This is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty, most of whom are dead. However, I know at least one is alive, so we will adopt the convention!
It was all about Dr Graves of international
fame as the discoverer of thyrotoxicosis, also known as Graves Disease. A bust of the Great Man decorated the main
atrium of the Hospital in Dublin in which I trained and the statue was atop a broad flight of concrete steps. Graves was worshiped with all the respect due to a deity.
Dean Eltree, 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 as one of the few students who had a car, 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 were handling their booze a little better than their younger colleagues.
"Let's do something with old
Eltree's car," Tom Snowdon said, in a loud self-assured English
accent. "I'm so fed up watching him
polishing and nursing it, I think it's time we taught him a lesson."
"Yes, let's let the air out of
his tyres," Pete Sangster responded.
"For God's sake, Sangster,
don't be so bloody childish. Can't you think of anything more original than that," Snowdon responded
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 said.
Hoots of drunken approval emanated
from the group.
"We'll get into terrible
trouble if we're caught," Steve said.
"Don’t be such a funk,"
Sangster said contemptuously.
The herd mentality was kindled and
there was no stopping them now.
"Do you think we can lift it?" Sangster asked.
"Let's give it a try," an anonymous
As many pairs of hands as could fit
squeezed around the little car and 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 building.
Others held the large lobby twin doors open, while the car was quietly placed
in the centre of the lobby.
"It looks wonderful
there," drawled Ronny Snowden, "but it would look much better if we
put that bust of Robert Graves behind the steering wheel."
"all hell will break loose."
A contemptuous glance from Snowden,
while a couple of his followers
struggled to get the bust into 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," Snowden added.
One of the more fashionable members
of the group volunteered his scarf and rather racy hat which he carefully
arranged to give the long deceased Graves (he died in 1853) a decidedly sporty
appearance. Even Steve had to admit
that the effect was dramatic. They
stealthily withdrew to the students residence before releasing their whoops of apprehensive delight at their daring act.
Steve awoke in the morning slightly
hung-over and reflected on the previous nights action. He got up as quickly as he could, anxious to
see the damage. He walked out into the
courtyard. About twenty maintenance
workers were laying wooden planks in parallel tracks down the concrete
steps. The car, with Dean Eltree
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 maneuver to make sure his beloved car wasn't damaged.
The next morning Steve was in the
line-up that the students and interns were ordered to attend. The perpetrators were exhorted to turn themselves in, like decent human beings, so that the entire class
wouldn't suffer the consequences for the desecration of the venerable and
internationally respected [except by us!] Robert Graves. We unanimously decided not to be decent human beings, knowing that there's safety in
numbers. No-one claimed responsibility and there were never