Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Tuesday, October 24

Part one of three: The Paintings

July first—for the first time in my life—I got my own office. It was not huge. It was not a corner office, nor did it have any windows. But—for the first time in my life—I had my own office.

I had four empty walls, and nothing to put on them. Three years ago, I had noticed, in the far back corner of the medical school library, a series of five paintings stacked against the wall. Not displayed, not hung, just stacked against the wall. When I saw them, I pulled them out and examined them. They were amazing.

They were modern, cleaned-lined, and flat—almost colorfield—images of surgical scenes: A lymph node biopsy, a lipoma removal, the initial incision for a breast augmentation. One used a fractured, precision style. It showed a figure in scrubs walking toward you, all geometric angles and lines. The scrubs and the surgical mask hanging loosely around the neck were all that was represented: no skin, no head, just the scrubs and surgical mask.

So with this office to fill, I immediately thought of those unheeded paintings and went to the library and asked the head librarian if I could check them out for a year for my office.

Of course, nothing is easy. These paintings, it turned out, were donated by a foundation. There were serious concerns about what stipulations the foundation had made concerning them. To make matters worse, the head librarian was retiring and I doubt she wanted to jump the bureaucratic hoops to allow me to borrow the paintings.

So I was told that they were not permitted to loan out the paintings, but they would contact me if the situation changed.

I did not hold my breath.


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

My comment is posted as my blog entry at:


Blogger dan writes:

I can send you some old/used blacklight posters if you're looking for something to decorate your walls.

Better yet, rasterbate your favorite self-portrait:


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