Some years back I completed a PhD in information science (a bibliometric study of the communication process in science, Strathclyde U, if you want the full details). I started it while I was Librarian at the British Geological Survey, and finished it six years later while working at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. I wanted to finish it before I was 50, and I managed it with six months to spare. My two sons were grown-up, indeed the eldest was doing his own PhD at the same time, and both would at times piss-take about my researches – it’s a family trait. I remember one of the lines when I finished was, “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor”, delivered as a leery chat-up and often followed by “Fnarr, Fnarr,” especially to Viz fans.
Last year younger son brought me back a T-shirt from America with that message on it, and I was suitably chuffed. I wore it to a poetry reading at the Scottish Poetry Library during last year’s Festival. A guy at the back of the audience passed out, and nobody knew if it was drink-, chemical- or illness-induced. I found myself holding my hand over the message on my chest, in case anyone misidentified me as a medic and asked me to help. I didn’t think that my profound knowledge of Lotka’s distribution or publication latency would help in an emergency.
I’ve worn the T-shirt since – but with the revelations over the backgrounds of the suspects in Glasgow and elsewhere, I realise I probably shouldn’t wear it in public again. Maybe I should start looking for fashion items with less controversial messages?