From the title of this story, I’ll bet you think I’m a pervert or a serial murderer or at the very least, I sell body parts on the side. You’d be wrong on all counts. I teach anatomy to medical students.
I love medical students. I really do. I‘ve taught them for 30 years and never left a lab without a new story to tell at the dinner table, even though tales of human anatomy and embalmed bodies would not be considered a polite dinner conversation in most homes. But my husband is a physician, and my children could recite the Latin names for all their fingers by the time they were three. So it was pretty normal.
At the beginning of an ordinary lab, students dribble in, chattering and laughing and bringing with themselves the smell of scrubs and lab coats that haven’t been washed since the first Iraq War. My nose doesn’t register it anymore because my nasal epithelia has become embalmed over the years. Following an introduction to the lab material by me, the students don their gloves, get out their instruments, uncover the body, and lay their lab directions on whatever body part is the driest.
Most days, my stories from the lab are rather simple. For example, at least once a year a student dumps a bucket of embalming fluid collected from the bodies on my feet and into my shoes. I tell them never to wear sandals in the lab for this reason. Since the students never realize that you need more than one scalpel per semester, they counter the dull blade by exerting extra pressure to make a cut. This results in flying broken blades and the inevitable blood spatter. I am the second largest user of Band-Aids outside of the hospital.
This particular day, we were dissecting the genitalia, always a fun lab, especially since the men refuse to touch the penis but the women seem to have a pretty good time of it. A male student from another room came up to chat. He told me he appreciated my lecture that day, along with a few other compliments, driveling on until it became crystal clear that he was shoveling cow manure and I told him to go back to his lab.
At the end of the lab, another male student came up to me and asked, “Dr. Granger, have you looked in your pocket?”
“No, not recently,”
“Well, would you?”
I looked in my pocket. There was a penis there, rather large and neatly severed at its root. I asked, “To whom do I owe the pleasure?”
The medical student flushed to the roots of his hair and said, “I didn’t do it! It was a bet. But we figured we’d better retrieve it before you took your lab coat off.”
“Did you think I wouldn’t find out who put it there? I figured there had to be some reason why your table mate spent so much time telling me what I already know.”
“But if I hadn’t told you, how could you have figured it out?”
“Simple deduction. Match the penis to the body missing one. Find your names on the table assignments.”
“Are we in trouble?”
What I wanted to say was, You bet your sweet gluteus maximus you are. But imagining the whole scene before the Honor Court was more than I could bear. “May it please the court, this large penis was placed in my pocket…” Just the thought of having to whip that thing out was repugnant.
“If you return the body part and promise never to do anything like this again, I will seriously try to forget you ever did it,” I finally replied and left for the ladies room so I could laugh without witnesses.