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Punch Drunk

Mark Bernhardt, MD
Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(8):930. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.132.
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It was my freshman year at Yale. It was actually my second day at Yale. The overnight reading assignment for freshman English was to read The Iliad and The Odyssey. No problem! I ’d read ‘em in high school on my own time (yep! I was that kind of nerd). The teacher was droning on, I forget about what, when he uttered a word that made my heart freeze up and shrivel in my chest: genre. Now, I ’d be willing to bet that I was the only person in my high school who even knew the word genre, but having seen it only in print, I ’d assumed it was pronounced “jen-er, ” like Bruce Jenner. When I heard the professor say “zh än-rha, ” I realized what an ass I would have made of myself if I ’d used that word with my dumb hillbilly pronunciation. I promptly dropped out of freshman English, and because that was a prerequisite to all higher courses, I never took any English classes at Yale. I tried to make up for this rather gigantic gap in my education by reading the entire ouvre (hey! That rhymes with genre !) of Kurt Vonnegut and Ian Fleming.

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Figure. The “Punch Drunk ” series: Hawaiian punch (A), 1-2 punch (B), sucker punch (C), fruit punch (D), rabbit punch (E), punch bowl (F), and Punch and Judy (G).




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