This was how you learned to do procedures and then spread the wealth of your knowledge and experience to other physicians-in-training.
When I was a med student at Vanderbilt, I expanded this dictum to encompass a the totality of a medical career. This became Sippo's Rule for Success in Medicine:
Romans 3:13 "Their throat is an open grave, they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."
Rom 3:14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."
Rom 3:15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Rom 3:16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
Rom 3:17 and the way of peace they do not know."
In the breech, look forward into your problems, not backward into their causes. There will be time enough for that once the crisis is over.
- The rule is simple and uncomplicated. So much so that even TEENAGERS can understand it.
- It selects one parent to be the disciplinarian: either Mom or Dad. That way there is no separate court of appeals.
- There is no need to elaborate on specific do's and don't's. If something is not going to make Daddy/Mommy happy, then it is wrong.
- It is designed to maximize parental satisfaction and not cater to a child's creative casuistry.
- It allows the parent a very wide latitude in determining which behaviors are and are not acceptable and whom to blame for the disruption.
- You don't have to care about who did what to whom. What counts is how it makes YOU -- the designated parent disciplinarian -- feel.
- Instituting this makes you look and fell feel smarter than both Dr. Spock AND Mr. Spock.
Now, on to Sippo's Pizza Paradox:
When you get a round Pizza Pie, it may have 6, 8 or even 12 slices.
In any case as you and your cohorts eat the pizza, you will inevitably reach a point where eating one more piece from either one side or the other of the remaining pie will leave you with half of a pizza.
The Paradox: Invariably the two pieces from which you can choose will be of different sizes!
In other words, taking either a larger or smaller amount from the same partially eaten pie will leave you with the same amount at the end: half a pizza. I know this sounds crazy, but like every rule of nature, this one always applies. I think it is a variation on the Banach-Tarski Paradox:
Pay attention next time when you get a pizza.
BTW, there is a solution to the Sippo Pizza Paradox: Eat the Bigger Piece and you will still have half a pizza left! By eating the bigger piece, you make your pizza larger!
Finally we have Sippo's Lawyer Joke. There is a story behind this one. When I was teaching the US Army Flight Surgeon's Course section on Chemical Warfare back in 1984, we had a woman in the class from the Southern California National Guard who was also a practicing attorney in Los Angeles. The folks in the class were teasing her about being a lawyer and one guy told this joke:
Q. Do you know why they are thinking of using lawyers instead of white rats for medical experiments?
A. Because there are more lawyers than there are white rats!
I overheard this exchange as I was setting up my notes and I chimed in. "No, the joke is okay, but it needs multiple punchlines reaching a climax." And on the spot, I told Sippo's Lawyer Joke:
There are three reasons why we should use lawyers in medical experiments instead of white rats:
- There are more lawyers than there are white rats.
- You don't get as attached to them.
- There are certain things that white rats will refuse to do!
The reason I bring this up is that 6 years later in 1991, I took my children to see the movie Hook starring Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter Pan. During a banquet sequence, he told my lawyer joke! I was incensed! Flattered. But incensed! It was a great joke, and now HE would get the credit for it. Well, this is my opportunity to tell everyone where that joke REALLY came from. I am not looking for royalties. I just want to set the record straight.