Thursday, June 28, 2007

Learning the Language

The pediatric resident was in his mid 40's. He'd been a professor of pediatrics in his home country, but had to repeat his pediatric residency in order to be board certified in the US. He was a very gentle man and quite knowledgeable about pediatrics, but his grasp of English idioms was somewhat imperfect. He carried a notebook in which he recorded each new idiom and went around singing Christmas Carols he'd learned in his English as a Second Language class. He was determined to be fluent in English before he completed his residency.

After being paged to the ER one evening, he returned to the NICU. He had a question for us. He'd learned a new phrase and wanted to know what it meant. "What means 'f*ck you'?" he asked.

While the rest of us tried to compose ourselves, one of my co-workers took him aside and explained the phrase. He grasped it rather quickly and offered the following explanation.

"I keep getting confused between passed out and passed away."


Magpie said...


Amanda said...

My keyboard just suffered because of this post... but oh, it was worth it! Hee!!!

Now, off to get some more Diet Coke...