The Surgeon

“This is the situation, sir. Your body is quite full of parts, what we call ‘organs.’ We don’t know exactly yet quite what each of them does, but it seems entirely likely that you don’t need them absolutely all. So what I’m going to do for you is to pop one or two of them out, see if we can solve your problem, and if you notice anything you suddenly have trouble with, just let us know.

“Speaking of which, you don’t ride the unicycle at all, do you? It’s just that I was thinking of starting by whipping out your liver, and we do have some evidence, some suggestive evidence—nothing attaining statistical significance, I can assure you—that removal of the liver can interfere quite seriously with unicycling. On the other hand, if during or after the procedure you suddenly start feeling like having a go at it, do let us know—it would be super if we could get some evidence to help us cross that interaction off the list.

“One final thing: if you could try to avoid screaming, that would be greatly appreciated. Don’t get me wrong; usually I enjoy screaming right along with my patients, especially once the blood really gets flowing, but my nurse has recently started to complain of headaches, so we’re trying to keep things a bit quiet this week.”

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