When I had my hysterectomy back in 1999, I had them take my appendix out at the same time. My reasoning was simple: I genuinely and sincerely hope that no one will ever have to slice into my body again, so while they were rooting around in there, I figured they better make the most of it. If it were up to me, this was going to be a one way, albeit necessary, trip.
I suppose I come by this attitude honestly. My maternal grandmother used to say, in an ominous voice, “Once they cut you open, it’s alllllll over.” That still sends chills up my spine.
Granted, for her generation, born at the tail end of the 19th century, this was often the case. Unfortunately, because of that she didn’t get some surgery that she really needed. I’m not quite that bad, but I still would much rather remain as intact as possible.
This is why I can’t relate to this body hacking trend. More and more people are getting RFID chips and magnets and the like placed under their skin. And these procedures are often not performed by medical professionals. The opportunities for disaster are many. Infections, rejections, scarring, nerve damage, pain, unintended side effects… so many things can go wrong.
And what is the half-life of these devices? Anyone who has ever owned an iPhone can tell you there’s always going to be that desire for an upgrade. Do you really want to be cut upon again and again and again? How about a nice game of Russian roulette while you’re at it? Not me. No thanks.
And then there are those people into body modification. It must be nice to think your tastes will never change again as long as you live. Sitting up here at age 51, I can assure you that that hasn’t been the case for me. I wouldn’t be caught dead in some of the stuff I used to wear in the 70’s, and I thank God every day that clothing choice isn’t permanent.
And trust me, it’s hard enough to get a date or a job in this world without voluntarily putting yourself out in the fringes of society. I defy you to show me a single CEO of a Fortune 500 company who has had horns implanted, or is sporting a forked tongue or elf ears.
If you want to express your individuality, more power to you. But I strongly suggest that you do it in a way that’s reversible, or at the very least hide-able, because the individual that you are now is most likely not the individual you will be 20 years from now.
So go out and dye your hair purple. Let your freak flag fly. Just make sure that at the end of the day, you can take that flag back down if the spirit moves you. Think of it as a gift that you’re giving to the future you. The gift of not being painted into a corner.