Thursday, April 09, 2009

Vegetable Vengeance

You often hear of people suffering brain damage and then going into what’s termed a “persistent vegetative state.” Or, as some would more crudely say, these unfortunates become “a dumb vegetable”. Totally unresponsive to outside stimuli, they can only be kept alive (albeit in a purely mechanical sense) via a life-support machine. Pull the plug and the body dies.

This, of course, can lead to all sorts of ethical dilemmas. If no brain function is recorded, should the hospital staff call it a day, turn the machine off, and then harvest the internal organs for use in transplants? Or should we abide by Catholic doctrine which maintains that it would be a sin to do this as “where there’s life, there’s hope”? The controversial Terri Schiavo case in the United States a couple of years ago exemplifies the entrenched positions.

The “don’t pull the plug” brigade usually point to instances (albeit a mere handful) where a patient who’s been proclaimed brain-dead by specialists subsequently awakes and goes on to make a full recovery. Interestingly, the use of music is often a common factor in these cases. That’s to say, friends or members of the family play a recording of some tune or song that was especially significant to the currently-comatose patient, at which point his eyelids flicker and he recovers consciousness.

I’m, of course, delighted when this happens. But is it worth the associated risks, I wonder? If a human whose in an accidental persistent vegetative state can be restored in this way, what would happen if something that’s in a natural persistent vegetative state is exposed to the same music? Suppose there’s a carrot or a cucumber in the room with him, for example? Obviously, there’s a danger that this vegetable could go into a persistent sentient state.

But, as anyone whose ever walked down a city high-street on a Friday evening will know, there’s sentience and then there’s sentience.

If a previously brain-dead “hoodie”, for instance, is restored to (for want of a better word) sentience by playing, say, Eminem, 50 Cent, or James Blunt, or whatever his favourite brand of down-market screeching is, then no-one’s going to notice much difference between the vegetative state and the wakeful one, anyway. So, similarly, a carrot made newly sentient by the same music will have an equal IQ, and can still therefore be peeled , diced, and boiled with relative impunity. But, conversely, if you play it the sort of music that a supremely intelligent, cultured person enjoys - Man of La Mancha and My Fair Lady are two examples I pluck from thin air – then it follows that the carrot, too, will acquire a corresponding level of sentience.

And if the carrot is suddenly made aware that humans have previously puréed its brothers and sisters or mashed them up with turnips, what is its reaction likely to be?

I imagine that it will try to exact vengeance. It will communicate with other examples of edible plant life and go into alliance with them against us. Consequently, bunches of coconuts, previously mere fairground targets for humans, will transform themselves into deadly projectiles, heaving their hairy, now unlovely forms through our windows. Fruit trees will uproot themselves and go hunting in packs, plucking sleeping men and women from their beds and ingesting them as they sleep. And can it be long before currants and raisins emerge from our muesli and consume us at our breakfast tables, like marauding armies of soldier ants?

To guard against this, we should ensure that all vegetables are henceforth blind and deaf, as well as dumb. Let us start by brutally gouging the eyes out of potatoes and hacking off ears of corn. Only then will we sleep soundly in our beds.


Anonymous said...

Do you think mental acuit is linkd to physique?That the runty sub 44 inch chest has a lowere IQ?Would MacEgan have to take Joe to a pub,sit him down while a line of drol ran down Slavkos face?The barmaid looks disguted.A loud voice says "Better off dead".Joe points to barstaff."Fnnr Woman?" "Yes Joe". Then to a westie "Fnnr Doggie?" "Yes Joe" "Eat doggie?" "No Joe,pet the dog,stoke its fur".Slavko smiles beatifically.

Joe Slavko said...

On the contrary, it is the large, lumbering hulks who are regarded as being deficient in the IQ department. I give you, for example, Lennie Small in "Of Mice and Men" and, of course, Mongo in the film, "Blazing Saddles." Clearly, then, it is the person with the 43 inch chest and 32 inch waist who is the intellectual titan.

Anonymous said...

But,as one would say in Hindi "How big is his dhundha"?Small chest have been linked to shall we say small dhundhas.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, should you journey to some far away and highly tropical distination, and should you equally be prepared to spend some time deciphering the drool fragmented ramblings heralding from the skirt wearing yocals - many may insinuate that more people die from falling coconuts than from shark attacks.

This, I have always found fucking obvious. However, after your comments something more sinister is perhaps afoot!

Historically, beach side bars, unsuprisingly, are perched ' on 'the beach'. Many a refreshing cocunut is exploited in the preparation or garnishing of a first quenching coctail. Thus, the average run of the mill coconut can clearly see their kinsmen being disembowelled soley for humanity's hedonistic drink fuelled pleasure.

Consequently, the melicious hairy bastards - (clearly egged on by the anarchy inspiring rhetoric of Bob Marley, Eddie Grant & Kid Creole playing gently in the background) - wait until they see a bar side patron fall asleep in a drunken stupor. They then kamakazi straight for the unsuspecting fucker.

Reggae and vicuious fruit. Its a fucking cocktail for disaster.

Joe Slavko said...

I think what really fucks off the coconuts is when they see people eating Bounty Bars. This is because, not only have their fellow nuts been disembowelled to no useful purpose (at least a Pina Colada can get you pissed), but they've also effectively been made to look gay. It's the exact equivalent of dressing them in one of those leather muir caps and sticking on a handlebar moustache.