Friday, July 20, 2012

Smile! You're the Candid Camera!

Now you can hear with your teeth.  If you need to.   

It’s not for everyone, of course.  But entrepreneurs in medical science have devised a gadget for those who are deaf in only one ear, or “single-side deaf.”    

Aptly named the “SoundBite,” it’s comprised of two transmitters; the one you wear in your deaf ear picks up sound signals on that side and sends them to pre-wired molars on the other side.  Then the molars use the second transmitter to forward the sound signals through the bones in your skull to your hearing ear.  Weird, but miraculous.   

And it gives an entirely new meaning to ‘Radiohead.’ 

I’m a little hung up on how it works if someone knocks on the door on your left and you hear it from the window on your right.  Or what if there’s signal interference from, say, SETI?   

But hey, my grandma’s knee predicted the weather.  I always knew when to bundle up, so who am I to argue?    

I’m not surprised at this latest invention.  After all, it wasn’t that long ago when we saw pictures of lab rats with ears growing out of their backs.  No, not rat ears.  Human ears.  Lab techs cultivated ears for future use in little peripatetic plantations, like rootless, itinerant Christmas tree farms.  Ewww.  

But it’s all for the good.  Burn victims and anyone doing a few rounds with Mike Tyson could benefit. 

It was only a matter of time before other body parts were re-purposed in today’s “green” climate. 

We have more teeth than we need anyway, so why not rethink the whole mastication thing?  Shift it all to the front, rodent style, and set aside a few back teeth and those canines for a quiet day, if you get my meaning.  The Tooth Fairy will have to reinvent himself, but the world’s changing, man.  Adapt or die.   

Horticultural grafts have had us harvesting peaches from apple trees for decades.  The internet is rife with videos of momma dogs raising baby squirrels.  It’s no wonder we accept these kinds of “cross pollination” as routine.   

But carry it to its logical extreme and next thing you know we’ve got Sodom and Gonorrhea.  No, wait…I didn’t mean that.  Spell check is messing with me.  I meant that Biblical thing.  You know - the foundation of Las Vegas?  Sloth and Greed!?  No – Sparkle and Flash!?  Oh forget it. 

I’m ambivalent, that’s all.  

OK look, at my age, I’m all for it, this new-fangled angle on body parts.  Repurpose a tooth?  Sign me up!  Reuse bone marrow?  I’m there.  Refurbish the ragged, the weary, the long-in-the-tooth?  Oh yeah, count me in.   

I’ll tell you what I’d like to see recycled.  Robert Redford.  Like American Pickers with an eye for treasures heaped up in a hoarder’s back bedroom, new age scavengers could pick him up for a song.  Take him back to the shop; sand him down with #3 grit; rub in a honey glaze and finish him off with a coat of satin sealant.  Hollywood could still get a lot of use out of him.  But no!  We’re all too ready to cast off the classics.  

Instead, we have Wayne Newton.  A cautionary tale of misguided science and misspent technology.   

You can see why I’m torn. 

Just watch.  Now that Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp have crossed the threshold from fresh and plump on their way to shriveled and mossy, like so many Marlon Brando’s, they’ll wind up on a Tinsel Town junk pile when they could be aged like a single malt scotch.   

I’m not a Luddite, really.  I love the gadgets and apps.  I’m young.  I’m hip, or hep, or sick or cool.  Whatever.  Heck, I’ll go bionic when the time comes.  Or piecemeal me.  I’m good with it. 

In fact, in the spirit of progress, I offer these visionary suggestions for advances on the dental front.  Why not put our network where our mouth is?  We could link our teeth to Facebook and chatter away.  We can update our status while whitening.  

And why stop there?  Mount MP3 players, digital cameras, Angry Birds apps and home monitoring systems all around the grille. 

We’ll call it a Swiss Army mouth.  Say cheese!