Whenever people (and it’s usually clueless newbies who do) ask me the question “but why are you working on a PhD?”, I’m tempted to give them the “real” answer, which is actually rather shallow.
One day, I thought of an extremely-embarrassing-but-humorous situation involving the following.
Imagine that I’m a PhD in whatever, and to flaunt it, I’ve reserved a table for us at dinner or wherever under my newly-appropriated title, Dr. Me. While we’re enjoying our meal, imagine some unfortunate soul nearby suddenly choking on or having a serious negative reaction to his food or something, and collapsing. The woman who first notices our friend in dire straits starts screaming for a doctor. You know, to help. The industrious maitre d’ runs out to his list of people, scans it quickly, and voilÃ , finds the table where Dr. Me is seated.
He hastily breathes a sigh of relief, rushes to me and beckons my services, as I embarrassedly go, “I’m sorry young man, I’m not really that kind of doctor”.
That’d be so humiliating, I’d die, but I’d die laughing.
That’s it, the story ends there, punch line and all. It’s shocking the lengths some people will go through to make a gag out of an otherwise extremely serious and saddening situation.
And, at the moment I thought of this eventuality and chuckled to myself, I realized I needed to spend a good chunk of my life in grad school.
And here I am.