Friday 13th May 2011

by Megan Beth Koester

The only thing sadder than selling yourself to science pre-posthumously is doing so but finding no willing buyers. The salad days in which I merely had to show up, watch Seinfeld episodes in a gigantic magnet and roll out $200 wiser are no more. Gone are the days in which getting injected with radiation robbed me of my self-respect but gave me something much more important, $380 – if these events are any indication, my current going rate for temporary radioactivity is a mere $50.

“Even though the dose of radiation is very low and not one that has been known to cause deleterious effects, you should be aware that not all effects can be predicted. Some effects are clearly related to the dose of radiation, like radiation burns. Other effects like cancer and genetic defects don’t have a worse effect with increasing dosage. However, the probability of their effects goes up with increasing dosage.”

I show up, sit down, and wait for the degradation to commence. I am injected with a radioactive substance and instructed to sit upright in a dark room for forty minutes. I am told to not sleep and to “try not to think of anything,” as doing so will prevent the radiation from evenly electrifying my brain. Telling me not to think at this point, however, is as futile as telling a Catholic woman not to over-reproduce. I think. Oh, how I think.

Once my mockery of a meditation session is complete, a lab-coated lass asks me to urinate and follows me to the restroom; she tells me to “flush the toilet three times so the radiation doesn’t stick to the bowl.” I do so, imagining an enormous, invisible, radioactive turd spiraling down the drain. She then places a sign on the door indicating that no one else is to enter the restroom for an indefinite period of time, as RADIOACTIVITY IS PRESENT. For this additional shaming I am paid no further premium. In her defense, though, no additional premium would be high enough.

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