So as you may know, I went to Body Worlds 3 on Friday night. I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit, although there were certain elements that disturbed me. The plasification process gives everything a sort of shiny, fabricated look, but if you move in closer, you can find little remnants of human imperfection and realism. Crooked teeth. Slightly dirty toenails. Nicotine-speckled lungs.
About fifteen minutes into the show, Mr. Wonderful and I came upon a hurdler. (They positioned all of the bodies in athletic stances.) We walked around to the back and Mr. W pointed to a small protrusion coming out of the tailbone area of the cadaver. “What is that? Is that…a...a butthole?” I couldn’t help myself. “Smell it,” I whispered to him and made both of us crack up.
Mr. W’s laughter stopped, however, when we noticed that the hurdler’s twig and berries were still attached. Well, sort of. See, the twig had been sliced down the middle. It seriously looked like a banana split. Mr. W got woozy and had to wander over to the hip and knee display to do some yoga breathing. But I, of course, had to examine it closely for a few more minutes. And let me tell you, I had no idea that the berries hung so close to the front and sides of the twig. Seriously, they’re not at all where they look like they should be when you remove someone’s skin. Not that I’ve ever seen a naked man before, Mom. Anyway…
There were some really interesting displays that showcased only the blood vessels. I was surprised at how few vessels you actually have on your shins and the top of your head. I guess because it’s mostly bone there? Not surprisingly, there were a hella lotta vessels on the naked man specimen….
The most interesting part of the exhibit, though, was the segment containing unborn babies. I was worried about this section—unsure if it would permanently scar me. But it was fascinating. There were embryos at 5, 6, 7 and 8 weeks, and fetuses ranging from I think 3 – 7 months. The embryos almost looked like little lizards or aliens. The fetuses, obviously, were perfect little babies. I think I mentally detached a bit and pretended they weren’t real. But I spent a lot of time looking at each one.
We saw human hearts and stretched out digestive tracts. The intestines looked like uncooked sausage, which may keep me from ever eating sausage again (yeah, I know its made with intestines, but it’s one of those things I just don’t like to think about…like where my hamburger is coming from). There were full-body slices of an obese man that made me want to curb my cheese consumption. And the lung samples made me never want to set foot near a smoker again.
The last room contained a full ostrich and enormous giraffe plastinate. Of course, I couldn’t resist looking to see whether the giraffe butt and bits were included…and let me tell you they were a great big (yikesies!) end to the show…