Dude: The new sir

By C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York–Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY
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Dr. Phillips is a Professor of Radiology, Director of Head and Neck Imaging, at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York–Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. He is a member of the Applied Radiology Editorial Advisory Board.

“I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.” — Jeff Bridges, in “The Big Lebowski”

Let me begin this by saying that I love radiology as it is now.

I have not a single bigoted bone in my body, and I couldn’t care less about your appearance, lifestyle, religion, proclivities, etc. As long as you don’t do whatever it is you do in the street, and scare the children. I look around my reading room these days, and it is a truly international feel, and NOT because I live in New York City.

It’s just radiology.

As much as some specialties become identified by the people drawn to their ranks, radiology is identified by its “mutt” tendency. Any and/or all types of people may go into radiology. We are a rainbow group, for sure. Along with the wide range of cultures represented in my reading room, you’d expect to hear a veritable symphony of dialects and phrases. Yes, you’d expect that. But what I have, instead, is a relatively common sound: A tall Indian resident who sounds like he’s from the Midwest; a petite Korean resident who sounds like a Valley girl;a Chinese resident with the touch of a southern drawl. Close your eyes, and you could be anywhere. Well, except for the inevitable physics and medical talk. And, they all say the same things, they use the same tone, they use the same colloquialisms, and they all call each other by the same name—“Dude.” How many times have you seen “The Big Lebowski”? Brilliant piece of work. The Dude. I’m not sure if that movie was a prime mover in this direction of terms of endearment and familiarity, but I believe so. All of us, man or beast, can be taken to a common level. Phone calls to the unit for critical findings from any of my residents usually begin this way: “Dude, you taking care of Mrs. Throckmorton? Dude, she’s got a bleed.” I was talking to a PA on the floor the other day, and reverse dud-ism is also in effect. They signed off to me by saying: “Thanks, Dude.”

You’re welcome. Dude.

In a way, I guess this is a form of honesty. No feigned respect in these exchanges. It becomes all business-like. It seems to be unisex, as well. “Dudette” does not seem to be very common. I’m OK with the trend. It took a while, but now it seems kind of comforting. We are all just Dudes in the big city. So, be you hospital CFO, chairman, MR technologist, or hematology-oncology RN, you’re all Dudes.

The Dude abides. Mahalo. 

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Dude: The new sir.  Appl Radiol. 

August 06, 2012
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