If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been identified by my last name, I’d have a lot of nickels.
The exchange usually goes like this:
Teacher/Administrator/Receptionist: “Eliza Dropkin… Hey are you Dr.Dropkin’s daughter?”
Me: “Yep, that’s me.” I smile politely while thinking “aaaand that’s more than I ever really needed to know about you and my dad, but it’s cool, this happens all the time.”
Sometimes they respond with, “oh, he’s my… doctor,” in a tone of voice set aside for women who have just realized the potential awkwardness of identifying themselves to the daughter of their gynecologist.
These slightly awkward exchanges are far outweighed, however, by the number of hilarious instances that have arisen due to my father’s profession. Having been in practice since age 26, my father has seen thousands of patients, and developed a well-respected reputation in the obstetrical community. His penchant for remembering names, however, is about as strong as his penmanship. Which is to say that if my father’s signature had been any better I may not have been able to forge it at age 9.
Occasionally, while running errands in Albany, often shopping at the sports retailer “Dick’s” or our local wholesale club “BJ’s” (I kid you not with these names) we would run into previous OB patients of my father with their tiny munchkins in tow. “Oh, I delivered her,” my dad would say as he spotted the approaching mom (whose children could literally range from two weeks to several years old). “Hello there, how ya doing?!” He would exclaim enthusiastically. After listening to the usual response of, “Oh we’re doing great thanks!” followed by the patient turning to her child and saying, “This is Dr. Dropkin, remember how we talked about how he delivered you?” My dad would seize the opportunity to get out of identifying the patient’s name by turning to the child and exclaiming, “You are a LOT bigger than the last time I saw you!” We would then escape unscathed by a potentially awkward social situation to stock up on shin guards or economy-sized bottles of Diet Coke.
As our private school was located a few minutes from one of the hospitals my dad made rounds at, he would often drive us to school in the morning. Sometimes during the drive patients would call and my dad would pick up on speakerphone. “Hi Dr. Dropkin, So…[partner’s name] and I were having sex this morning and there was some bleed-” “Ah [insert patient name here]- hold on one sec!” my dad would cut in, switching off the speakerphone. My brothers and I would stifle our pre-teen laughter while my dad finished the conversation. When my older brother tells this story he concludes by saying, “I was shocked! I didn’t even know you COULD have sex in the morning!”
Then there was the knowledge that my dad had delivered the majority of my high school peers, including my ninth grade crush and tenth grade boyfriend. No, no, they were two different people.
While all of this could seem potentially awkward I’ve never been bothered about it in the slightest. My dad loves his job because, while so many medical professions involve very sad situations, delivering babies is one of the happiest. At the end of the day my only hope is that whichever career path I end up on, I hope it brings me as much joy as my father’s has to him.
Though hopefully with fewer vaginas.