“I am the conductor of the medical association orchestra now,” JK told me recently. JK is a violinist with deep passion in music.
“Oh,” I replied, “congratulations!”
“I need time to learn more about the goals of the orchestra,” JK continued. “For example, do they want to expand? Shall we try more difficult works? By the way, we are in severe shortage of first violins. Would you like to join?”
I listened in horror (not for the last question because I knew how to reply politely). Although I have never attended any activities of this orchestra, as a medical professional I understand perfectly that expansion was the last thing they were thinking about. Orchestras and sports teams under professional bodies are mostly social gatherings. As for more difficult works, my violin teacher used to say that Mahler’s symphonies were the most fascinating. The structure was so complicated that everyone seemed to be playing different things at the same time. I think an amateur orchestra can at least achieve the latter effect.
At the end, I just answered, “If you are still there when I retire, I will certainly join.”
Somehow, the conversation reminded me of TW. When I was a junior trainee, one day TW and I were screening laboratory reports. “You know,” she spoke up suddenly, “resources are limited. One of the essential skills of a doctor is to determine when to make a big fuss and when not to. Somehow, it is curious to note that some doctors still make a big fuss over everything despite their seniority.”
Though TW was talking to me, I swear she was staring at the lady who crossed the harbor.