William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Saturday, 10, January, 2009

Hippo Balls and Dancing Surgeons

Filed under: Social Commentary,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 19:42

hippoTonight is the Hippo Ball, AKA the Hippocrates ball (which no-one ever says because in Medicine you abbreviate everything, particularly if you’re a surgeon).  It is the Medical School Prom.

I never went to my high school prom, a combination of consequences due to schedule conflicts and my being attracted to women who were significantly older than I was.   Wasn’t going to happen.  At least, though, those dances happened in the spring.

The medical school used to hold its prom in the spring when I attended it.  This was a party well worth going to.  For one, it was held in the Old Arcade in downtown Cleveland.  This is now the Hyatt, but at the time it was a shopping center and office building.  There were shops on the lower two floors and offices on the upper floors.  The ceiling is glass, and there is a lot of art nouveau decoration.  Here are some pictures: summer-005 This is the bridge with the clock, between the sides on the first floor.  You can see that there’s a big open well going up the full length and height of the building.  The ground floor is a full floor, the first floor is broad, and the other balconies are quite narrow.

Next, a view from the Euclid entrance: arcade2 It’s a beautiful building. They put a band on the lowest floor, and there were bars around in the corners and hors d’oevres served.

It wasn’t a bad party. It was good for people watching. Many of the faculty members went in the early nineties, and I was very amused to see 1. what passed for dress sense among physicians and 2. who was dating whom and 2(a) who was making out with whom when they got drunk enough. Always fascinating.

At every single medical school party I have attended they play Good Lovin’. The Family Practice docs go wild, every time they hear “Asked my family doctor what I had…” They don’t get a lot of respect in the academic world.

But entropy increases, and all good things must come to an end.  They moved the location, several times.  The time that group of surgeons tried testing their hand-eye coordination by dropping ice cubes with accuracy (don’t ask) didn’t help.  The Cleveland Athletic Club was wonderful, but the other locations could have been in any city in the world.  The date was moved to midwinter, which doesn’t bother me much, but makes women’s fashions problematic.  Finally, the faculty have drifted away.  The last Hippo Ball I went to there were only two people from the Uni proper, a faculty member (me) and the staffer from Student Affairs who was planning it.

It is too cold tonight.  Tonight’s plan is for Onion Soup Au Gratin, salad, and some homemade bread, with some old What’s My Line on the player



  1. Loved the story. 🙂 At barristers’ balls (what happens in traditional law schools), EVERYONE goes and the few who remain sober take notes on who gets smashed (faculty and students alike), how badly, and whose spouse goes home with whom. Pretty sad when you think about it. A major reason why I never went. (Also because tickets were $400 per person–way too much for me!)

    but my first thought on seeing the hippo was to wonder if the zoo that owns the hippo has an up-to-date CITES-ESA permit. Whew.

    Comment by Katherine — Sunday, 11, January, 2009 @ 00:43 | Reply

  2. Interesting post Doc. Since I never got beyond a B.Sci I never had to worry about any parties 🙂 I sure as hell would not have paid $400 to go to ANY party, either… Have a good week!

    Comment by Old NFO — Sunday, 11, January, 2009 @ 16:58 | Reply

  3. Mmmm, fresh homemade bread! I’m surprised you didn’t end up with a ton of people at your place asking to be fed!

    Comment by Bardiac — Sunday, 11, January, 2009 @ 21:04 | Reply

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