To Whom It May Concern:
Behold my statement of purpose for the purpose of entrance into medical school.
There’s a Tom Waits song, ‘Eyeball Kid’, playing on my iTunes playlist right now. It’s a standard 12 bar blues riff with alternate instrumentation. Instead of drums, bass, and guitar, he’s using a moonshine jug, a garbage can (the tin kind), and some other metallic thing clanking in the background. The guitar eventually does make an appearance, but it’s almost an afterthought. Ironic, given that the guitar is supposed to be the featured instrument in 12 bar blues.
The song is a perfect metaphor for me. I follow the rules, but there’s something odd about my approach to things. I throw the guitar in at the end, because that’s what’s expected of me. But that guitar is not really who I am at heart. I am learning to find the courage to see that about myself. Old habits of appealing to the expectations of others is hard to break though.
This perhaps is my greatest asset. The world is full of people who can’t seem to arrange their songs in the way others expect. They beat themselves up for it. Some even destroy themselves over it, because deep down, they know they don’t fit in with what’s playing on top 40 radio.
Through medical school, I aim to acquire the tools I need to help these people. I want them to see how shallow and narrow top 40 music really is. If you can replicate your entire music collection through a single trip to any Wal-Mart in the country, what does that say about your tastes?
Too often in society, we strive to conform. We aim to become as shallow, narrow and soulless as a Wal-Mart music collection. We reject what’s rich and diverse about our individual songs, in favour of something that’s ultimately more destructive.
This is especially so for those suffering in the genre I wish to work. Despite being such a wide spread problem, little is known about it. The experts out there right now can’t even agree on when the patient is cured!
Perhaps that moment comes when patients learn to play their own song, in their own way, for their own pleasure. Perhaps it’s just that simple.
Perhaps it’s just that hard.
J. Parkinson Faust