Taking The Micks

Michael is an ancient name.

From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha’el) meaning “who is like God?”. This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible.

It is a very popular name the world over, but for some reason it has become associated with Eire, to the extent that Micks are synonymous with Paddys in the slang universe.

There were two significant Micks in my professional life, and this article is my way of mentioning them in despatches, for they are both excellent geezers.

The first Mick was my senior registrar at the major city teaching hospital. He bore a remarkable physical resemblance to Rodney Trotter, though he was very far from gormless. In fact he was very laconic and acerbic.

One time, a pale-skinned, copper-haired lady junior doctor of lesser rank spat venom in his direction over some minor clinical misunderstanding. He silently repelled the attack, but after she had left, he, speaking to himself mainly, remarked that only a few centuries ago, a woman like that would have been burned at the stake. I liked his sense of humour.

I bumped into this Mick a good few years later. I was still a junior anaesthetist, but he had become a Consultant at a large district general hospital. In the meantime he had married and had several young children. He hadn’t yet managed to break into the plentiful private practice available in that locale, so was only scraping by on the standard NHS salary. His everyday commuting vehicle was a lowly “Montego”of venerable vintage, and his snottier, more superficial, elder colleagues nastily nicknamed him “Montego Mike”. I think that says more about them than about Mick.


The second Mick was also my senior registrar at the same hospital, but he was a very different character. Possessed of a Blackpool accent and upbringing, he had a low tolerance for any southerner’s nonsense. I learned a tremendous amount at his kneeside. He had long curly hair, like some rock artiste, and was mega-computer-literate at a time before “Windows” had even been written. He was also wise beyond anyone I could compare him with.


This looks a little like Mick 2 as I remember him.

At the satellite hospital in the suburbs was an ITU sister who was pulchritudinous enough to launch a thousand ships. Unfortunately, she also knew this. As a result, she felt and acted like someone possessed of infinite power over men, and often she succeeded.

Mick was uncompromised by her looks and charms, though not because he was gay or such-like. Mick was just too “eggs, chips and beans”, and happily married, to fall for it. Whenever he encountered her, all he could see was a spoilt princess requiring some needful upbraiding. This he delivered with his workaday northern patter. She melted before his mastery every time. It was like the taming of the shrew, perhaps.

This second Mick taught me a lot of wisdom, though he was/is a professed atheist. Whenever I see an image of the “Angel of the North”, I think of him.


By David Wilson Clarke – Transferred from the English Wikipedia. Original file is/was here. (Original upload log available below.), CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38249358