Penguin Classics used to produce a nice edition and at college, I carried a copy around, to appeal to the more intellectual girls.
In homage to the great man, after 30 years in practice, I have developed a few maxims of my own, the medical equivalent of not invading Russia during the winter and never playing dice with a Sicilian when death is on the line:
- At this moment, somebody somewhere is writing a protocol for writing protocols.
- Drinking three litres of laxative before having a colonoscopy is an ordeal every doctor should endure before inflicting it on others.
- There is, in the misfortune of other doctors, something not entirely unpleasant.
- Doctors should never wear suede shoes.
- On a home visit, if all the furniture is thrashed but the TV and Sky box remain intact, there is no psychosis involved.
- It is easier to be wise for patients than for ourselves.
- The light at the end of the tunnel means you are having a colonoscopy and worse, you're awake.
- The more I see of patients, the more I like my dog (adapted from Mark Twain).
- There are lies, damned lies and statistics, and then there's the graphs that drug reps show you (also adapted from Mark Twain).
- Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.
- Demand to cut bureaucracy leads to conferences, workshops and training courses on how to do it.
- No drug has yet been invented that will make you good looking and popular with the opposite sex.
- All NHS bureaucrats are selfish boneheads.
- Learn from complementary medicine; if you can't baffle them with brilliance, boggle them with bullshit.
- You can learn something new every day, even from drug reps - for example, never marinate yourself in cologne overnight.
Dr Farrell is a GP from County Armagh. Follow him on Twitter @drlfarrell.