Corpses, Anatomical Models, Bullet Wounds, and Paintings

Death, disease, tumors, and pustules peppered my family’s dinner conversation as I grew up.

“Pass the salt,” my parents said, as well as: “you wouldn’t believe what I found inside a body today.”

And also: “honey, never go into medicine.”


I only dabble in the macabre on weekends.

My latest morbid jaunt was the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland.


The museum was chock-full of samples, specimens, illustrations, replicas, prototypes, and tools. The most beautiful and horrible things hopscotched across the line between medicine and torture.

Life-sized dolls that look like diseased humans.

Flash cards of skin lesions.

Orderly rows of scissors, saws, syringes, and knives.


Don’t forget tidy kits for exsanguination.


I didn’t become a doctor, but I have a stomach of steel.

Bring on the corpses.

People scatter ashes in Disney parks? Put me in the Haunted Mansion!

As tempting as it is to leave grandparent-dust in the Haunted Mansion forever, you’re not supposed to do that.


People are allegedly leaving their dearly departed in various attractions, including the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It’s A Small World. Special janitors have to come in and handle it. 

Guests are possibly breathing in corpses on certain rides.


I mean, uh, horrible. Just horrible.

There’s absolutely no goth-y part of me that finds that fascinating and a little bit wonderful at all. Nope.

But seriously, I want to go back and keep an eye out for people with family-baggies now.

I’ll take any excuse, really, to hit Disney World again.

I’ve always been a little bit obsessed with Disney. That’s not sarcasm or hipster-ism. (It’s suddenly become cool to like Disney, as the Hot Topic Disney department demonstrates.) I’m not finding it again — because I never grew out of it in the first place.

I’ve never grown out of anything. Naps, cartoons, and stuffed animals are all clutch. I’d probably still suck my thumb if it weren’t for peer pressure when I was seven-ish to quit.

How you reconcile that part of my personality with the part that’s fixated on cremains is up to you.