No, this isn’t a cry for help, merely proof that Isaac Asimov has written about everything.
While browsing through the labyrinth of stacks at the Acorn Bookshop last Friday, I came upon a collection of Asimov’s science essays from about 40 years ago. Typically, Asimov afficiando though I am, I don’t tend to pick up out of date science articles from the 70s. But this collection had an interesting title, The tragedy of the moon, and one article in particular with the unfortunate title I repurposed for today’s post.
Seems Asimov and I both had thyroid trouble, though his tumor was benign and only required the removal of half his thyroid. Here’s the difference forty years makes, apparently his Doctor cut an incision ear to ear, and was poking around for four hours! Asimov’s response to this, largely under the influence of anaesthetic, was the following:
Doctor, Doctor, with green coat,
Doctor, Doctor, cut my throat
And when you’ve cut it, Doctor, then,
Won’t you sew it up again?
Suffice it to say my original reaction, under less dire circumstances (namely a 3 inch cut), was not quite so sanguine.
Asimov continues the article with a fascinating historical tale of the discovery of hormones in the early 20th century, and how they came from research on nerves.
A few tidbits you might enjoy:
– Pavlov, known for his salivating dogs and conditioned responses, got his start, and his Nobel, from nerve research on dogs. These dogs did not make out quite as well as the ones in his later research.
– Thyroid pills, in Asimov’s time anyway, are made from the thyroid glands of slaughtered livestock. If this is still true, I don’t want to know.
– Thyroid means ‘shield-like’.
– Asimov did not care much for Doctors, and Doctors seemed bemused with him.
You can read the rest of the article in the aforementioned book, or the August 1972 issue of F&SF, or possibly on the web. Anyone dug up any good books lately, particulary ones that are personally relevant?