I’ve been reading Bill Bryson’s “The Body: A Guide for Occupants” recently and I’ve come to appreciate what a wonderful and complex construction of engineering, plumbing, dynamics and signalling the human body is and, at the same time, how little we understand of its workings.
Consider, for example, that you are composed of billions of atoms, each and every one of them completely inert and lifeless, yet they combine to make you you. Just how, exactly?
“Fuck knows” I say.
But it set me to thinking about how I’d reconfigure the human form if we had to start again. Now, forgive me if I seem a little vain in trying to improve on Nature or God or Evolution or whatever, but it seems to me there are one or two design faults which could be engineered out.
Take bollocks, for example. They swing around outside the confines of the rest of me, vulnerable to the slightest tap resulting in nauseous and excruciating pain, not to mention risking their contribution to species’ sole imperative – procreation.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why. The theory is that sperm enjoy the coolness of dangling in a bag in the breeze rather than overheating indoors. But we don’t build cars with the engine outside; rather we design a cooling system under the bonnet. And I think if Henry Ford had been around on the sixth day he’s have respectfully suggested something similar. And probably side lights too.
And gills. Why have we evolved these away? Surely the capacity to breathe under water should have come as standard rather than requiring the invention of SCUBA? It’s as though Nature thought, “I’ll give these clever bastards another way to die called drowning”. And wings for that matter.
Yes, I’m quietly confident the father-in-law and me could have come up with something better.