Home > Uncategorized > MC1R: a Cautionary Tale

MC1R: a Cautionary Tale

We had an unexpected guest lecturer yesterday. I like this professor, though I’m surprised he remembers my name: the last time we’d spoken was before I was even accepted into the program.

He lectures like Herodotus, turning off track at the slightest distraction, suddenly lit up by some memorable bit of trivia that his students all have to know right now.

I like him for a reason.

We were talking about malaria, chemoprophylaxis, doxycycline. He mentions that some people have an adverse reaction to doxycycline, asks what they are. I’m one of those people, so I answer: dizziness and nausea, redness and vertigo. Worse in the sun.

He beams at the class. “Do you all know who has the highest pain tolerance in the room?”

Huh. That’s an unexpected tangent. No one has an answer. He walks around the front of the room, shaking a finger at me.

Oh, fuck. How would he know that?

“Know how I know?”

I do not. I can’t see the rest of the class, danger of sitting in the front row. I know I haven’t let any bruises show on campus, haven’t had many lately. I’d have noticed if a professor attended a munch or a party. I’m out to a couple of friends but surely none of them would–

“She’s a redhead!”


“The MC1R gene! Red hair and reduced sensitivity to pain!”

He’s way too excited about this.

“I bet you’re really hard to knock out, too. Did you all know redheads need more anesthesia?”

I’m sitting there with sweaty palms trying not to giggle hysterically.

Guess I should come with notice for sadists: Warning: ginger. May require excessive use of force.

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