do you call an acid with an attitude?  A mean-oh acid.

You matter.  Unless you multiply yourself by the speed of light squared, then you energy.

I lost an electron!  Are you sure?  I’m positive!

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.

first world problems


we cant eat the whole pie

stress fracture

stem cells

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, acapella science, who made the MOST NERDY cover of Despacito ever, and also this parody of Meghan Trainor!!  Oh my gosh I’m so happy right now.

#AtoZChallenge: Kindness and Kickassery

kick ass be kind

Image courtesy of Facebook/Pinterest.

I love this meme because of the unexpected juxtaposition of Kindness and Kickassery.  There aren’t many great ‘K’ words, but these are definitely my favorite. But what does it mean?  How can we apply this wonderful combination of words in everyday life?  My daughter gave me some ideas recently.  She has been interested in Japanese culture for a while, and recently got into the Inuyasha comic series.  I asked her why she likes it so much.  She said it’s helping her feel more brave, and that she likes the heroine, Kagome, because she’s “tough and kind.”  She is willing to go through hardships to help the other protagonist, Inuyasha.  That’s it!  Kindness and Kickassery!

We talked about some movie characters she also likes (I like them, too): Black Widow from the Marvel movies, and Ilsa Faust from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.  We decided we thought they, too, were “tough and kind.”  We admire their Kickass fighting skills, their ability to hold their own among the boys, and their dedication to mission, as well as their ability to connect to other characters on an emotional level.  As I think about it I can’t say that kindness is their chief strength, but I can still apply this mantra to my own life.

Kick Ass simply means do it like you mean it. No holding back, be your badass self.  No apologies.  Because Kickass, and its cousin Badass, are the antitheses of Half-ass.

Kindness means do it in the service of treating others well, of holding them up—no matter who they are, no matter what you’re doing, no matter how hard.

So in a way, it’s the perfect combination. Because Kickass by itself has potential to harm—if we do things thoughtlessly, brazenly, and without regard to other people’s feelings.  Combined with Kindness, though, we are grounded in, once again, our connections with others.  Kindness channels our Kickass energy always in a positive direction.  Sometimes we may worry that being Kind will lead to others taking advantage of us.  But just picture it: Kindness with the force of a no-holds-barred-I-got-this-just-stand-aside-and-let-me-work-here-please attitude carries weight.  This kind of robust confidence, rooted in doing the right thing, commands respect and deference from would-be naysayers.

So let’s all try to practice some Kickass Kindness,eh?

#AtoZChallenge: More Fun, Less Frazzle

“Rule #6: Don’t take yourself so Goddamn seriously.” From The Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.

This can be a hard lesson for physicians. We do such serious work, after all. There is always another patient to see, another result to review, another call to answer—now! But I have to pee, when can I pee?

In my first year of practice, I remember a particularly hard day. I was running late (I’m still always running late) and the patients that day were all complicated. No simple UTIs or colds to give me some air. I huffed and grunted my way through the visits, occasionally buzzing by Rose, my medical assistant, to answer messages in between. My bladder felt like it might actually explode, but I could not stop to go to the bathroom—there was no time! I was so afraid to fall even more behind, to fail in some way. Eventually, Rose posted a sign above my workstation: “TAKE A DEEP BREATH.” It was an instant reality check:  I couldn’t go on like this, I’d burn out before my career even started! Immediately I realized how unnecessary, and downright silly, was all the rushing and grimacing—and I laughed out loud. Since then I have never again reached that depth of anxiety and sullenness in a workday. I am forever grateful to Rose for her sign, her loving reminder to slow down and take perspective. God bless her.

If we’re not careful, we physicians could all easily drown in the drama and strain, over and again, every day. And is that really what our patients need from us—to be Frazzled balls of tension and urgency, bouncing haplessly from one task or person to another, barely holding it together (and in)? Is that what we want for our colleagues and staff, to have to put up with our irritable and pressing demands?

It doesn’t have to be that way. In my third year of medical school, on my inpatient internal medicine rotation, Chip Dye was my senior resident. The service was busy; we always had a full census of sick patients. But I never felt harried or anxious because Chip set the tone for the team. Always smiling, always willing to answer any question, and finding any opportunity to laugh, he made it safe to learn. He exuded confidence without arrogance, calm without sloth. After rounds he led the team to attend morning report (daily educational conference and community gathering).  He always made sure we ate.  And there was always time to pee.

It’s not that he underestimated or ignored the work that awaited us. He just knew that we would accomplish it all better in a lighter, happier state of mind. When it came time to buckle down and divide tasks, Chip prioritized them with realistic expectations and we all got to work. No muss, no fuss, no stress. It would all get done because we laid out our plans in advance.  We self-respectfully reserved time and space for meeting basic bodily and communal needs. Thanks to Chip for leading by example.


From Facebook, I can’t remember where or when!

We can always have some Fun at work, no matter how hard the day gets. Whether it’s telling a silly joke, watching a ridiculous viral baby video, or posting a fun meme on the workroom bulletin board, lightening the mood helps everybody get through a little easier. Laughing relaxes us. Stephen Colbert is quoted as saying, “Do you know what I like about comedy? You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything. If you’re laughing, I defy you to be afraid.” And if we can overcome our fears of not getting it all done, of not being enough, we will all be better off—physicians and patients alike.


Also from Facebook…