By Baxter Black: PNT columnist
As medical progress marches on, the use of transplants and body parts has become commonplace.
Worldwide, from India to Italy, from Iran to Indiana, the surgeries are routine.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. alone has 83,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney. Corneas, hearts, livers and lungs do a brisk trade on the organ market.
I’m assuming that many athletes, models, yodelers, magicians and pickpockets insure their precious body parts against damage or loss — fingers, figures, vocal cords, or knees. But what if the occasion arises that the body parts of someone whose skills you admire come available?
For instance, say Tiger Woods retires in shame, gets cleaned out by divorce lawyers and joins a monastery then wants to donate something to a worthy cause? It would be hard to choose. An eye? An arm? I might even settle for his 9 iron.
How ’bout Ben Johnson, Ed Bruce or Johnny Cash’s vocal cords? I remember when Willie Nelson sang, “All of me, Why not take all of me…” Maybe he was subliminally making an offer?
They now transplant the heart valves of pigs into humans. The storybook descriptions that ring in our heads might eventually come true; the heart of a lion, the memory of an elephant, the strength of an ox, the appetite of an NFL lineman, the buttocks of a baboon, the work ethic of an illegal alien, the bull-headedness of a cowboy.
At the risk of being morbid, my list might include Trevor Brazile’s roping arm, Ronald Reagan’s hair, Ray Hunt’s seat in the saddle, Tony Rice’s flat pickin’ left hand, anybody’s flat belly, Billy Etbauer’s pointed toes, George Strait’s teeth, Churchill’s way with words and Doc Brimhall’s eye for cattle.
’Course, I wouldn’t have much to trade. I’m left handed but the thumb doesn’t bend, both shoulders and one knee have been operated on though the scars aren’t unsightly, my feet are in pretty good shape but I’m missing the occasional molar, and I’ve got astigmatism in both eyes. As for my innards, I’m trying to get all I can out of them, so I expect when the time comes they’ll be pretty well used up.
Regarding my legs: I have a poem with the line “…like a frog stripped to the waist.” I pause and remind the audience that it is possible to strip to the waist from either end, and if I took off my pants they’d know what a frog looked like stripped to the waist.
So, I guess all I’ve got that is worth trading is my moustache. I wonder if Tiger would swap his depth perception for my mustache? He just might, ya know. I bet he’s lookin’ for a disguise.