Dr Graves of
international fame as the discoverer of thyrotoxicosis, also known as Grave's
Disease was a great hero to all of the students, faculty and staff of the Mead Hospital, Dublin. (Estab 1753) where I was a student. A bust of the Great Man
decorated the main atrium of the Hospital where he had trained, atop a broad flight of
Dean Eleftry, was an
older medical student from Vancouver, BC, who had come to Dublin
to study medicine. He was a nice guy, who
everyone liked to poke a little fun at, because he was considerably older than
the rest of students and also because he spent a lot of time polishing his
little old Ford convertible.
That night, a motley crew of
students were heading back to the hospital after a good night at the local
pub. All three sheets to the wind, the
older ones handling their booze a little better than the younger.
"Let's do something with old
Eleftry's car," Tom Snowdon said, in a loud self-assured English
accent. (he was actually South African!) "I'm so fed up watching him
polishing and nursing it, I think it's time we taught him a lesson."
"Yes, lets let the air out of
his tires," Pete Sangster responded.
"For God's sake, Sangster,
can't you think of anything more original than that," Snowdon
The rest of the noisy group suddenly
quietened down, wondering where this was going next.
"Why don't we carry his stupid
little car up the steps and deposit it in the main lobby of the hospital. That would certainly create a little
pandemonium in the morning." Snowdon
Hoots of drunken approval emanated
from the group.
"We'll get into terrible
trouble if we're caught,"I said.
"Don’t be such a funk,"
Sangster said contemptuously.
The herd mentality was kindled and
there was no stopping now.
" Do You think we can lift it?" Sangster asked.
"Let's give it a try," an anonymous
Many pairs of hands
squeezed around the little car tried to get a good grip on some lifting point
"It's as light as a
feather," another responded.
Twenty or so, able -bodied students
lifted the car and slowly carried it up the twenty - eight concrete steps that
opened onto the main lobby of the hospital.
Others held the hospital's large twin doors open, while the car was quietly placed
in the centre of the lobby.
"It looks wonderful
there, but it would look much better if we
put that bust of Robert Graves behind the steering wheel," drawled Tom Snowdon, pointing to a bust of the greatly revered physician.
"all hell will break loose."
A contemptuous glance from Snowdon,
while a couple of his followers
struggled to get the bust propped up in the front seat behind the steering wheel.
"Let's put a scarf around his
neck and a cap on his head, just to complete the picture," Snowdon added.
One of the more fashionable members
of the group volunteered his scarf and rather racy cap which he carefully
arranged to give the long deceased Graves
a decidedly sporty appearance. Even I had to admit that the effect was dramatic. We stealthily withdrew to the students
residence before releasing whoops of apprehensive delight at the daring
I awoke in the morning slightly
hung-over and reflected on the previous night's action. I got up as quickly as I could, anxious to
see the damage. I walked out into the
courtyard. About twenty maintenance
workers were laying wooden planks in parallel tracks down the concrete
steps. The car, with Dean Eleftry
sitting behind the wheel was purring gently, having just been driven through
the twin doors and was now being secured by ropes attached to the axle
so that it could be lowered slowly down the parallel planks to street level. A large crowd stood in small groups at
various vantage points around the courtyard.
Some laughing, some talking in hushed tones. Dean was now anxiously supervising the manoeuvrings to make sure his beloved car wasn't damaged.
The next morning there was a
line-up that the students and interns were ordered to attend, and the perpetrators were exhorted to turn themselves in so that the entire class
wouldn't suffer the consequences for the desecration of the venerable and
internationally respected [except by us!] Robert Graves. Of course knowing that there's safety in
numbers, no-one claimed responsibility and no-one remembered there being