The scene: breakfast in the kitchen of the Common Household, on a day not long ago...
Husband: Okay! Today I’m attending the Anatomy and Physiology class! Do you think that the students will be able to guess that I’m not a student?
Me (lying): Sure. You’re not wearing a tie, so they’ll never guess.
Husband: (with mounting enthusiasm): What are the eleven systems that allow the human body to work?
Me: The Parkway North, the Parkway East, the Parkway West, the Red Belt, Orange Belt, Yellow Belt…
Husband: I bet there is one that you won’t be able to think of!
Me (thinking of what is the most obscure one, with the biggest medical-sounding term): Okay, I’ve got one. The endocrine system.
Husband (unimpressed by my ability to come up with that three-syllable word): Yes…. And?
Me: The ethical system?
Me (testing my own human body to see what’s working at the moment): Let’s see. Breathing.
Husband: Yes, the respiratory system.
Me (taking another spoonful of cereal): Eating.
Husband: Yes, the digestive system.
Me (having drunk a giant mug of tea, thinking of a system that is very important to me): I know! The bladder!
Husband: Isn’t that part of the digestive system? (We found out later that it isn’t. Husband is a neurobiologist, and isn’t a post-menopausal woman, so he doesn’t think about the bladderly part of the body very often.)
Me: Hmmm. Ah, the nerves.
Husband: The nervous system.
Me (beginning to notice that he is turning my perfectly acceptable words into more impressive sounding anatomical vocabulary. Because that's the job of a professor.): The muscles? The bones?
Husband: Yes, the muscular system and the skeletal system. That’s six.
Me: You mean there are seven more I haven’t thought of?! (Hey, it was too early for arithmetic. Grasping at straws, I say this:) Okay, the fingernail system.
Husband: Well… That’s part of one of the systems.
Me: Hair? No, I know, the skin!
Husband: Yes. The skin, fingernails, and hair are all part of the integumentary system.
Me (ignoring his use of a word I have never heard): How about the brain? No that’s part of the neural system. I give up. I can’t think of the rest.
Husband: There’s the cardiovascular system.
Me (looking down at my cereal with shame at not having thought of that first): Well, that’s important.
Husband: The lymphatic system. (looking online) Oh, you were right. The urinary system is separate from the digestive system. Look, here’s a diagram of the lymphatic system!
Me (noticing an undesirable resemblance between my bowl of cereal and the photo on the screen): Hey, I am trying to eat my breakfast here.
Husband: The last one is the reproductive system!
Me (hoping he will not show me pictures): I’m sorry. That system has shut down. It is no longer functioning.
* * * * * * *
I guess it’s good to have an enthusiastic professor, even if he’s just attending class, not teaching it. But really, during my breakfast? I thought that with no kids around, I wouldn't have to endure talking about icky topics while eating.
|A likeness of the human body that has none of the 11 systems.|