Monthly Archives: May 2013

Respect Your Spleen—Or Else

After spending a good part of my life feeling sorry for hagfish because they lacked a spleen, I began to wonder if I’d been wasting my time. What is a spleen actually good for? I heard they can become enlarged and cause problems. If my fist-sized spleen becomes enlarged to the size of Rush Limbaugh can it be removed as an outpatient using a piece of chrome trim from a pre-1980 Chevrolet? Could it then be replaced by a hockey puck?

After a recent evening out at a local pub, I realized the spleen really doesn’t do a whole lot compared to, say, an organ like the stomach. The stomach has the good sense to throw up when you’ve ingested mass quantities of beer and Cheez Whiz or other foodstuffs created in test tubes, making you feel much better and vowing that you’ll never do that again. Although the spleen is protected by the rib cage, it constantly tries to escape from the cage, hopping from rib to rib and hanging around the helpful stomach as a non-vital organ where it taunts the liver.

The word spleen comes from the Greek ovioupousx7nzqolivesxe#nos, which is the idiomatic equivalent of a severely ingrown toenail and not much else. I discovered this when I went to my doctor and told him I thought my spleen had an ingrown toenail. He asked my why I suspected that and I told him I thought I felt it limping as it hopped on one of my ribs. The doctor told me this was impossible since he’d never heard of a spleen that could understand Greek other than the occasional word in the Alexandrian dialect and it obviously would have no understanding of ingrown toenails. But just to be safe, he said he’d give me the once-over.

After a thorough examination, which consisted of tapping on my knee with a small, hammer and having me try to tie on a hospital gown without dislocating my shoulder, he asked me if I’d ever played mumbley-peg with ferrets. I told him I generally played mumbley-peg with pocketknives, so he sent me for some tests which all came back negative except for one that indicated I didn’t have enough life insurance.

Taking everything onto consideration, I gained a certain respect for my spleen after learning that it’s actually responsible for many critical functions in the body and a hockey puck would perform fewer than half of those functions. The spleen helps the lymphatic system drain out extremely harmful, disgusting and potentially fatal infection-causing bodies, such as Dick Chaney.

Looking back, I figure that I did waste a good part of my life feeling sorry for hagfish. Why did I bother? I’m certain they never worried about the ingrown toenails on my spleen.

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Stick to Aspirin

The other day while watching TV, I inadvertently saw a commercial. I usually manage to avoid all of them by heading for the bathroom. These days, there are so many in a row, I can even mow the lawn and be back inside before a program resumes. This commercial ran for 30 seconds and was for some prescription medication that promised, in the first five seconds, to give me the equivalent of eternal life. The remaining 25 seconds were reserved for the side effects. I went to my medicine cabinet and looked at the paperwork accompanying my recently purchased prescription medication, papers I normally tossed in the recycle bin. Here are some highlights of the side effects listed in that informative material:

This drug may cause migraine headaches, abdominal cramps and projectile nosebleeds. Do not use if you are pregnant, particularly if you’re a male over forty and intend to breastfeed. Do not take this product if you’ve ever handled or been fired on by a squirt gun. While taking this medication, infants and children under three should not drive or operate heavy machinery. This drug has been known to produce a slight whistling noise, sounding like the overture to Mozart’s Don Giovanni, to issue forth from previously undetected bodily openings. May cause an extra finger to grow out of the left ear of an aunt or uncle four generations back in your family. Consult your physician if death or stage three coma occurs. Should you begin foaming at the mouth, speaking incoherently, or become unable to form a complete thought, immediately quit your job and run for Congress. Finish prescription completely because any unused portion improperly disposed of will contaminate landfills, neutralize the Earth’s magnetic field, cause seismic discontinuities in the upper mantle of its crust and precipitate a 3° shift in its axis.

I recycled the papers and put away my pill bottle, to be disposed of later in the proper manner so I don’t cause a crack in the world. In the meantime, I decided to take two aspirin and call my doctor in the morning.

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