Thinking about Gastric Bypass Surgery and the Apocalypse

Being grossly obese and on the verge of crossing over into a ratio of fat to lean body mass I can only describe as pachydermic, you’d think that the decision to have a gastric bypass would be an easy one. If that’s not enough, there’s always my type II diabetes, my hypertension, my superfluous chin, my heart attack, and, most seriously, the complete impossibility of buttoning the top button of any dress shirt no matter how damn big it is.

Conventional wisdom suggests that a gastric bypass would alleviate many of those issues, and for that reason alone the choice seems like a no-brainer. If you’re a surgeon with a yacht payment and an alimonious ex-spouse or two, it’s even more obvious.

Getting a gastric bypass seems to me like the highest profession of faith in our technology-minded civilization that one can make. In getting a bypass I would be wagering my life on the somewhat shaky assumption that things will go forward as they are now — or even better, toward a Jetsonian ideal of technocracy. The would-be ex-fattie is betting his life that the vitamin slurry he’ll have to take for the rest of his life will always be available, that there will always be an abundance of food for him to under-digest and not metabolize, and that there will always be a gastroenterological surgeon around to fix his sewage lines if any of the jury-rigged plumbing goes bust.

If you watch the evening news (not a recommended activity) or paid attention in history class, then you may have come to suspect that these things are far from assured. The fortune of nations rises and falls, empires wax and wane, and the past is ground into dust under the boot heels of future calamity.

Shit happens.

Of course, being able to get full on a single grape or half of a roasted cockroach may be a good thing, should the apocalypse come upon me in an altered digestive state. I would starve to death or die or malnutrition once my vitamin supplements ran out. However, with a bypass in place, I could very well be free of the discomfort of slow starvation, my soul untainted by violating the taboos of cannibalism because in a moment of weakness I found myself eating my neighbor and his dog.

And then, of course, there is the remote but oddly attractive chance that I might become a flesh-eating zombie.

Don’t make that face. Who hasn’t thought about it?

As a zombie of gastric alteration, I can only assume that my desire to eat of human flesh would be more easily satisfied than that of the average undead. I would eat only a hand where a normal zombie might consume an arm, and so on. However, like most gastric bypass recipients, I would probably have to eat more often, exacerbating the danger of some lean, well-armed survivalist yahoo bashing my brains out with a shovel or ending my undeath with a pickaxe through the eye, or some similar and bloody fate. There’s also the potential guilt of making more zombies than absolutely necessary because I’m not completely consuming what I kill.

So what shall it be? Fat through thick and thin, or thin until things get thick?

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