Rectums: A Summary

We all had the pleasure (maybe horror is a better word) of hearing from surgeon Terry Simpson at the first Ignite Phoenix After Hours back in December. Terry’s presentation was called “Rectum: Nearly Killed Them.” He made us laugh, squeal, and well … I had to cover my face a couple times. It made me wonder: What was it like to talk about such a disruptive topic in front of over a hundred people?

As we seek out submissions for IPAH #2 on July 29, we thought we should ask Terry to share his experience with you. Public speaking isn’t scary, but talking about rectums in front of a bunch of strangers can make your sphincter tighten … Read on, in the words of IPAH #1 presenter, Terry Simpson.

Taking foreign bodies out of a rectum was something I did for a lot of years as a surgeon. Talking about it to an audience was another matter. The topic is both amusing and tragic—tragic only for those who waited too long and got a colostomy.

(ckroberts61 on flickr)

The key to my presentation was making it so that any given slide would leave no one offended.  Hitchcock came to mind—let the imagination wander and see where the audience takes it. No photos of rectums—not even of people who became patients—nothing that would identify. For example, the photo of a GI Joe—well—simple photo really—and my comments: “I have taken a Ken doll out of a Ken, and a Barbie out of a Barbie, but finally was able to answer the question, ‘How did GI Joe get shit faced?’”

The audience was ready for everything, but as I delved deeper into objects removed there were two sounds—one was the unmistakable sound of hundreds of butt cheeks slamming shut—the other was an uncomfortable laughter. They heard about the medical malpractice lawyer who, after defeating a physician in court, found himself in a hotel room with hookers, cocaine, and “ended up” with an electric razor in his rectum. Sadly he didn’t learn about the karma of physicians—few of them do.

Ignite Phoenix After Hours is a place to explore—it can be profane, it can be profound, and if you are good, it can be both.  It can be base; it can be tasteful.  Some of the talks were great, with poor delivery; some had great delivery and were vapid.  But it all doesn’t matter. It is After Hours, for an adult audience. The youngest member of the audience was the reaction I was most interested in– my five-month-old son. He slept through it. Alas, try harder next time.

For more from Terry, check out his website or follow him on Twitter. Thanks for the guest post! And if you, dear reader, feel ready to join the ranks of IPAH speakers, head to the Speak page and submit a presentation idea!

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