We Bengalis are infamous in bringing up all the potty topics at the dining table. Ask anyone how conversations at the table usually involuntarily lead to the potty habits till someone puts a conscious stop to it. So we were on the thanksgiving dining table at my friends place in Philly. She had invited a couple more people including a certain doctor. The whole chicken roast was amazingly done with salmon stuffed inside its belly, which is already reason enough for any vegetarian to gross out. I had never eaten a whole chicken before, and amidst greedily gobbling it up, the biologist in me took over while I examined the body parts of the chicken with intrigue.
I sucked on to a juicy bone while I remarked about how during our undergraduate studies, bone identification was a major portion of our practical training. Thus we were taught how to identify the different bones of the pigeon, rat, frog, and even snake. Trying to appear cool amidst a bunch of engineers and theoretical physicists, I remarked how one could identify certain bones by locating certain holes in certain regions of the bone. My engineer friends looked fascinated.
I was sucking on to another piece of flesh when my physicist friend had faint remembrances of her biology lessons she took the last time in high school, more than a decade ago. Nostalgic about smelly bio labs and indecipherable terms like troglodytes, she suddenly got very excited about an obscure term she remembered back from school a long lifetime ago.
“Foramen magnum. Wasn’t that the word we studied? Do you remember where it is located?”
To which, I cast her smug glance. Of course every biologist knew where the foramen magnum was.
My right hand and my mouth half filled with food, I gestured and patted the back of my head. I was expecting adulating glances, given my profound knowledge in biology. To stress my point, I said in a Korean accent, partly due to all the food in my mouth, “Brain”.
I thought people were impressed. They were. There was just one seemingly insignificant voice from the far corner of the table that remarked with all seriousness, “Not the brain. It is the skull”.
Of course it is a sacrilege to confuse the brain with the skull for a doctor.
Now you know why I have a thing for doctors.