Sunday, October 2, 2011

Human skin wallets?! Where can I get one? (at the mutters museum)

That is all I have from the Mutters Museum of Philadelphia. I have a deep sense that there is a clever parallel between my expectations of my trip to the Mutters museum and what actually happen and the turmoil and upheaval in my life right now -  but I haven't been able to put my finger on quite yet, it keeps slipping right out of my line of sight and, frankly, I'm not looking quite that hard...

Like most people, I LOVE museum gifts shops. LOVE. I go to museum for the information and the art yada yada but my hand sweats in anticipation as soon as I know that next corner is going to smoothly transition me from learning to BUYING. I am not sure why everyone loves a gift shop...but for me its the perfect combination of everything I love to do - learn random shit and buy random shit.

I have never in my life - walked into a museum shop and looked for the exit first, until today. Having just walked away from a glass case that, all the way on the bottom shelf, right under an old tome old illustrations of the inside of women muscular formation...was an abortion pick. And next to that were the forceps with a battering thingy to piece the babies skull.

Pause. Really?

I have always wanted to go to the Mutters museum since I had heard about it in high school. It is about ten blocks from my high school and it was fuel to my fire of medical school. Uh huh - talk about not updating your desires....Since then I'm a completely different person... a person who is uncomfortable with seeing skinned baby bodies and what untreated syphilis does to your skull (it eats it). I am uncomfortable looking at what a bullet does exactly to a brain or seeing the skeleton of a 18th century midget prostitute and the skull of her tiny aborted baby looks like. (They couldn't get the baby out because of the deformity of her pelvis. So they crushed the head and tried to pull it out, when that didn't work they cut it out of her stomach (I'm not sure we would call it a Caesarean section) and then she died three days later from the wound). Love life.

To be honest - I was partially fascinated. Even the arm that had small poxs on it was amazing. I always wondered if it looks like chicken pox (it.does.not. - you have that and you know you are going to die -soon.). But when we got to the basement (I can't fathom why they couldn't put it on the second floor) my stomach got a little queasy. My mind was still there but my body was oooover it. I knew I was uncomfortable but I pushed along because I didn't want to miss anything - and also didn't want to see everything. but I looked anyway...knowing it might have some negative effects on my tummy.

I turned to Adiva and said in a particular voice - eh, I think I'm nauseous. She confirmed her nausea too and with relief I didn't hide we swiftly headed nodded to the swollen colon and marched toward the light. The sunlight on my skin signaled freedom but I dragged along my wonders at what I had seen asI calculated the distance to the closes bar (my moms house, no comment).

For example, who were these people? Were any of them black? How did they get here? Did these folks know what was being done to their bodies? Or to their children's bodies? Were their spirits here, floating around them protectively? or just languishing?  Were they restful or angry? Were they noting my presence to come get me later????

Listen. It was a once in a life time experience. And while I understand that they aren't closing - I will never go back - you can bet your bottom dollar on that Annie.  So uhm, make sure you update your bucket list frequently - it can't be a good thing to go doing things you wanted to do 15 years ago without checking to make sure you still want to do it. Otherwise - you might end up face to face with a dead dried baby tied up on strings.

I mean really. What's wrong with you? ugh.

(Glad I went) chuckle.


  1. once in a lifetime experience- that sums it up. I mean I can get over the skeletons and bones (cause really skulls don't bother me) and i can overlook the brain matter of what could be President Abraham Lincoln after being shot by John Wilkes Boothe (cause I refuse to believe it was his actual brain matter) but what gives me pause is the babies... in jars... I mean 'all in the name of science' is somehow lost in translation- as well as my desire for anything ever residing in a pickle jar.
    I am going to stop thining now- thanks.