I haven’t attended a proper medical convention in over a decade. Like Margaret Meade among the Bantus, I hope to observe local tribal behaviors and the effects of civilization on the APA.

“In my day” conference attendees received spiral bound lecture notes, a pen, and a glass of water. Everyone (more or less) paid attention to the lecturer who used power-point.  There were no cell phones then. Sometimes a pager would go off, but the pagee would discreetly get up and leave the room to find a near by payphone.  I am keen to see ‘what happens’ nowadays.  I imagine people now all have laptops (no more free paper or pens). They will be typing and multitasking and only half listening while they are scanning Facebook. Will the halls echo with the constant chatter on cellphones?

Another possible change is the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry.  “In the old days’ these fellows put out eats, refreshments, countless freebies of pens, pads, and what not. Nowadays with Medicine trying to distance itself from that, I wonder what will be offered (anything?).  If a nice young pharmaceutical fellow wants my attention for a sales pitch, he will have to do more than offer me a free post it or pen. **

Then there is the food. If you played your cards right, you could get 3 free meals a day, provided you were willing to sit through lectures in exchange for the all you can eat buffet.  (As a resident this was a godsend).  I wonder if there will be ANY pharmaceutical breakfasts now. Frankly I won’t miss them. It always meant polite schmoozing at a table of strangers, and I am rather shy under these circumstances.

I am certain to bore Spo-fans with all I see and do (and wear) in the far off kingdom of Hawaii.

**Note to the APA secret police: I have NEVER been solicited by any pharmaceutical representative, nor have I propositioned one – ever. End of story.    This is humor, so no nasty emails, OK? 

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