Liam Farrell: The unique beauty of the drug rep

Farrell's First Law states that in any photograph of any medical meeting, the good-looking ones are always the drug reps.

The heart never gets to take a break. Unlike our brain, liver or kidneys, which can nod off to sleep now and then, and nobody will notice, our heart has to keep going non-stop, not even taking five minutes for a cup of coffee and a big doughnut or to nip out the back for a quick smoke. And it is always vulnerable.

Our eyes met, smouldering. This is a Moment, I thought; stay with it, relish every second, this Moment of trumpets and flowers and bright mornings and rich beds and birds singing and blue skies, a Moment to warm the heart when I am old and grey and full of sleep and nodding by the fire, a Moment even worth tweeting about.

It couldn't be seen or touched, but it was very, very real. A lot of important things are like that. Apropos of nothing, I hadn't been laid in a really long time; soft flesh and my hot Spanish blood, you would need a prostate to really understand (mine is the size of a grapefruit).

Her cheekbones were so high, they must have needed oxygen tanks. Beauty may be only skin deep, but that's deep enough for me.

I'm superficial myself, so I quite understood; between the two of us there was just enough for a shallow pond. And as Friedrich Holderlin observed in Socrates and Alcibiades, 'The wise, in the end/Must always bow to the beautiful.'

'For I would ride with you upon the wind,' I wanted to say to her, quoting the immortal Yeats, 'run on the top of the dishevelled tide, and dance upon the mountains like a flame.'

Yet beauty can be as dangerous as fire. It can burn, and for some people, love is something to use, not to fall into like quicksand, and emotion is a weakness. But what use are dreams if they can't be shattered? What use is a heart if it can't be broken? When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.

She looked at me and said: 'Can I interest you in our new non-steroidal anti-inflammatory?'

  • Dr Farrell is a GP from County Armagh. Follow him on Twitter @drlfarrell

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