Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mutti, mutti!

What do Siamese twins, fetuses with no brains, and an enormous jar of kidney stones have in common?

If you guessed "being awesome," you are correct.  However, if you guessed "they are all in the Mutter Museum," you would also be correct.  (Actually, probably if you guessed "the beginning of a potentially hilarious joke involving a rabbi," you might also be right, in which case I would like to know how the rest of the joke goes.)

The only thing I wanted to do in Philadelphia, other than visit my friend Felix, was go to the Mutter Museum.  Since I'm staying with Felix, that part was already out of the way, so today we took the commuter rail to the museum, whose motto is "Disturbingly Informative."

It's hard to find the museum, especially when you are jumping up and down with the glee of an excited child offered an ice cream cone covered with gummi bears.  You could have asked me if I wanted a million dollars, and I would have said, "Yeah, after I go to the Mutter Museum."

The museum is in the College of Physicians, thereby adding a tarnished patina of respectability to their extremely strange stuff.  The first thing we noticed upon entering was the surprisingly hilarious door guard.  The second thing we noticed was how many people were there a) on dates, and b) with their children.

Now, I would love to go to the museum on a date.  That would be a great date for me.  The only thing on a par with it would be going to the Creation Museum and then fornicating in the lobby.  But bringing your kids to a land where every single case shows in graphic detail what happens if syphilis goes unchecked?  (Turns out: your bits rot and fall off.)  Maybe it's actually a pretty good lesson ("Don't have sex!  And stay in school!") but I think if I were six and staring at a set of preserved twins conjoined at the face, I might have nightmares about it later.  Poor Felix probably will have nightmares about it later.  He had to leave for a breather halfway through.

I was thoroughly overcome with the glory.  There were enormous tumors in jars.  There were lungs with tuberculosis and lungs with emphysema.  There was a set of miscarried triplets.  There was The World's Biggest Colon.  There was the Soap Lady, whose remains spontaneously underwent a chemical process that turned her to soap underground.  She looks like she's shrieking.  Or possibly ready for a little "fun."

There was a whole section on infectious diseases, after which I felt guilty about not continuing my dose of antibiotics, because it counts as "antibiotic abuse."  There was a tray full of tools used for crushing the heads of babies to save the mother back in the nineteenth century, and pessaries, and specula.  In fact, we were eyeing the case of pessaries and specula when a small child came up to it and loudly asked his father, "What are these, Daddy?"  Felix and I started giggling.

"They're things doctors use," daddy said, with a hint of laughter in his voice.  "Let's go downstairs."

1 comment:

erin said...

Yay giant colon. And conjoined fetuses. I was there several years ago; I remember one of our group had to take a breather halfway through but I don't remember who it was.

While I did not go there on a date (it was more like "girls' road trip"), my old college flame took me on our first "date" to see the preserved organs in the basement of the anatomy building at the University of Rochester. Almost as cool. I don't remember if we had dinner afterward.