I saw this article today about 60 heads found at an airport. Supposedly it was part of "an illicit body parts trade." (This begs the question, does one check their severed heads at the counter, or carry them on? But that's another question for another time.) While gruesome, the story reminded me of another severed head story from my past. Before you think I've got some deep, dark past as a mafia hit woman, let me 'splain.
When I was in high school I was the teacher's aide for the school's anatomy and physiology teacher. You really couldn't ask for a better deal than grading papers and cleaning lab trays during first period. What's more, the teacher had also been my field hockey coach, and often "didn't notice" if I was a little late for school. My teacher had managed to procure a bunch of fetal lambs from some farm which she had taken to NIH to have them preserved and stored until the class was ready to dissect them.
One morning, while the girls were stuck in a breast cancer awareness assembly (An assembly which was pretty weird in and of itself. They gave us these little rubber boobs that had "tumors" in them that was supposed to demonstrate something or other.), the boys were given a sneak peak at the lambs. Or at least, they were supposed to be. The day before, our teacher had gone over to NIH to pick up the lambs and was given three big industrial black trashbags. Imagine her surprise when, in the front of the class, she reached in and pulled out, not a lamb, but a severed head. I think the best part of the story is that, undeterred, she kept looking for the lambs in the other trashbags.
I have never been more disappointed to miss a class in my life. While I was feeling up a mini rubber boob, the boys were getting a gander at some poor sap's severed head. Word spread like wildfire throughout the school. The one severed head quickly turned into heads -- with tongues hanging out. If I recall correctly, the school guidance counselors were dispatched to talk to the boys and make sure they weren't too traumatized by the head. Who are we kidding? These were teenage boys . . . they probably had worse growing under their beds.
So when I heard about the 60 heads at the airport today, I had to wonder was someone just blowing it out of proportion? Maybe there was really only one head in a garbage bag. Maybe the people carrying the heads thought they were carrying lambs. Sure, it could be a human body parts trafficking operation, but it could just be an innocent mistake.