Friday, February 13, 2009

St. Valentine's day

In the medical profession, older doctors, especially during medical school, often ask younger doctors/students questions to try to test their knowledge and make sure they understand important information. This has long been referred to as "pimping." Sometimes, the real purpose of pimping is to embarrass or otherwise demean a student/intern/resident by proving to them their lack of knowledge. Thankfully, that does not happen at my residency program, as all we are interested in here is teaching people to learn in a non-threatening, non-demeaning way. (Have I mentioned how much I love my residency program??)

Occasionally, an attending may try to "pimp" you on something non-medicine related. Once in medical school, a surgeon asked me numerous questions about 70s and 80s rock music. I did not fair very well on that quiz.
Today, the older cardiologist who works with us on our cardiology rotation pimped me about who St. Valentine was. (really he just asked me if I knew.) As I didn't, I took a little time to do some reading, given that I do somewhat enjoy being a repository of arcane factoids. So, in light of this weekend, here is what I learned:

No one really knows. Possibly he was a priest. Possibly a bishop. He may or may not be buried on the Via Flaminia north of Rome. Even when his feast was established in 496, nothing was really known about him except that he was a martyr. Later information from the 15th century says that he was arrested for marrying Christian couples during the reign of the Emporer Claudius. The story goes that to kill him, he was beaten, then stoned, then finally beheaded when nothing else worked. Apparently most of what has been written about him was actually invented by Geoffrey Chaucer.

So there you go. Enjoy the random facts of the day, just in case you ever get "pimped." Or appear on Jeopardy.

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