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Cut and Paste

26 March 2001
Dan would like the attention of the class....

It always makes me think of footballers. When you hear on the news how, after the hideous studs-up audible cracking sound day in court punitive damages tackle that left them half a footballer, which is to say one-legged and thus no good to anyone except as a goalpost, Dave Victim had 23 operations on his knee in a heroic fight back to fitness. At which point he plays 14 minutes, somebody finally plucks up the courage to tackle him, and his entire lower leg explodes like a claymore mine of bone and gristle. From never better to never pretty in a moment.

And the question you always ask yourself is 23?. Surely there's a point where there just isn't enough space in the knee - not, lest we forget, the largest of body parts. Pretty soon it must just be a tennis ball of scar tissue served on a saucer of bone.

And, even if it's clinically conceivable, three and twenty invasions of plastic and metal, putting bits in, taking bits out, straightening the bits twisted by the last insertion or removal...just think about it. By the end, the doctor would know the inside of your knee better than he knew his wife. Better than you knew his wife. And that's not even counting the physiotherapy, the parallel bars, the Douglas Bader story -

Fuck that. I say it now and simply. After the fourth, maybe after the fifth cut and stitch, surely one could reasonably say:

Doc, thanks for your help, but it strikes me that, before we move on to operation number six, the draining of the infected, viscous fluid around the patella which has grown around the swab left in the joint during this, operation number five, we should have a little talk.

It occurs furthermore, saving your presence, that medical science is a wonderful thing, but it does have its limits. To wit, I will be in a minority of professional footballers with the better part of a Lego Mindstorms kit shoved between their menisci. So, unless you are going to perform this very same operation, and the four before, and the eighteen to come, on every other footballer in my league, I fear I am always going to be at a disadvantage. Will you do that single, simple thing for me? Make the devil's techno-ravioli out of the anterior cruciate ligament of every ball-hoofer and ball-hogger in the Premiership? I thought not.

So, in short, fuck this and fuck you. Weld the floaty bits until I don't walk funny, then piss off and take your Marathon Man bag of pain with you. I'll take up golf and keep the radio off on Saturdays. No worries.

The other path is heroic, but cretinous. Still, at least they have a choice. And, in the end, they are rewarded for their heroism. Things could be a lot worse.

I was the subject of fourteen operations on my brain during childhood. Ironically, this was the result of a complete absence of faults. The theory was that, starting from a blank slate, you can do so much more. Most brains are pretty unprepossessing things, randomly wrinkled as a septuagenarian's scrotum. Any attempt at invasive surgery is drawing a map in molasses.

Not so the taut perfection of my grey matter. Dressed like that, it was asking for it.

The plan was to amp me up. To develop my blushing, virgin mind in new and exciting ways. To be honest, I'm not entirely clear about the logic myself. Or the ethics.

But, in its own way it worked. Which is not necessarily to say that the desired results were achieved, only that changes were wrought. And I, young and in the centre of things, will never be sure how great those changes were.

If the knives had never been applied, would I now be the healthy, happy child playing out there in the yard? A fifteen-year-old with a reading age of fifteen? Or maybe fourteen, but a real trier? One of the bluff, athletic innocents without bald patches at the crown of their skull?

Probably not. If government scientists decide to operate on your brain, you are almost certainly a less than lovable infant to start off with.

However, it was one hell of a ride. And now my thoughts are as clean and sharp as....well, this hunting knife, actually. Which brings me to the subject of my show and tell today.

I'll be showing how to improvise the effects of surgery using only high-impact projectile weapons. Jimmy, the first bullet will crease your skull, drawing blood and sending you into a mild disorientation, which will incapacitate you until the second shot goes in through your left eye, causing massive disruption to your brain tissue and some fairly serious repainting requirements for this classroom. Susan, just forget it. One in the back of the head as you're running for the door. Miss Smith, you'll be gutshot, but later I'll come back with the knife and tidy up. John, Carrie - you both take head hits, nice and clean. Die instantly. No such luck for Steve, whose carotid artery is severed by a wild shot when he tries to jump me. I get sprayed pretty much from head to toe - very primal. The twins I'm hoping to get with a single bullet, but I have to say that things get a little stochastic around that point. A lot of blood. Blood and brains. Think of it as a very large-scale metaphor.

Right then. Shall we begin?


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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