Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Radiation: G-d's Own Video Game

To begin with, nobody actually invented radium. G-d put it on this earth for the Curies to discover, which of course they did. They had not know how toxic it was; only G-d knew that.

Later, Einstein believed he was gazing into "the eye of G-d" when he happened upon e=mc2; maybe he was only gazing into the spectacles of G-d with his own self-congratulatory reflection bouncing back because no doubt G-d already knew the death and destruction that that little formula could bring about. (Poor mortal man was to find out soon enough.)

Anyway therapeutic radiation set-ups are much more preternatural than human in nature. (I.e., like radium and emc2, it seems that radiological equipment was put on this earth by G-d for the smarter of us mortals to discover and the unluckier of us to be zapped with.)The grids, the curves, the faux-planetarium look to the whole thing speak more of G-d than of the medical profession. The rumblings of the gigantic moving devices sound like gently rolling thunder for which one is tempted to say a special prayer; the precisely elegant movements of the grossly inelegant pieces of equipment amaze rather than terrify the poor supine patient.

"What about stray radiation?" the patient asks, clutching her thyroid.

"Isn't any," is the reply of the technician, as she runs out of the treatment room.

"Eyes opened or closed?" one asks beneath the lattice-work mask.

"Doesn't matter," comes the reply from the next room.

So I am on my own in the middle of some Cosmic Fantasy game, where the biggest fantasy of all seems to be that I am actually being treated for cancer.

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