COSMETIC BRAIN SURGERY
by Brick Walters, 12/17/99
DC: Cosmetic surgery is quite popular now. Every week there's
a new kind of operation to fight the ravages of time. But people have also begun
to recognize that looks ARE only skin deep, and that intelligence and mental ability
can be almost as important as a youthful face. Brick Walters reports.
Brick: Marty Harris is a 48 year old video store manager who came to a startling
realization last year.
Harris: It hit me that my mind was tight. Headaches. Pressure behind the eyes.
A tired neck. I just felt ... like my brain was full.
Brick: Full of what?
Harris: Well ... I don't remember.
They tell me I was obnoxious. I was full of details about who was in what film
when, and who was the director and how did they shoot it and who wrote the screenplay
and blah blah blah blah.
I guess it was ... it was very unbecoming.
Brick: That's when Marty Harris decided to take action to change his life. He
called Dr. Harriet Miggins, a brain surgeon.
Dr. Miggins: I told Mr. Harris we could help him and he came in for an appointment.
We discovered that he had just about the messiest brain we'd ever seen. On a human.
Brick: Dr. Miggins decided Marty Harris was an ideal candidate for Cluttersuction,
the newest cosmetic surgery for brains.
Dr. Miggins: Cluttersuction is non-invasive surgery. We insert a small tube up
through the nasal passages, all the way to the brain. There's a very small camera
at the tip so we can find our way. See here?
Dr. Miggins: This little dot is the camera.
Brick: That speck?
Dr. Miggins: That's all it takes. Once in the gray matter, it's simply a matter
of finding the areas of excess information, then kicking in the motor and sucking
the useless knowledge, and it's corresponding brain matter ... out. Like this.
(sfx: compressor (off mic)
Right now we're helping a laboratory rat forget some important secrets it learned
last week about getting through our maze. But it works exactly the same way on
Brick: It sounds risky. Aren't you afraid?
Dr. Miggins: I don't think anything truly bad could happen.
Brick: You DON'T?
Dr. Miggins: I suppose I could accidentally cut myself with the scalpel.
Brick: For the patient, Doctor. Isn't it risky for the patient?
Dr. Miggins: Oh, no. Not too much. Our map of the brain is pretty good. But just
to be sure, we have the patient talking all during the surgery. Name. Address.
Phone Number. Spouse's name. Children's names. The essentials. If they stop talking,
we immediately reverse flow on the tube and put the stuff back in. That's our
Brick: But a person could lose a vital part of their brain.
Dr. Miggins: Not very likely. There's lots of extra gray matter to work with.
I've seen the space and there's plenty. It's like a night time drive across North
Brick: But what is the benefit of having extra (some would say excess) information
surgically removed from the brain? I put that question to Marty Harris.
Harris: Oh, I'm much more fun to talk to now.
Brick: How so?
Harris: Well ... I used to ... say too much.
Harris: Now I don't.
Dr. Miggins: Marty Harris had one of the worst cases of information poisoning
we've seen. His head was packed to the rafters. Movie trivia ... stars ... directors
... box office receipt statistics. Get him started talking and the useless details
would pour out of him.
Brick: But now ... he sits there, like he hasn't got a thought in his head.
Dr. Miggins: Oh, but he does. He just doesn't feel compelled to share what he
knows. And people like him better this way.
Brick: He seems so ... "empty."
Dr. Miggins: Look, I don't create fashion, OK? I respond to what's out there,
and what's out there is a feeling that people who know a lot of little details
about things ... well ... it's not very attractive.
Brick: So it's better to be dumb and popular than to be smart and an outcast?
Dr. Miggins: I wouldn't say "dumb" is the word. Let's think of it as
knowledge being the equivalent of weight. If you happen to carry a lot, it's stylish
to hide it a bit. People think you're more attractive when you're a little thin.
Brick: I find this completely baffling, and frankly, I'm at a loss for words.
Dr. Miggins: And I think you're quite handsome when you say that.
Brick: Cluttersuction ... it's the latest surgical technique that promises to
make you more popular. Out in the field, I'm Brick Walters.
Dale Connelly Reporting Home