Along the lines of Jeff Foxworthy, Chicago bioethicist Timothy Murphy gave me permission to reprint this funny take on our profession :
You Know You’re a Bioethicist when:
*As you exercise on the treadmill, you wonder about the ethical, legal, and social effects of prolonging your own life.
*You meet an acquaintance in the supermarket. She asks after your mother who is in the hospital. You phrase your answer so as not to violate HIPAA standards.
*At a university banquet in your honor, you ask if the chicken has been genetically modified or been given genetically modified feed.
*The waiter at your local restaurant describes the fish of the day but forgets to mention that the recipe contains chervil. You decry the restaurant’s failure of informed consent.
*Your teenage daughter wants angel wing tattoos on her shoulder blades. Your teenage son wants scarified rings on his back. You suggest that they consider whether rule-utilitarianism, act utilitarianism, or preference utilitarianism will help them make better decisions about body modification.
*You see a pregnant neighbor and ask whether her child will be a boy, a girl, or a clone.
*A reporter calls to ask you about a breaking case you know nothing about, but you nevertheless express an opinion.
*Your spouse asks why you were later coming home last night than anticipated. You advise that you’ll have to get an ethics consultation before making any further statements.
*When arrested for driving under the influence, you breathe a sigh of relief that federal regulations prohibit most experimentation on prisoners.
*Someone at the White House asks you to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics. You protest that you have no qualifications as a bioethicist. The President appoints you anyway.
Timothy F. Murphy
Chicago, November 2007