Saturday, April 4, 2015

Peddling your ass about town

Why prostitution is not the world's oldest profession, after all....and what does this have to do with Dr. Pol?

I've been sitting here, sipping some Bulleit, and trying to remember all that nonsense they tried to pound into my head back then.

First off....why the word, nonsense? THEY thought it very important, not nonsense at all, and that is why they pounded it into our heads.

First year in Veterinary College. Note capital letters and spelled correctly. The first week of class. Orientation. THEY were gonna spin our heads until we got it right.

I don't even remember how many of us sat in that classroom. 75? 76? I was 19 years old. The old guy in our class we called Gramps, was 40. The men at the front of the class were much older. They were, each and every one of them, veterinarians. We wanted to become veterinarians, and to a man, and 5 women, we wondered about this nonsense they were laying on us. Where was the important stuff, the how to make animals better stuff? Who cares about this?

I remember THEY were a bit stern. No foolin' around at all. They took this seriously. OK, I was not there to get kicked out. Much as I wished to object, I listened. My momma didn't raise no fools.


Now spell that.....V E T E R I N A R I A N.

We were not leaving that room without knowing how to spell VETERINARIAN. As they carefully, and sternly explained, some people didn't get this one right. We were not spending four years at the taxpayers' expense to learn how to be a vetinary, or a horse doc, or a vet. We were about to join a profession, and we were going to become VETERINARIANS. If they caught us talking about becoming a "vet" they'd shout us down.

Forty-seven years later, and I still cringe when my colleagues refer to themselves as "vets".

THEY very carefully explained to us the definition of a PROFESSION. This is the part I don't rightly remember, but it had much to do with learning an entire bunch of stuff, and then spending the rest of our productive lives learning more stuff. Special stuff, or what they called specialized knowledge. Specialized knowledge was part of what defined a profession.

THEY talked about a code of conduct that sounded much like the Boy Scout oath. We were to be held to a higher standard, so we were going to merit that by behaving to that standard. We were gonna be cheerful, loyal, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Or words to that effect.

We were going to be honest with our clients and with our colleagues. We would police ourselves because no one else could do as good a job as we. We would have a code of behavior that was far higher than what one expected from someone who was not a professional.

We would respect our fellow professionals, never denigrating them to profit ourselves, yet always holding them to the same standard to which they held us.

We were to pledge to always advance our profession, our knowledge, our tools, for that was to the advantage of our patients and our clients. This was our obligation.

How could we argue with any of this? We realized that this was not, in fact, nonsense after all.

Those men at the front of the class.... They'd been there when this was less than a profession. They'd seen "horse doctors" and various frauds pretending to do what we were training to do. They'd seen the neon signs over "pet hospitals" with the wagging tail and the "today's special" signs. They'd seen the fish hooks on the xray cassettes and filthy surgeries. And they had fought to rid our calling of this fraud and nonsense. They'd seen a profession emerge from the muck, and we damn well weren't going to ruin that. And so, they were stern.

My class and I inherited the most respected profession in this land.

The entire point of this orientation course was to introduce us to the notion of a profession. A profession is different when compared to a trade or a job.

There are many honorable trades in this world. Folks learn a complicated skill, practice it until they get it right and then they can call themselves a tradesman/person.

There are many jobs in which one can earn respect by showing up and doing prescribed duties. Lord knows we need folks to do this.

A profession, on the other hand, has special requirements, special knowledge that must be acquired and then augmented over time, and rules of behavior far more constraining that one finds on a job. Professionals are held to a higher standard than tradespersons or folks with a job.

Thus, there are fewer professions than there are jobs or trades, and those within a profession EARN a degree of respect. Which might be why, prostitution isn't really a profession.

Sure, there is that one whore with a heart of gold, and certainly some of these pros can claim to offer special knowledge. Somehow, when it all shakes out, it ain't the same.

When push comes to shove, a prostitute will do, not what is right, but what is paid for. And thus, a prostitute does not join a profession when she spreads her legs. She merely gets paid for what she is willing to do, and what she is asked to do. Right or wrong.

Which brings us to Dr. Pol.......


  1. Be à vet in 4 years practicals included? Sure! In Holland it is 6 now, perhaps even longer at the time DR. Poll die his studies. If hè is à prostitute, Youre à crackwhore...