Even with my over-developed and frankly puerile sense of humour, I rarely see the funny side of lab test results, particularly when I have precisely 76 to wade through on account of all my partners buggering off on holiday.
Today, though, the load was considerably lightened by the fact that a male fertility test was signed off by a ‘spermatologist’. Blow me, I’ve not come across that before. Imagine that as a dinner party moment, with host poised to fork in some monkfish in white-wine sauce just as you’re asked the ‘And what do you do?’ question. It would make a lifetime of peering down a microscope counting tadpoles almost worthwhile.
This is, of course, just one example of the current epidemic of job title aggrandisement. The whole spectrum of medical hierarchy, from physicians’ assistants to GP tsars via a variety of noctor practitioners, consultants, upper-limb physiotherapy ninjas etc is infested with absurdly inflated monikers. And that’s why we now have spermatologists.
All of which rather begs the question, what should we do about the ‘doctor’ title, given that its value has been undermined by the environment of titular hysteria? Either we should indulge in some inflation of our own, by becoming God-Like Genius Practitioners, or we should employ reverse psychology by reverting to plain old Mister*, because it worked for the surgeons.
This would also have the pleasingly surreal effect of transforming some tired old clichés, thus, ‘The Mr will see you now,’ ‘Is there a Mr in the house?’ and ‘Let me through, I’m a Mr’, though less successful with Mr Who, Mr Dolittle, Mr Feelgood, etc etc.
Or maybe we should go for ‘General Practologist’. After all, spermatologist is quite something, isn’t it? Though how they can tell the future by looking at sperm beats me.
*Yes, I know, or Mrs. Or Miss. Or Ms.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield