Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Your Wonderful Body

  I'm in love with us. All of us. Do you understand how incredible the human body is? Oh, you do. Well, no point in reading the rest of this crap, then. Buckle off to lolcats or funnyordie or wherever it is that you kids surf to these days.
  But really, what a wonderful machine! How can something so complex even work? If we were made by Sony or Apple or somebody, we'd freeze up or just quit working within a couple of years. Think of every single fascinating part of your body and how it works in conjunction with itself; how it's fueled, how it processes things, how it reacts. It's astonishing.
  Let's take a tour, shall we?

The fragile scarlet tree within us all.


  My favorite of all the systems. Don't ask me why. Seriously, don't ask me. It pisses me off when you do that. Really, I just find the network of veins, arteries and capillaries fascinating. Red blood cells, white. How blood is transported, regulated, and even fueled by that "other" system, respiratory. It's the oil for the gears, food for the organs. Lifejuice. We can die very quickly if someone pokes a hole in us and it leaks out. It's deceptively simple.
  In a different life, I would have been a cardiovascular surgeon. Sure, everybody thinks the brain is where the real action is, but it's not. It's the heart. The stupid brain just gets people in trouble. The heart is where compassion lies. It's where love radiates, or screams with pain, depending. It's the only part of you that can actually ache with emotion.
  Watch footage of blood flowing through the heart. Watch the valves work. Listen. Incredible.

I'm missing an arm and my guts are hanging out. Time for a tasty apple!


  Pretty awesome. It's all about breaking things down. You chew food up, dissolve it with your saliva, then send it on down to your stomach where you literally leak acid onto it. Then you turn it into poo when you're done with it. All this happens with no conscious thought. Well, except for the chewing part. And the speaking of the words "Nom nom nom," as you eat chocolate chip cookies.




If only it were this easy.


  The kickass cell soldiers of your body. They're like Special Operations Forces. Some wiseass infection tries to get up in your business, these guys go in and take care of it. It's fun to think that there are battles going on inside your body. I picture them overrunning the enemy, taking ground. I picture little airstrikes on insurgent infection camps. Sniper cells drilling some virus from 200 yards out. Well, maybe not that far. 200 yards relative to the microscopic level of activity. It's still a good shot, and one he'll be bragging about to his buddies later at the cell bar.

For God's sake, take care of your skin.


  Your skin, bro. It's a living, breathing organ that covers your entire body. It reproduces and excretes waste. Kinda gross, if you really think about it. It's so fragile, and yet, so durable. It comes in a wide variety of colors and, in the case of Edward James Olmos, textures. You can tear it, cut it, and sew it like cloth. It knits itself back together eventually. How cool is that? It's like having mutant superpowers. Rather slow mutant superpowers, but still. Imagine how much it would suck if the skin never healed. You'd just have to glue or patch the holes in yourself and live with them that way. Uncool.

Don't try this at home. It's awesome, but cancer and such.

Look how casual I am with no skin.

Must find Sarah Connor.


  The glamour! This is Ryan Reynolds' bread and butter. Him and his measley six-pack. That guy in the first picture has a ten pack, Ryan. Ten. I'm impressed by the muscular system- the way the muscles attach to the bones, and the way they flex and extend. I love the way they counter each other for balance and distribution and support. I'm glossing over a slew of things here, just like the rest of this article. I won't even get into skeletal, smooth and cardiac, the processing of creatine and glycogen, muscle teardown and rebuilding. Well, no more than I just did.

What do you mean, nervous?


  I don't like the nervous system as a whole. Sure, it's definitely neccessary. We need nerves for touch, pressure, movement, thinking, reaction. Hmm, come to think of it, I guess the nervous system is pretty sweet. The other good thing about the nervous system, and the spinal cord in particular, is that the more you know about it, the more effective you can be at killing someone. I know this is a big plus for a lot of you, and I highly recommend you read up on "spinal shock." The one thing I don't personally enjoy, though, is pain. Take burns, for instance. They just don't stop hurting except when you actually burn yourself bad enough to destroy the nerves. Then, it's all good. Unless you get infected, of course, in which case, see number four. It has always impressed me how your body will send the signal to your brain to move your hand out of the fire before it sends the "Oh, Dear GOD that's hot" signal. Preservation. Thanks, nervous system. Now, do something about my twitchy eye.

Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.


  Sadly, we've been taught that the reproductive organs, and the sexual act itself is something to be ashamed of. Quite the contrary. It's beautiful and amazing, and is probably the best thing about being a human being. Two people can come together and create life. I'm sure that some of the significance of that is lost on me since I've never had a kid, but I know people who have. I know a girl right now (Hi Cate!) that's getting ready to pop out tiny person number two. Watching that process of development is truly unique and amazing. A human being lives inside you for nine months and then comes out, grows up, develops characteristics, traits, habits, personality, and then has their own kids. Beauty.

From the Autopsy of Mr. Ed


  Yeah, I went cross-species on you here. Bet you weren't expecting that, were you? Come on, how often do you get to look at horse lungs? You're welcome.
  Breathing. It's pretty important. That could be a slogan for the National Council on Breathing, if there was such a thing. Don't believe me? Go sixty feet underwater and have somebody turn your air off. You'll realize in short order how delicious oxygen is. Or climb to the top of a very, very tall mountain. I've experienced both these extremes, and so to say I'm a fan of the respiratory system is an understatement. Ever since I learned about it as a kid, I've always thought it was scary how we have to have such a specific type of atmosphere in order to survive. It's a type of gas that we don't readily find elsewhere in our universe. That makes breathing pretty precious. Go ahead. Enjoy a nice, deep breath right now.

The sassiest skeleton you will ever see.


  You have a boner. Exactly 206 of them, in fact. Without them, you would be a pile of veiny gelatin, much like Rosie O'Donnell. We all know what our bones are good for, and so there's really no reason for me to try to go in depth about them. They're strong, incredible, and the interior of them is the worst thing I've ever smelled in my life. I think the most amazing bones are found in the spine. They have the most intersting shape, connection, and I dare say, the most important function. You might argue that the skull has the most important function, in that it protects the brain, but ponder this: would you look sillier with no head, or no spine?

The Chinese, setting new standards in public urination.


  It's what you use to go pee. It's also what you use to be annoyed when you have to take breaks every ten minutes because you're drinking too much coffee. It wakes you up in the middle of the night, and sometimes too early in the morning. Sometimes your friend John likes to jokingly punch you in the kidney and shout "Piss blood!" in your ear. This involves not only the excretory systems of the body, but also the circulatory system, and the "I'm going to kick your ass for that" portion of the brain/central nervous system.


  This article, if you can call it that, didn't really explain much. It's not meant to be scientific. It's not even meant to be accurate. There's no moral lesson here. Appreciate your body. Take care of it. Marvel at it. Don't marvel at other people's bodies, though, because that can get you taken off the Metro and ticketed for lewd conduct. Eighty dollars. Ridiculous.

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