Anyone that has read/seen/met/listened to me for a few minutes knows two things.

1. I am hilarious.

2. I am so pretentious and snobbish that sometimes I want to punch myself in the face.

Thanks to a friend I had years ago, my ability to one-up anyone in any conversation about anything was brought to my attention. During a discussion on study abroad, I quickly mentioned my stint at Oxford (mentioning, of course, how it is the #1 University in the World…however that is determined). Next we were talking about Chinese food, so of course I interrupted to mention how I lived in Hong Kong and that I have the amazing peanut sauce that I can buy in only Canada. I thought I was simply shining a light on my brilliance…showing these new people that I was someone of value and interesting experiences. But no. Afterwards, my friend pulled me aside and called me a stuck-up bitch right to my face. And by the hammer of Thor, he was right.

I have become a better person (in only this one single area) and I am happy to say that most times, when I am about to utter words that make me look like a smart-ass spoiled little upstart, a little voice chimes in, “dude, Chelsea…if you mention First Class one more time, someone is going to punch you in the throat,” and I stop. I mean, obviously, sometimes I need those around me to know that I am better than them…but that is happening less and less as I age.

So this trait in me is the one thing that I hate most about myself, and therefore, it is the thing I fixate on the most.

Flashback to this past weekend.

I decided to leave the dark, warm, dog-filled interior of my studio apartment to a lovely evening with friends. Not only were there some old familiar faces, but there were new people for me to impress and interact with.

This is what happens: I see someone new, we talk it up until we find an interesting topic, and within minutes I have cuckolded the whole conversation and made it about me. The conversation goes a li’l something like this:

Me- “Hey, nice to meet you, I’m Chelsea. How do you know (insert friend here)?”

Person- “Oh, we randomly met at a bar in Capitol Hill. We hit it off while sitting at the bar.”

Me- “Cool, which bar?”

Person- “Twilight Exit.”

Me- “Oh, I love that bar; It reminds me of the oldest bar in the world, which is in Cornwall, and I have totally been to it. Please, tell me more things in your life that I can undermine with my awesomeness.”

And there you have it. In short, I am a great person to hang out with. BUT NO — not this time, with my senses all intact, I managed to keep my incessant know-it-allism and bragging to a minimum. That was, until I met the Medical Assistant.

Grab hold of your ankles, reader, because you are about to bend over and take some hardcore nursing hate. Here it goes, and it is not going to be pretty.

Because of the shortage of nurses in this country, many of the jobs that, in the past, were performed by nurses, instead are performed by either licensed of unlicensed ancillary personnel — and I use the word ancillary with the most hostility possible. Tasks that are not likely to require critical thinking or comprehensive assessment (I said not likely, not not) are divvied out to positions that have only been created in the past 15ish years — like medical assistants (check blood pressure, pulse, temp, take a history), surgical assistants (set up and pass instruments during surgery), or medication administrators (they hand out prepackaged medications to patients). These often require an associates degree and sometimes require certification with the state, but they always fall under the scope of practice of a nurse or doctor who oversees their actions and have to sign off on their work.

While I super hate my job sometimes, there are more often other times when I take great pride in what I do. I see some crazy things, I save lives, and at the end of the day, whether I have “thought critically” or not I like to think that I am advocating for my patients, teaching families, and positively impacting surgical patients who are in unfortunate and scary situations. So to be good at one’s job does not always require an alphabet behind your name or expensive degrees. But, come on, no one who earned a GED at 25 ever really amounted to much…just saying.

And that last statement just ruined the whole paragraph. Whatever…

My friend is having great concern over her skin (on a side note, she is gorgeous and has very clear skin) and so, of course, she should ask the Medical Assistant, who works at a Dermatologist’s office. I completely support the idea for several reasons:

1. Tattooing the skin hurts.

2. One must prep and cut through the skin to get to the organs.

3. Dermatology offices get cool free samples

4. My dog licking my face has cleared up all my pimples, but I should not tell that to people because it implies that I do not immediately wash my face after.

Anyway, she was then told by the Dermatological Medical Assistant…well, it amounted to a series of absolute lies (too sciencey and dry to write verbatim, so you are just gonna have to go with it). During this conversation, I did mental gymnastics, thinking to myself, at what point is it appropriate to verbally castigate this person?  When is it okay to tell someone they are wrong and you are smarter and better? How can you usurp a conversation and make it all about you, Chelsea, and your skills and your knowledge and your experience?

The appropriate time to call someone stupid or incompetent is the next day, not just when the person in question is not around, but when you are surrounded by their close friends and roommates. Seriously, you do this and no one will ever think you are a dick. And also, if possible, bring up other random examples of when other menial health care workers have been dangerously incompetent; That way you can group everyone together and seem like a job-racist (totally a thing).

So, despite my self-awareness and constant growth, it seems that I still have some hurdles to overcome. Since when I was able to form words, my mother has said to me, “Please, Chelsea, THINK before you speak,” and now…28 years later, I think I am starting to understand…it is something so simple, such a simple rule.

If I am thinking words and want to take those words from my brain and form them with my mouth…well, I should just not do that.

A great alternative I have found, is to write those words down in a blog..that way, no one can get hurt.


One thought on “Pretentious

  1. pjrw says:

    This entry was definitely hilarious and thought-provoking, as well.

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