The Horrible Things I Do For My Job
Nothing on the job that I have seen or had to do so far has really phased me yet. I don't expect to be the iceman come autopsy time, but I knew that going in. Tissue samples and gross examinations are really no big deal. There are certain kinds of autopsies that I may have to deal with that I will find troublesome. I already know that child abuse and infant deaths are going to bother - they bother everyone, or should bother them. I will also have a problem with sexual assault cases. But none of that has come up so far. The handling of dangerous chemicals is of a concern to me, but that is a matter of learning the proper procedures. No I have had one horrible thing that I had to do for the job - something that makes it hard for me to look at myself in the mirror: I had to shave.
On Thursday, I had to be fit tested for a couple of masks. These masks are mainly for those times that I may be dealing with dangerous pathogens or when we have outbreaks of things like avian flu or SARS. Those masks have to form a tight seal around my face and my facial hair was preventing that from happening. I had an inkling that it might so I brought my shaver along just in case so I wouldn't have to rebook my test times. I failed miserably, so off it all went. Good Lord. I knew I needed to loose weight before I got the job with the Health Region. I knew I needed to get back into shape after moving at the beginning of the month. I knew I needed to loose weight after seeing amputated diabetic limbs with gangrene. But vanity may just be the best motivator.
The nurse who did the testing thinks I look better without it, but I get the feeling he has a bias against facial hair to begin with. People look a bit stunned when they see me. Geo kept starring. J did a double take as he leap backwards. Clearly, there is a need to do something about this and so I shall. Aside from taking advantage of the great deal the Health Region offers employees to use their gyms, I plan to grow back the facial hair - for a measure of self-respect and dignity at least.
The last time I shaved completely was back in 1999. I was looking for better work and not getting anywhere. My Dad suggested that it may be the facial hair so I shaved to see what would happen. It didn't make a difference to my job search. Soon after shaving, I met my friend Diana on Skytrain. We were going downtown and she only just seen me the day before. She had saucer eyes. She did this fluttering with her eyes that she does when something meets with her disapproval which is followed by a quick and hard gulp. The angles of her mouth angled downward, her nostrils widened and she asked, "You're growing it back, right?" I haven't shaved completely since that day until now.
I figure I will buy another shaver and shave it off when situations demand it. The masks form great seals with just short stubble on my face, so no problem there. If there is an outbreak of SARS or some other supervirus, I will shave. Whenever I have to shave it is gone, but it will be grown back when all is clear. If the Health Region tells me to keep clean shaven then I will, vanity isn't worth a paycheck.