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There’s One In Every Crowd

As a frequent EMS conference speaker, you learn quickly to develop a thick skin.

Some people enjoy your schtick, some people don't. Some people resent the fact that you challenged some of their most cherished myths, and rate you accordingly on their speaker evaluations. Some don't appreciate your sense of humor.

And some people just don't like anything, about anybody.

I can't think of any conference speaker I know who doesn't welcome constructive criticism. That's how we polish our presentation, after all. We read evaluations, and we do more of what the attendees found useful, and less of what they found off-putting.

And some things we feel passionately about and believe in, we're going to keep on doing and saying, no matter how vigorously a vocal few doth protest. A wise man once told me that if you're not making some enemies, you're not saying anything important.

Among the few (and they actually are pretty rare) negative comments I get on speaker evaluations, they almost always come from people who don't share my sense of humor, and find some of my jokes inappropriate. I understand that. Not everyone in EMS has an off-kilter and irreverent sense of humor. Doesn't mean I'm going to change anything, though. I'll play to the crowd, and if I get 75 comments of "We loved him!" and 3 comments of, "He's an obscene and arrogant hack, and a blight on this profession," I'll cater to the 75 every time.

Years ago, I used to get dinged for my language, but after it dawned on me that not everyone shared my ease with profanity colorful vernacular, I cleaned it up.

But comments from one attendee at a recent conference just floored me. This person accused me of "repeated sexist comments" and "constantly belittling women," and vowed "never to attend one of my presentations again."

Sexist? REALLY?

The kicker is, this was during a presentation on – get this – sepsis. In that entire lecture, there's not even a single reference to gender. Even my jokes were about zombies and Christopher Walken. I even wondered if someone might have evaluated another speaker on my form.

Honestly, it bugged me… for about a nanosecond.

And then I realized, there's one in every crowd, and I got a big chuckle imagining this person (it would be sexist to assume it came from a female) waking up every morning, pouring a big bowl of Fanatic-O's awash in Milk of Righteous Indignation, and setting forth to spend another day desperately in search of a reason to be offended.

Such people exist in EMS, but thankfully they are very few. You can usually spot them by their perpetual scowl of disapproval and their long string of ex-partners profoundly grateful for the ex modifier.

You'd think they'd welcome any help in extracting that large stick up their asses, but you'd be wrong.

Comments - Add Yours

  • PJ Geraghty

    “…a big bowl of Fanatic-O’s awash in Milk of Righteous Indignation…”

    If the beer ever comes off my screen, I will credit you when I use that line (and I *will* use that line). If the beer does not come off, I will just steal the line, a la TOTWTYTR.

  • Christopher

    I had no choice but to switch to Milk of Righteous Indignation due to a Soy allergy you insensitive clod!

  • Old_NFO

    Oh yeah… I used to get more than one! Sigh…

  • Nancy Magee

    You need to stop wearing that Sex Panther cologne (the kind with real bits of panther) to your lectures. Some chicks just can’t handle it, makes them batshit crazy. Thats the only explaination I have.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      Stop wearing my Sex Panther cologne?

      Never! I might as well live in one of the nine countries where it’s illegal!
      Kelly Grayson

  • Bob Jester

    ” Pouring a big bowl of Fanatic-O’s awash in the Milk of Righteous Indignation”
    Genius!! If I promise attribution can I steal this line?

  • mmorse

    With such a vast array of potential complaints at their disposal I hate it when they complain about something I barely tried to make offensive.

  • BGMiller

    It was Sumdood’s cousin the paralegal.


  • BadgerMedic

    “…big bowl of Fanatic-O’s awash in Milk of Righteous Indignation…”

    Methinks I am very glad I put my beer down and thus saved my computer. :)

  • mr618

    I bet *I* know who it was… Carolyn M! (
    I was sorry to hear you couldn’t make it to the Mid Coast (Maine) EMS Conference this year… maybe next year?

  • Ted

    An acquaintance (I will not call her “friend”) has spent a lot of years complaining about all the genderism she faces in her life. She blames just about every unpleasant personal interaction she has (and there are a lot of them) on the other parties being anti-femininst.

    I keep wondering how long it will take before she realizes people don’t hate her because she’s a woman, they hate her because she’s an @$$h0le.

  • julie

    i got one of those the other day – no not the ‘sexist’ thing … but the “huh? say what” variety. The course i taught ended a few minutes early even with repeated – “is there anything else you’ld like me to cover or spend time on” … with repeated “nos” from the audience. One of the evals then said “should have covered x&y” … HUH? And for my next trick I’ll be a mind-reader ….