There’s one bodily organ which most of us spend an enormous amount of time fiddling with or talking about – our skin.

We pick it, squeeze it, rub it, scrub it, stretch it, shave it, pluck it, wax it, scratch it, tear it, cut it, stitch it, burn it, colour it. We expose it to a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. We drench it on a daily basis and spend a fortune on fragrances, chemicals and creams for it.

I’ve never been really comfortable in my skin and suspect I’ve spent more than the average amount of time poking around with it – mostly because my skin is ridiculously over-sensitive. It has a blue-white hue which goes pink in the sun, fading to freckles and the dreaded ‘brown spots’, and as for my feet – they blister if they even look at a pair of shoes which they suspect might not be comfortable.

In my teen years I suffered the usual T-zone spots and blackheads and have never quite grown out of them. Over the past couple of years, I’ve also developed a sun allergy which results in me spending most of the summer with a bumpy rash everywhere the sun touches unless I splash on the Factor 50. I’ve got more moles than a dot-to-dot book has dots. I have hyperhidrosis in my hands, resulting in perpetually sweaty palms and a dread of all occasions where I’ll have to shake hands with anyone. Skin-wise, I’m a bit of a mess.

But as I look around me at everyone else’s shades and textures, it does make me wonder about our insides. Is there such variety in any of our internal organs or is one spleen just like another?

3 responses to “Organs

  1. Bet you any money there’s the same uniqueness throughout. For example, as well as one’s own DNA, everyone has a unique collection of retroviruses deeply wired into them (much of it from birth, from one’s mother) – the retroviruses alter gene-expression, meaning that identical twins with different retroviruses would develop differently.

    Your gut is designed to be permanently colonised by a ‘lawn’ of bacteria – this differs between individuals and nations and changes with your dietary habits. The bacteria directly affect your mood and cognition.

    There was a Frenchman (still alive, I think, now very old) who could eat anything. Anything. Like a goat. He ate and aeroplane, glass, aluminium, upholstery and glass and all – digested the lot, apparently without a problem. He started ‘small’ as a kid, somehow realising he could do this and trying out lightbulbs, bicycles and wooden desks. He worked his way up gradually, becoming a professional freak/record-breaker.

    Doctors found that his stomach-lining was waaay thicker than normal.

    Ah, I see he died a couple of years ago. Here’s a very funny (and astonishing) article featuring him:

  2. Monsieur Mange-tout – Quelle horreur!
    I once saw a documentary on him and a few days later I had such a realistic nightmare…

    I got up in the morning, went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror to check my teeth, like you do – only they were all black, worn-down stumps.
    I screamed, only to wake myself up and I was sitting bolt upright in bed screaming when I realised it was all just a hideous dream.

    I was so terrified as I went to the bathroom to check my teeth and was soooooo relieved to find they were normal.

  3. Haha, classic teeth-nightmare with extra real-life inspiration. I hate how convincing those dreams are when you’re having them!

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