Recently I was in the company of a colleague who is a psychiatrist (aka shrink).
We were walking into a large supermarket. He’s saying hello to the chap who’s greeting customers. The conversation goes as follows:
Chappy: So what if you don’t mind I ask do you do?
Shrink: I’m a forensic psychiatrist – which is different from a psychologist. Basically I lock up the criminally insane and provide treatment for them.
Chappy: You know…[hesitating a bit]..you know what I thought you were?
Shrink: No, tell me.
Chappy: I thought you were a doctor. You just have that look about you.
Shrink: Well a psychiatrist is a medical doctor.
Chappy: Oh so you mean you’ve studied for your doctorate and all that.
Shrink: I’m a doctor like any other medical doctor.
Chappy: Orh..r..i….g…...h…..t [the sort of spread out ‘right’ that you get from the English when they don’t know WTF is going on].
Well actually: the non-verbal context of this was that although my shrink colleague took the effort to differentiate himself from being a psychologist, he could not have expected to be differentiated from being a doctor. It still didn’t sink when he told the chappy that he was a medical doctor.
This is the way England is. People appear to have lots of intelligence but what they really have is a lot of ‘lip’. Ooooh…now I’m extrapolating too much from one incident. No – it was an extrapolation from lots of incidents; this is just one of them. Come on – I think I can expect any person of average intellect to know that a psychiatrist is a medical doctor.
If you don’t get the point – leave it alone and move on.