Some things are easy to ignore. Take the liver:
it is so incredibly plain. Believe it or not, the ancient
Egyptians were the first to consider it. They chose
to keep birds as a source of food and developed
systems to fatten them by forced feeding. Believe it
or not, we were not the first to dream up ways
to capitalize on the natural world. The French,
as one would guess if taking an examination,
were the ones to refine this forced feeding.
Is there anything the French have not refined?
They created guidelines for what they named gavage:
a goose is force-fed three times a day for seventeen days.
Ninety-five days later, the goose is slaughtered,
its liver now transformed into foie gras.
Apparently, there are many steps required
to create luxury. So plain, the ordinary liver.
I say the liver is miraculous, almost mythic.
One can remove 70% of it and the remaining
tissue will regenerate the entirety of the organ.
Can the brain do that? No. I am thinking
about the liver today because I sometimes like to
examine things others overlook. It is a kind of fetish.
The liver makes proteins, removes toxins from our blood.
It is a goddamned hard-working organ.
So today, I praise it, I thank it, I relish it. I wish I had
paid more attention to it. As a young man
in Gross Anatomy, I spent a week studying
and dissecting the heart. But we were given
very little time to remove the liver, catalog its
different lobes, and detail its blood supply.
Herodotus introduced us to the concept
of the Fountain of Youth. And for centuries, men
dreamed of finding it. But it was there
within us the entire time. The Liver. Examine
any nonagenarian and you will find they all have
highly-functioning livers capable of removing
the poisons produced by life. It turns out
the chemistry of living, the byproducts of living,
are the very things that eventually kill us.
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