I don’t know why, but I always hit it off with medical doctors. For example, Jamie and I see the same doctor back in Texas, yet every time I come home from an appointment she asks, “What took you so long?”
“Bob and I were talking about our favorite gangster movies.”
”I can’t believe it,” she responds. “He’s all business during my appointments. I’m in and out in five minutes, but you’re there all afternoon.”
We used to share a California doctor who also became my pal. He and I were yakking it up in an examination room one day when his nurse opened the door and alerted him to a problem by saying, “I don’t mean to bother you, but patients are stacking up in the waiting room.”
”They’ll just have to wait,” he chastised her. “I’m talking to Jim.”
I mention this only because our neighbor here in Angaston, Dr John Rutter, is also my pal. He’s one of my all-time favorite people. He’s brilliant and funny and has led an amazing life that includes fifty years as Angaston’s town doctor. I love hanging out with him.
We went to dinner the other night and he asked, “Do you ever wear a tie?”
“No,“ I answered honestly. “I haven’t worn a tie in about thirty years.”
“Too bad,” he said. “I would have given you one of my Australian Medical Association ties. I have a closet full of them.”
Well, to be perfectly honest, I wanted to own something that had belonged to Dr John, and since I suspect that he has not seen fit to remember me in his will, I strong armed him into giving me one of those ties. And I will wear it proudly because it was once his.
(I’ll also wear it because I’ve heard it’s easier to get restaurant reservations when they think you’re a doctor and this tie might just get me into places that would have otherwise rejected me.)
You probably can’t see it in the above photo, but the tie features several elaborately-embroidered coats of arms. Here’s a close-up.
It’s a very odd coat of arms. It features two unicorns, each supporting a flag of some undetermined origin. Other features include a kangaroo holding the sun while perched atop what appears to be a knight’s helmet and visor. Anchoring the whole thing is a scroll that says, “Pro genere humano concordes.”
I never took Latin so I can only guess what that might mean.
“Pro” must be short for “professional.”
“Genere” looks like it might be the root word for “generic.”
“Humano” clearly refers to “human” in some way.
“Concordes” is undoubtedly a reference to the old Concorde jets.
Therefore, my best guess is that the English translation of the Australian Medical Association’s slogan is “We are generic professional human airplanes.”
Or maybe not.
I struggled through two years of high school French and had a one-armed French teacher who cringed every time I opened my mouth and dishonored his native tongue. I joined the French Club and was forced to wear a jaunty red beret in all club photos. I learned to how to say “I surrender” in French (“Je me rends”) any time I was confronted by someone who spoken German.
My smarter friends, on the other hand, took Latin and went on to have very rewarding careers as physicians and attorneys.
Our high school’s Latin teacher took some of the boys in his class on naked surfing trips to Mexico. He clearly liked naked teenage boys because he was eventually fired after being found passed out in a young student’s car following the ingestion of what legal authorities deemed an overdose of a controlled substance. I would ask him to do a more precise translation of “Pro genera humano concordes,” but he is unavailable for comment until he completes the rest of his sentence in the California state penal system.
His motto, which as far as I know was never written on a banner on the bottom of a coat of arms, may have been “Nec utilem.” I’ll let you track down your own Latin-English online translator for that one.
Thanks for the tie, Dr. John. I will wear it proudly despite its odd coat of arms.