Despite the absence of a single surgeon, the audience for the 5th SOT Tox ShowDown on Tuesday, March 15 was kept in stitches by a zany assemblage of characters and toxicological questions coming out of left field. Emceed by Phil Wexler, not so subtly imbibing from his iconic whiskey flask, he was accompanied by Wally Hayes, the irrepressibly wry, gavel-wielding judge. Nine contestants let loose their comedic talents and the appropriately unruly crowd of 100 found much to enjoy.
Front row, left to right: Richard Lane, Andrij Holian, and Jan Hulla
Back row, left to right: Joanna Kreitinger, Wally Hayes, Sue Ford, and Phil Wexler
Able assistance was provided by Joanna Kreitinger, representing the ShowDown’s producer, the Graduate Student Leadership Committee; Sue Ford of St. John’s University, a co-founder of the program and official timekeeper; and others. Rachel Frohberg, our hard working SOT Staff Liaison, succeeded in keeping everyone in line during the preparations for this event. All contestants received prizes, including donated books from Elsevier and Taylor and Francis/CRC Press. In addition, members of the winning team, the Toxic Metabolites (Andrij Holian, Jan Hulla, and Richard Lane) were awarded Visa gift cards, and the judge was presented with a hand-engraved beer stein. One lucky audience member went home with the grand door prize, an Amazon Kindle. In competition with several presidential election primaries the same evening, this antic-filled event drew an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd.
It’s not too early to volunteer to be a contestant next year in Baltimore. Send expressions of interest to Phil Wexler.