I have purported to hate reading, but alas, I have a new book under my nose. It's raising all sorts of questions about me. I can tell. Not only am I reading, but the subject is probably a little taboo, at least to be so proudly sporting it in my arms. The first day I brought it with me to work, I kept looking at the passenger seat in my car with anticipation. I finally gave into the whim like a kid goes for candy. It actually made my drive to work less anxious--anxious in the sense that I have to book it (no pun intended) because I'm late. There was a guy blantantly checking me out, and though normally I would have returned the favor, the book was distracting me. I tried to just read the back, but I quickly started scanning the jacket cover, which led to the introduction of the book. It felt like cheating. It really did, and there was a large part of me that was worried someone would glance over at a stoplight and see the cover featuring a cadaver's feet with a toe tag, perhaps passing judgment on me. It might have been more alarming due to the huge smile across my face.

My book is about the life of cadavers. I spied an excerpt on a website that I often read. They featured a chapter about the body farm, which is actually here in Tennessee. The body farm is a place where researchers study the decay of human composition and metabolic changes with numerous variables (e.g., weather, clothing, etc.). My co-workers and I have had lengthy discussions about the farm, so I was naturally curious. The author writes this book with such wit that it removes the macabre feeling associated with death. In fact, when I had my friends over for dinner, I made one of them read a chapter aloud. I sat on the couch giddy as a school girl barely able to contain my excitement. I kept saying "Oh, a good, funny part is coming up! Listen!" They laughed with me and partly at me.

I've learned some very interesting things. For example, if you're in a plane crash and happen to be over water, you want to go feet first. As for the rest of the tips, I'm keeping those to myself. I would hate to know I gave up my life because some stranger read my journal and muscled me to safety. In these types of situations, it's every man, or woman in this case, for himself.


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