Monday, April 14, 2008

Body Worlds--a Real Shocker

So this weekend I hung out with a bunch of naked people in various poses. And then I went with them to see the Body Worlds exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Okay, no, my friends really aren’t nudists. Nor are they dead. I should have mentioned that part. The people in the exhibit are dead. They are also mostly skinless and very reminiscent of beef jerky. My friends are quite alive and wear clothing. Most of the time, unless they’re not telling me something.

I know, I shouldn’t talk about the dead like that. But at least I wasn’t the one who dared everyone in the group to go suck the &%k of one particular display. I was very respectful. I was also very creeped out.

These were the reverential thoughts I had / comments I made at various moments as I passed through the crowded exhibit:

“I wonder if my tattoo will look like that after I die?”

“I’ve never seen so much gray pubic hair in my life.”

“All the veins in our heads kind of look like a dish sponge.”

“My, that’s a large penis.”

“Oh, and that one’s much smaller.”

"Who thought it would be funny to put the hat on when his face is splayed open like that?"

“Isn’t our nasal cavity quite aesthetically pleasing? When it’s sliced open like that?”

“Maybe now S. will stop smoking. DUDE! Come look at this black lung! How much do you wanna smoke now? Am I right or am I right? Look, you can put your pack in that plastic receptacle right there—the one that’s clearly marked as such. That’s how powerful this exhibit is supposed to be.”

“That fingernail still has dirt under it.”

"Are they supposed to dangle that far?"

“Oh wow, that guy has red hair ... everywhere.”

Observing the internal organs of deceased people in various poses set us up for one of the most colorful evenings of bathroom humor I’ve had in a very long time. Probably because to poke fun at scary or taboo things (our mortality, all of the things that can go wrong with the human body, bodily functions / body parts we’re taught to feel shameful about, etc.) robs them of their power and make them easier to deal with.

Or maybe because it’s just hilarious when a man wears a t-shirt celebrating “The Shocker” (complete with corresponding hand—er, finger sign) and thinks it refers to some new band.


  1. I've heard so much about this exhibit, but nothing as amusing as “All the veins in our heads kind of look like a dish sponge.”

    its funny because its true.

    Bowling on Friday yay!

  2. I saw that exhibit. I'm glad I didn't have bacon for breakfast or bring in beef jerkey to snack on...

  3. We saw this last month and I have to say, I was disappointed. These "plastinated" bodies didn't even seem human. Is that bad to say? I guess it was remarkable, but, frankly, I was kinda lost. If I were a physician or a pre-med student or had even paid attention in biology class, I might have enjoyed it more. Ah well. Glad I saw it.

    Actually, my favorite part was reading the "journal" at the end where people wrote really inappropriate things including the dopes that complained that there weren't enough plastinated women. Seriously? Seriously.

  4. karen--I LOOVED that part, too!!!

  5. love the quotes!
    i think i am going to use them inappropriately in my daily life

  6. Wow, now that is something my husband would never be able to view. If he ever saw one of those cadavers on display, he would immediately lose his lunch or faint or both!
    Being that I am a nurse, I could eat my lunch while checking out the exhibit and at the same time make very innapropriate comments. We must joke to survive, mentally at least.

  7. I am certain that whatever it was- it should NOT dangle very far.

  8. Eileen, I bet Jess was talking about BALLS dangling that far! I'm right, Jess, aren't I? Guess that guy never FREAKED HIS BALLS OFF, did he?

    Can you imagine seeing that exhibit under some sort of influence of some sort of illegal substance??? Wowza!!

  9. Did your exhibit have the baby in the womb thing too. That was weird/powerful/disturbing all in one.

    Speaking of peni... we took our kids to this when we went, and my daughter was only 9 at the time. The good news is, it's going to be a long, long time until she wants to see one those things again!

  10. I don't know how to deal with anything like that without a good dose of humor (proper or not).

    Jeff, Good idea. I think I will take my impressionable girls to see this.

  11. I really wanted to see this exhibit when it was here. It's creepy and cool all at the same time.

  12. So I went to Arizona State and we have a hand sign, kind of like Texas has. It it s pitchfork. And it is an upright shocker.

    And you'd be surprised how many people don't know what The Shocker is, thankfully.

  13. All you've done is make me want to go see this place... Preferably with you or someone just as funny. Hoop might do. ;)