Wear sunscreen parody : get the vaccine!

I wrote this in the waiting room after my booster jab. hope you like it! NB. not medical advice or necessarily reflecting my political views

“Wear Sunscreen Parody for Pathologists”

Ladies and gentlemen pathologists of ‘2020 and beyond:

Get the vaccine.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, vaccination would be it. The benefits of the vaccine have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of the H&E. You will not understand the power and beauty of your H&E until its faded and gone. But trust me, in 10 years time, when when AI is prescreening to molecular testing you’ll recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous that H&E really looked. Your job is currently more important than you realise.

Don’t worry about the misdiagnoses you may have made. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Report one case every day that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s patients. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy and envy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old request slips.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 50-year-olds still don’t.

Get plenty of levels. Sit up straight and be kind to your back. You’ll miss it when its gone.

Maybe you’ll get a Professorial chair, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the baby shark on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your microscope. Use it every way you can including polarisation and fluorescence. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your office.

Read the cutup protocols, even if you don’t follow them.

Read the The Association of Clinical Pathologists – ACP news but tear up The Pathologist magazine. It will only make you feel like a failure if you didn’t make “the PowerList” 😉

Get to know your department colleagues, be supportive and kind. You will have no idea how much they have supported you until they’re gone . Seek to understand your clinicians’ work and they might try to understand your work too. They might even give you bigger biopsies and clinical information from time to time if they understand why you might need it.

Understand that friends and colleagues come and go, but a precious few will stay. Work hard to bridge gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were training.

Work in a Government funded department, but retire before it makes you hard. Work in a private lab once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel to PathSoc, ECP and USCAP, its not the same when its online.

Accept certain inalienable truths: DCC will rise, SPA will fall. Politicians will lie and philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasise that when you were young, the DCC/SPA split was reasonable, politicians were noble and trainees respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you’ll have your own company assets. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 you will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the bin, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the vaccine.

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