Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Perspectives in Proctology

gris for a proctological giant
What does it mean to be a giant in proctology? A proctological giant? Of course there are people who have made huge contributions to disciplines which don’t have the glamour of neuroscience or law or astrophysics. Not everyone can be a Oliver Wendell Holmes whose decision in “Schenck v. United States” tested the limits of free expression or a Frankfurter who could make his mark in “Brown v. Board of Education." But there are the eminence grises who are responsible for less heralded frankfurters such as the kind which are masticated. Here is where the travails of those unsung heroes, whose plastic gloves have gone where angels fear to tread, begin. You won’t find a famous proctologist popularizing the field in the way Oliver Sacks did neurology in his contributions to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. You are not going to find too many readers of Conde Nast publications who want to know about the way a human being can compensate for abnormalities of the rectum. Dr. Timothy Leary became the poster child for LSD as did Jonas Salk for the vaccine that was named after him. But you are not going to find too many posters or centerfolds of proctological giants. Charmin is not seeking to get a proctologist to provide a superstar endorsement for its product. The famous heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard leaped from the OR to international high society, but the anal sphincter doesn’t produce such celebrity. Like the highly secretive intelligence operatives whose existence is not even recognized by the government, proctologists work to find solutions to those kinds of problems that occur at the end of food’s journey through the body. Nobody would want that journey to wind up in a cul de sac. Would they? Yet few want to talk about much less attend to these matters. Brave proctologists like Chilean miners descend each day into darkness, sacrificing their lives for the sake of assholes.

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