Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bodies of Knowledge

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by a small box of unknown contents.

Many years ago, a friend of mine got a job at a hospital doing routine cleaning and such. On her first day, she was sent into an operating room with instructions to mop the floor or something, only to find the head of a cadaver on a table, supposedly left over from a brain surgeon's practice session the night before. Instead of mopping the floor, she painted it with her breakfast and went home, never to return.

I've often wondered if I dedicated my body to science, if something I valued as much as my head would be left on a table to haze a new employee. I've since heard all kinds of stories of med students using cadaver parts for practical jokes. I suppose you can't blame them – it is probably a logical consequence of forcing yourself to be comfortable with things that are so averse to your nature, like handling dead body parts.

Has any really famous person ever donated their body to science? Can you imagine if someone as famous as Michael Jackson did? Would the cadaver be used for plastic surgeons to practice reattaching missing body parts, like his nose? Or would it be stolen and sold on the black market to some rich guy who just wanted it in his freezer to impress his friends? I suppose it could be taken on a tour of PTA meetings to warn parents what can happen if they give their children low self esteem.


Unknown said...

I love this cartoon, thanks for drawing it! I'm confident the English Dept. would find a creative use for a dead body.

As a younger man back in the day, I worked as an English teacher at Xian Medical University, helping faculty and students improve their English.

First day in the building, I noticed the blood-stained elevator, was told it was used to transport bodies (of criminals who were executed for various crimes at the local sports stadium) for organ transplants in the basement. I was too much of a wimp to explore.

My students were all nice people, of course. Some people from outside the med school came in to do these special projects.

-Doug Millison

Janta said...

Hilarious!! I've just printed it out in the English Department here... :))

Janta said...

Oops, unless a poster on the door is a gross copyright infringement, in which case I will hang my head in shame.

MatthewT said...

I'm sure the english department could find some usefor it.

marine_explorer said...

Can you imagine if someone as famous as Michael Jackson did?

LOL...with the subtext being he already has!

David said...

It's not exactly the same as donating his body to science, but Jerry Orbach donated his eyes to medicine. Two people in New York each received one of his eyes (or maybe just the corneas) and were saved from blindness.

And scientists offered the family of Le Petomane money to study his body after death but they refused (Le Petomane of course being the French vaudeville performer whose act consisted of creative farting -- look it up!)

DL said...

and if english doesn't work out, you can always donate it to Christian Science.

Hodge said...

Your question reminded me of something I read many years ago: The body of John Scott Harrison, son of Pres. William Henry Harrison and father of Pres. Benjamin Harrison, was stolen from its grave and sold to medical research. The version that I first read was that one of the students recognized the man's body and alerted authorities. In looking for confirmation from credible sources, I find a wide selection of variations on the story, which makes it likely that this is nothing but an urban legend.

A few references:

Mel2 said...

A classroom full of English majors could totally use a dead body. Who knows what kind of creativity it could inspire? Perhaps "Ode on a Headless Corpse."

Atypical Accountant said...

Hmm, dead guy in an English class ... that would make the Dead Poet's Society?

Unknown said...

Exquisite Corpse.

-Doug Millison