My First Graduate School Rotation, Written as a Buddy Cop Movie.
DR. JEFFREY FEINSTEIN, P.I.: Johnson! Get in here!
[PETER JOHNSON, a graduate student, saunters into FEINSTEIN’s office. He is carrying a beaker filled with a bubbling, blue liquid. He sits down on the chair and rests his feet on FEINSTEIN’s desk.
[JOHNSON begins picking his teeth with a micropipet tip. FEINSTEIN slams his hands on his desk and stands.
DR. FEINSTEIN: Johnson, what were you thinking yesterday?! You killed nearly fourteen rats in your dissection of hippocampal tissue! You need to start following protocol.
JOHNSON: takes a drink out of the beaker Hey, I got the job done, didn’t I? I got your brain matter. It’s not my fault it took a few more rats than I thought it would.
FEINSTEIN: A few more? You were supposed to use only two! And don’t get me started on your behavioral experiments.
JOHNSON: You didn’t like my stress-test?
FEINSTEIN: You stressed the rats by taking them to a gun range and unloading a clip of bullets around their cages. And you unloaded a magazine of blanks from an Uzi next to the control group. Do you really think that’s a good model for stress in mammals?
JOHNSON: Well, it stressed me out.
FEINSTEIN: I can’t believe it’s come to this, but I’m taking you off the project.
JOHNSON: jumps up in anger What!? I’ve been in this lab for seven years! I’m only six months away from graduation. You can’t do this to me.
FEINSTEIN: I’m your P.I., so I can do whatever I want. But I’m feeling generous, so I’ll give you a second chance. I’m giving you a new rotation student.
JOHNSON: I told you when I first got here: I don’t work with a partner. Partners just get in my way.
FEINSTEIN: You’re a loose cannon, Johnson! You don’t have a choice. It’s either this or I’m going to have to ask for you to turn in your lab coat.
[JOHNSON stands in stunned silence.
FEINSTEIN: Time to meet your partner. Come on in, Stephen!
[STEPHEN FOLMSBEE walks into the office.
FEINSTEIN: Meet your new partner, Johnson. His name is Stephen and he just graduated from college.
JOHNSON: Where you from, kid?
JOHNSON: Look, sport, I don’t know what you think you know about science, but we are researching here on a level you’ve never even dreamed of. We’ve got a centrifuge that’ll separate pellet from supernatant at 120,000 g. We’ve got 11M hydrochloric acid that’ll dissolve your face. Just because you got into this graduate program you probably think you’re some hotshot. But I’ve got news for you, pal: you won’t last two days.
FEINSTEIN: Easy, Johnson.
JOHNSON: What do you think, son? Do you have what it takes to work in a neuroscience lab?
FOLMSBEE: Well, I did graduate with a degree in Neurobiology from—
JOHNSON: interrupting I don’t care! This isn’t like those glamorous scientists you see on TV. There are no supermodels, no private jets, no henchmen. Just you, your bench, and the occasional cocaine party. You aren’t ready, kid. You’ll just screw things up.
FOLMSBEE: From what it looks like, I’m not the problem here.
[JOHNSON stares at FOLMSBEE.]
FEINSTEIN: Hey, there’s something else you should know, Johnson. He’s not just with the graduate program. He’s an MD/PhD student.
JOHNSON: his mouth hangs open in rage He’s with the medical school? There’s no way I’m working with him now! We’ve been fighting with them over jurisdiction on this research project for months now. Remember that axon-pathfinding paper we almost had published before it was stolen by those patient-coddlers? We don’t need a future stethoscope-pusher hanging around our lab.
The phone rings, and FEINSTEIN answers it.
FEINSTEIN: Yeah? Really? Glutamatergic and GABAergic neurotransmitter vesicles? All right. I’ve got the perfect guys for the job. [He hangs up phone.]
FEINSTEIN: My inside man over at Nature Neuroscience tells me that those pseudo-scientists over at that Hopkins lab are trying to scoop us on your paper, Johnson. My pal is going to work over their submitted manuscript with some nasty reviews, but I’m going to need you two to get down to your bench and get me some electron microscopy images so we take ’em out.
JOHNSON: I can do this in my sleep. I don’t need this joker.
FEINSTEIN: Last time you got EM pics, it took us two weeks to clean out the viewing room.
JOHNSON: Hey, it’s not my fault that most of those solvents were flammable.
FEINSTEIN: All right, you two get to work. Here’s your gun, Stephen.
FOLMSBEE: Why do I need a gun?
FEINSTEIN: Don’t worry, it’s a science gun.
Confused, FOLMSBEE leaves the office. JOHNSON glares at FEINSTEIN, and then follows. FEINSTEIN pours himself a scotch out of a graduated cylinder.
FEINSTEIN: I’m getting too old for this neuroscience.
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