Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Not-So-Theology of the Body

I spent most of the day at a big gun show in Salt Lake City where I was doing "research" for my present writing project, which happens to involve a lot of guns. So I went and found the makes of guns I was planning to use and lovingly fondled them. I feel more confident now in the guns I've chosen; merely reading their statistics and looking at pictures doesn't quite compare to holding them while their owners scowl suspiciously.

As I usually do whenever I leave the house, I also picked up some books on such subjects as how to effectively shoot someone with a handgun, how to kill a man with your bare hands, and the niceties of guerrilla warfare. I refrained from buying additional books on other subjects currently of interest to me because I think I can get them cheaper elsewhere.

But while I was there, I also picked up one of those essential books that I have for some time been meaning to add to my library--Gray's Anatomy. It's easy to see why it's such a classic, but man, it's intense.

I believe it was Pope who said a poet must be a student of anatomy so he can describe lurid death scenes as accurately as possible. I see, however, that someone like me, who has only a basic anthropological knowledge of osteology, should probably start with a more, shall we say, user-friendly text. Let me give you a sample from Dr. Gray's work:

Its superficial surface is subcutaneous, excepting at its upper part, where it is covered by the Trapezius, and at its insertion, where its tendon is crossed by the axillary vessels and the brachial plexus of nerves. By its deep surface, it is in relation with the Lumbar fascia, the Serratus posticus inferior, the lower external intercostal muscles and ribs, inferior angle of the scapula, Rhomboideus major, Infraspinatus, and Teres major. [p. 313]


Y'know, I'm thinkin' to myself, maybe this should be our text of choice for Lent. I mean, how many people can honestly say they've read through Gray's Anatomy from beginning to end like a novel? And it doesn't count if you just look at the pictures.
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