Jaunting across town last night, I merrily swung a bag of popcorn back and forth. After a day of solid rain, the meadows were quiet and I savored the peaceful atmosphere in the midst of the wild Fringe festival. I was on my way to a surgery watching party, the brain child of one of my classmates. My friends and I are starting our vet school clinical studies in less than a month, and we can’t even contain our excitement!
Admittedly, there are times when my enthusiasm for vet school is borderline creepy, like when I trace a fingernail down Huckleberry’s stomach and maliciously whisper, “Here’s your linea alba. That’s where I’ll make my incision for your foreign body removal surgery if you keep eating tampons, you idiot!”
Don’t worry folks, it’s still quite some time before anyone is going to put a scalpel in my hand and point me in the direction of a living animal.
Still, I could imagine no better way of spending a Saturday night than curled up on the sofa next to my friends with a bowl of popcorn and several DVD recordings of various surgeries. No. I am not kidding.
Since it had been raining all day, I didn’t bother changing out of my sweat pants or brushing my hair. I briefly considered putting on clean socks, but I don’t always regard clean socks as a priority when, wherever I’m going, diarrhea in all of its glory is bound be a topic of conversation.
I got to E&P’s flat at 8:07. Almost on time! It was so quiet in the flat, I was certain I was the first one there and puffed my chest out with pride. Timeliness. I’m working on it. Kicking off my shoes, I shoved the bag of popcorn in her arms and walked into the living room, which promptly exploded with, “SURPRISE!”
Streamers hung on the wall, Happy 30th Birthday! My jaw dropped to the floor. I’ve never had a surprise party before and didn’t know what to say. Somehow, I blurted out, “You guys! I’m wearing sweat pants!” Pro tip: When in doubt, state the obvious.
It wasn’t long before I had a glass of wine in my hand and a pink tartan sash with a handmade medallion boasting “Birthday Lassie.” Somehow, I no longer cared a wit about my Asda sweatpants fashion faux pas.
I looked around at the smiling faces of my friends and those of two strangers, who were visiting from Canada (obviously, in town for my surprise party) and asked, “So, are we not watching any surgery videos, then?” You could visibly see a grimace on the non-vet student faces. E assured me that we’d watch the surgery videos later in the week, as tonight was an Outlander-themed Scottish birthday party for me, complete with a game of “Pin the Kilt on Jamie Frasier.” Just a little something my creative-genius friends invented.
Jamie and his kilts. Le swoon!
I didn’t even come close to wining “pin the kilt on Jamie Fraser” but, that’s ok because next year, I challenge everyone to a round of “pull the kilt off Jamie Fraser!”
We snacked on a cheese dip fit for a Khaleesi, a French-American fusion quiche, and, quite possibly the Pièce de résistance, a layered chocolate pudding cake with a robot on it!
(NB. Apparently, the robot was actually a Scottie dog.)
And even though we didn’t watch bloody surgery videos, all the non-vet students were still subject to graphic (and possibly disturbing) conversation revolving around fecal matter and all the literal ins and outs of reproduction spanning the animal kingdom. Vet student parties are not for the faint-hearted (or those who lack an iron stomach) as, at any given moment, someone is likely to shout something about a giraffe penis or imitate an alpaca mating noise in a public forum.
True, vet students are a unique bunch. We can have a full on conversation about pus over a pint or two, we’ll compare pasta to various types of intestinal parasites as we eat it, and we’ve certainly gotten some dirty looks for forgetting that normal people don’t discuss mucus at mealtimes.
Still, looking around the room last night, I saw my people. People who are always comfortable talking to a bird, but may not be the best conversationalists with their fellow primates. People who are smart and funny, if at times gross and socially unacceptable. People who will diligently bottle feed a litter of kittens or cradle a turkey as gently as a newborn baby, but are itching to castrate something…anything!
In the dissection room, we tap dance the fine line between extreme animal lover and potential psychopath as we hack our way around the animal body, and in the real world, we lose our mind over a cute, fluffy baby animal and fill our instagram feeds with pictures of pets…our pets, other people’s pets…it doesn’t matter.
We’re as loyal as dogs, independent as cats and awkward as baby goats. We may not be normal by the socially agreed upon definition of the word, but trust me, you want us on your side.
Cheers, you guys! Slàinte!