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Golden Weekend

Benbryner72x722Ben Bryner -- I think one of the weirder phrases in medical slang is the term "Golden Weekend." This refers to a weekend in which an intern doesn't have to work at all, which usually only happens once a month. I don’t know how widespread this term is, but whenever I hear someone use it, it reminds me of the Mitch Hedberg joke about corn on the cob:

"You know how they call corn on the cob 'corn on the cob,' right? But that's how it comes out of the ground, man. They should call that 'corn.' They should call every other version 'corn off the cob.' It's not like if you cut off my arm, you would call my arm 'Mitch;' but then reattach it and call it 'Mitch all together.'"

Same issue here. The "Golden Weekend" is a plain weekend in its natural form; you should call it a "weekend," and call a weekend where you have to work a "working weekend" or possibly something more derogatory. One time I even heard a resident call a weekend where he got one day off a "Bronze Weekend." This is getting ridiculous, because winning a bronze medal in something is still a big deal. If you win a bronze in the Olympics, that means there's only two people or teams better in the world at that particular thing than you. Two people -- that's pretty cool. I certainly can't think of anything where I would say, "I bet there are only two people in the world who are better than me at this." But awarding a weekend a bronze medal just because you don't have to be at work for the entire thing? That's serious grade inflation for weekends.

Of course, looking closely at these phrases is interesting only because of what it tells us about the social structure where they're spoken. I think the phrase "golden weekend" tells me that I should appreciate each day off that I have during my fourth year, because once I start residency I'll start thinking of them as some rare shiny object to be treasured and guarded.

October 9, 2008 in Ben Bryner | Permalink


Excellent article, bonus points for mentioning one of the greatest comedians to ever live.

Posted by: | Oct 14, 2008 2:39:21 PM

I agree on including Mitch Hedberg...true comic genius (may he rest in peace).

Posted by: Nikki | Oct 14, 2008 2:47:00 PM


Posted by: brynna | Oct 14, 2008 3:02:50 PM

Loving the Mitch quote. Check out Demitri Martin if you miss that style of comedy. :)


Posted by: lonecatalyst | Oct 14, 2008 6:44:34 PM

seriously, is it really worth taking the time to blog about the term "golden weekend" and its significance? I'm disappointed in myself that I actually clicked on this link thinking there may be something relevant to be said. I'm even more surprised someone called this short blurb "excellent". What are people reading these days???

Posted by: R | Oct 15, 2008 3:19:00 PM

R - I think it is worth taking the time to blog about the idea of a golden weekend.
Its an interesting article, talking about how a thing that is normal for lots of people outside the health proffession is a treasured treat for doctors. Yes - its not on a meaty topic, but a reminder to treasure our weekends now because eventually they'll become rare is good...

Posted by: Imogen | Oct 16, 2008 10:14:38 AM

R: seriously, does every article have to be profoundly philosophical?

Posted by: L | Oct 23, 2008 7:21:11 AM

You only get one weekend off a month? Tough break. This is the first time I've felt grateful for the European Working Time Directive...

Posted by: Kirsty | Oct 24, 2008 1:36:08 PM

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