by JAMES C. SALWITZ, MD on November 4th, 2012, PHYSICIAN
In his brilliant 1993 satire Et Tu, Babe, Mark Leyner proposed a new concept in body art, which is the specialty of visceral tattoos. The narrator travels to Mexico where his chest is opened and the insignia of a guy surfing a wave of lava, wearing polka-dotted trunks, is tattooed directly on his heart. The dye used shows up on CT scans and apparently women, especially x-ray technicians, love it. Superficially, a jest at those who indelibly paint their skin, Leynors parody is an allegory to the brutal invasiveness of healthcare. Going even further, we must understand that medicine often causes deep injury beyond that of the flesh. That injury is a tattoo of the mind.