In a recent stunning scientific breakthrough, it was announced that pigs would be genetically grown to provide organs for transplant into humans, thus leading credence to the claims of many women that men are pigs.
Of course, this process, technically known as xenotransplantation, has been around for ages in the minds of the writers of science fiction. The classic 1958-horror film The Fly, starring Vincent Price, featured Mr. Price running around with a comical fly head while his friends tried to dispose of him with a giant fly swatter.
The breakthrough of xenotransplantation has tremendous potential for humor writers and I am poised to take advantage of this situation. For this is a concept that demands the full exploration of all the moral and ethical implications that confront humanity. Then we can make fun of it.
Assuming that someone somewhere will cover the moral and ethical implications, I shall go directly to the fun part.
As I understand the breakthrough, the scientists are talking about the transplanting of internal pig organs into humans, heart-for-heart, liver-for-liver, etc. But I felt that this is far too limiting in its potential for humor (nobody will be able to actually see the result) and we should consider the transplanting and grafting of external animal body parts to humans.
Think of the possibilities and the pretense that we could do away with.
Take politicians. Think how much easier it would be to identify them if they had the eyes of weasels. To further distinguish between Democrats and Republicans, we could graft donkey ears and elephant trunks onto members of each party. This would visually enhance all the braying and trumpeting that takes place on the floor of Congress and in committee rooms.
Dilbert the engineer would finally be able to compete with Zimbu the monkey by having a monkey tail grafted onto his rear end enabling him to type on the keyboard with both hands and manipulate the mouse with his tail. The heads of scientists could be replaced with eggs!
Athletes by far are poised to reap the greatest benefits from this new technology. First off, no longer will they be required to ingest massive quantities of anabolic steroids to enhance their performance. They may, however, develop a taste for hay and other animal feed. Runners and sprinters and dashers with the forelegs of horses would be able to gallop around the track setting new records every year. They would also be able to count to eight by clopping their hooves.
High jumpers with kangaroo legs will be able to leap over bars set at pole vault heights. Swimmers with gills and fins will be able to race for hours underwater. In fact, you may have a hard time coaxing them out of the water. We could eliminate all those annoying bystanders thrusting out cups of water to marathoners with the simple addition of a camel hump onto the runners.
I am giddy at the thought of watching the gyrations of Olympic walkers with six ant legs. Ski jumpers will be able to sail from here to Africa with the grafted webbing found on flying squirrels. Those nutty guys that fly down ice tracks on luges will be able to dispense with their sleds after the skin on their backs has been replaced with sealskin. It goes without saying that marksmen should have the eyes of eagles.
There are, unfortunately, some sports whose athletes will not be able to take advantage of animal parts. Hockey, football and rugby come to mind where there is already the equivalent of gorillas on the ice and on the field.
I am sure that there are Nervous Nellies out there who will stick their ostrich heads in the ground over this exciting scientific development. But I say let’s embrace the change and welcome it with the whoops, cries and howls of the animal kingdom.
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.