Thursday, February 03, 2005

Everybody Dies!

I've mentioned before that I really don't like my new boss, who I'll henceforth refer to as "Nutsy." Well, time hasn't made my heart grow any fonder. A couple of nights ago, FMC and I were laying in bed and neither of us were falling asleep. He asked me what I was thinking about and without any hesitation, I answered, "How much I hate my boss."

Last week, our unit had a staff retreat. It was actually the SECOND day of working out our goals and mission statement and action plan and assignments, BLAH BLAH BLAH, with the second day separated from the first by two weeks of nausea and festering hatred.

A recap of one portion of that very long day...

To begin the morning, Nutsy's boss gives us a team-building exercise. He tells us to pretend we're surgeons who have received a heart with seven possible matches. The patient who gets the heart will live. The rest of the patients will die.

Here is all the information we have on the patients:

  • Pregnant 16-year-old
  • 40-year-old lawyer and father of two
  • Catholic priest
  • 27-year-old waitress
  • Scientist close to finding the cure for AIDS who is also a white supremacist
  • Retired elementary school teacher
  • Famous neurosurgeon
The rules: we have ten minutes to decide who gets the heart and we have to come to consensus - we can't just vote, we have to agree. If we can't come to a decision in ten minutes, all the patients die.

Nutsy, right away, goes with the pregnant girl. I'm saving TWO lives, she insists. Two of my colleagues agree. Another colleague chooses the AIDS scientist. She doesn't care that he would burn a cross on her lawn; she's all about saving lives with the AIDS vaccine. I'm torn. I don't like knowing I'll have to kill six people. I don't think saving the pregnant girl will save the baby. I feel bad for the guy with kids. I panic, and then I vote for the neurosurgeon. I'm sure he'll use his new heart wisely and save a bunch of people once he's better.

Nutsy argues with us for disagreeing. White supremacists shouldn't be allowed to live. We'll be saving two lives instead of one if we vote for the pregnant girl. Maybe the neurosurgeon is only famous because he's a fraud. She can't understand how we can be so wrong-headed and stubborn. My eyes glaze over as she berates us. We don't budge and neither does she. My other two colleagues stick with her.

Minutes pass. Nutsy's boss adds two more potential matches to the mix: Michael Jackson and an adult tsunami survivor. No one budges. We actually laugh in derision at the idea that we would save Michael Jackson. I try to move us into neutral territory by suggesting that we all change our votes to give the heart to the lawyer/father or the waitress. No one budges. I don't vote for the priest, pretty sure that no one will back me up. Poor Father O'Malley.

We now have seconds left. In order to save someone, anyone, I agree to change my vote. I even say how sure I am that my bigot-loving colleague will agree to change her vote too. Well, I'm wrong. She wants that AIDS scientist to live and she sticks to her guns like a FUCKING ROCKSTAR TROOPER, not giving in to our insanely-evil Medusa-haired harpy of a boss, and EVERYBODY DIES. Détente, my ass. She was just awesome.

(FYI: For some reason, Nutsy's boss didn't think it was a problem at all that this was the result of the exercise.)

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