The Intimidator

In an unofficial survey of my nursing school instructors completed at the end of my senior year, one student was unanimously voted as the most intimidating student of the Class of ’87. That student was:

Me.

I know, right!

Some of the people that have been reading my musings have actually met me and know me, and I doubt very many of them would say I’m the most intimidating guy they know.

I worked with a guy at Aurora, Brandon Schroeder He’s like seven feet tall and is as big as an entire defensive front line. Would he say I’m intimidating?

“Uh, Mark? Intimidating? Uh, yeah, I suppose he could be. If you were afraid of Smurfs.”

See? Didn’t I tell you? I stand about five and a half feet tall. There have probably been Hobbits that were taller than me, and Smurfs that were more fierce.

There’s another guy, James Jr Hunt. “Mr Mark. Intimidating… Um, let me see. Oh, Mark the RN! Oh, yes! Now I know who you’re talking about. Umm, I’m gonna go with…maybe, but I couldn’t visualize a situation where it could actually, you know, happen.” James stands about nine feet tall, maybe ten. I need to stand on a stepladder to shake his hand. James can be very, very intimidating.

And yet, in nursing school, I struck fear into the hearts of instructors everywhere. Unless they happened to be a nun or a lesbian. I, too, have my kryptonite.

There was no actual survey of my instructors. However, many of them told me this, of their own volition, as my class neared graduation. Why any of them felt compelled to tell me I’ll never know, but people have sometimes come out of the woodwork to tell me things, all kinds of things, and stuff. And they all had reasons.

“You’re not a teeny bopper fresh out of high school.” one of my instructors said. She was an older gal named Bea. We did have a lot of them teeny bopper types, bless their little pink hearts.

“You have a lot of medical experience.” another added. That was true. I already knew a lot of the material we would cover, and as far as nursing practice went, that was just a whole lots of common sense.

“You’re so confident.” That was one of the greatest acting jobs, ever, on my part. I was just as terrified as every other nursing student in my class was, at first. Face one fear, move on…

“There’s that one question you ask…”

Yeah, well, there was that. Even my fellow students were in awe of it because it was the greatest lesson derailer. Ever. For all time.

“Why do you suppose that is?” was the question that struck fear into the hearts of my instructors, except the heartless ones.

It’s a line from ‘Electric Horseman.’ Robert Redford. Jane Fonda. Willie Nelson. He might have the best line in the whole movie. Redford’s character used that line to distract Jane Fonda’s character, and it worked so well in the movie I decided to try it out myself, not because I wanted to intimidate anyone; I just liked to see people’s response to a question that made them think.

Life sometimes imitates art.

It worked so well in school I tried it at work. It was not a one hit wonder. That one question could make a manic person ramble on for hours. I can’t guarantee this method will work for you, but it made me a legend.

And I might be wrong about this, but I don’t think I was all that intimidating to my co-workers, most of the time. I could be a moody son of a bitch, especially back in my drinking days, and I wasn’t always very kind.

The people I tended to intentionally intimidate most were Management & Administration, and that was probably because I rarely believed anything they ever said.

Now that I’m no longer working, I’m kinda curious. Was I, or was I not, intimidating?

Yes. No. Maybe, if you’re afraid of Smurfs. Whatever.

I’d ask my wife, but she’d probably just give me that look, and I’d have to go hide in my bodega.

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