I recently took a general knowledge quiz in which the quizmaster asked, “What is the largest part of the human body?” (And he didn’t mean my ego.)
For some reason the surprising answer popped into my head. Somewhere back in the stream of facts that a person collects over a lifetime, the answers come out of nowhere and you don’t even know how or when you learned them.
The answer this time came from the brain’s version of a storage room up there in the dusty attic of my mind. A computer has a hard drive containing everything you ever learned. Our heads have a soft drive called a brain. They store and retrieve knowledge in similar ways.
I searched my brain attic and found the answer to the question:
Skin. Skin is the largest body organ.
We’ve all done something like that – straining our brains, trying to remember names and faces and especially the name of the girl who jilted you back in junior high when you were 12.
In one sense, our skin is a wrong answer to the quiz. The standard answer to the question of which part of your body is the heaviest could be wrong. When that junior high girl dumped you, your heart was far heavier than your skin.
We can recover from a heavy heart, letting our skin – weighing roughly 20 pounds – resume its rightful place as the heaviest organ.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t totally respect their skins – the waterproof container that holds, keeping us alive in the ancient waters from which we came. We dwell in what amounts to a survival sack – our variation on a fish bowl.
Sadly, we take our skin for granted, using our slightly worn old skins as virtual art galleries displaying something less than masterpieces – pictures that get saggy late in life, freaking out grandchildren.
If that isn’t forgetting the gratitude we owe our skin, even worse, we make it a place to hang earrings and puncture noses and ears and lower lips.
At least some skin art is temporary with the artists smearing gratuitous colors of facial makeup over lips and eyebrows, leaving us able to wipe away any excess.
Now we have a new art-skin alternative: clothing for the face. Scientists have developed a product some are calling “liquid Spanx.” Spanx is clever undies that shape peoples’ bodies in creative ways, minimizing a person’s bulk by squeezing it into something less lumpy.
I’m not intimately familiar with how a person packs and smooths out the hills and valleys of his body, but this new, so-called liquid Spanx involves potions that dry on the face, shrinking and smoothing the skin on your head.
Like it or not, practically everyone my age could use such a device to squeeze and stuff us professionally into our own heavy skins. Gravity eventually wins and we probably need professionals to rearrange us from time to time.
Best of all, we have this method of a new young-looking face smoothed out flat and beautiful The good news is that the smoothing of our skin is far from the permanence of a tattoo. Apparently the product creates a temporary facial skin that a small girl would envy, and each treatment lasts only a day.
That is a massive improvement on the ancient art of tattoos, an initially admirable display of body decorations that eventually become the saggy remnants of once-beautiful skin.
Paintings on a body are at a disadvantage when up against a painting in a museum. Mona Lisa has far more staying power than a painting on a person’s skin because Mona doesn’t shower every day or go outside in the bleaching sun.
Contact Bill Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.