Sunday, February 20, 2005


Not Photoshopped

Is it me, or is there a grip of birth-related miracles in the news?

No doubt, this story takes the birth-day cake: Egyptian doctors successfully remove a second head from a 10-month-old girl in Egypt.

The adorable Manar Maged was born with a rare birth defect known as craniopagus parasiticus, which relates to conjoined twins linked at the skull.

I am having a hard time wrapping my head around these details: apparently, the baby girl had been joined at the cranium to a "parasitic twin" that consisted of a head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth and neck, but no body. According to doctors, the removed second head was capable of smiling and blinking, but not independent life.

My better half (referring to my fiancee, not a second head of mine) and I spent the better half of our weekend thinking about what it would be like to have a second parasitic twin head, which is probably what you're pondering this second. It would be cool, after all, to be able to sing a duet in two-part harmony all by yourself, as well as to always have someone watch your back.

On the downside, you would have a parasitic twin.

But seriously, it would be a tough moral decision for me as to whether to make like Lorena Bobbitt and cut off the second head. This gets into the messy issue of what constitutes a "life." Using my sophomoric logic, if the second head is capable of smiling and blinking, it's capable of having a separate personality. And if it's capable of having a separate personality, it should count as a second "person." No?

Also, if you are religious, would you wonder whether God was trying to send you a message? Perhaps, "this is what you get for being two-faced." Or, alternatively, "this is what you get for light-heartedly blogging about parasitic twins and, by the way, enjoy your eternity in hell."

Ultimately, I would've made the same decision as the parents. But not before thinking about cashing in on some book deals and endorsement opportunities to help pay for the medical bills. ("I've got a heads-ache this big, and it says Excedrin all over them.")

Regardless, I'm glad we have the modern technology to keep a formerly-two-headed baby alive.

* * *

To pay penance for any puns at Ms. Maged's expense, I've donated money in honor of her to the March of Dimes, which works to save babies' lives and eliminate birth defects. I swear I don't mean to be insensitive.