Monday, April 7, 2014


People tend to laugh at the oxymoronic title of the book. I'd have to admit it's probably more moronic than oxi. But some readers were offended by my attempt at gallows humor. I agree that one should not speak ill of-- or poke  fun at -- the dead. Not because it would hurt their feelings -- how would they know?  But my title is stupid, snarky and insensitive for people who may be morning the loss of a loved one. For that I sincerely apologize.

But let's not give short shrift to cadavers. One can imagine that some dead people, if they could talk, would say  it's an honor to serve humanity by promoting the advancement of Medical Science as a cadaver, no matter how icky it sounds.

My late father was  the strongest critic of the use of  "cadaver" in the title. He found it repulsive. He was a medical doctor who saw plenty of cadavers in his five-decade career as a clinician and medical school professor .

But he didn't get the metaphor: A corpse is grist for an autopsy or a forensic examination on its way to the grave. A cadaver, on the  other hand, is the subject of intense scrutiny and pedagogical examination without which medical students doing their surgical training would be cutting into your duodenum instead of your prostate gland.  Without the study of cadavers, Leonardo De Vinci would have been drawing stick figures. A cadaver can bring death back to life because it  reveals t secrets that wouldn't have mattered in a routine autopsy. And here's the leap of faith: The cadaver in the title is about introspection, not shock value.

I lied to my father.   I told him My Life as a Cadaver was just the "working title"  and that I'd come up with something less ghoulish as the book progressed. Sometimes you have to defy the good advice you get from a parent. And you should never reveal information about a literary endeavor to family and friends until it's published. Keep them guessing until they read it, and then you hear some pretty funny interpretations.

My 90-year-old mother said she believed the character Christina was based on the bubble-headed exotic dancer with whom I had a foolish  relationship in the distant past. Sorry, Mom.  My Cadaver's Christina is based on a ravishing red-headed Polish astro-physicist  I met years ago on a trek up Mt.  Kilimanjaro. It was a tangled affair . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment