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.


1 Comment

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One response to “Respect Your Spleen—Or Else

  1. Pat Torrance

    The new improved Dave Barry!! Great Column. Pat T.


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