Let’s take a break from politics for a bit. I have a personal question for the web-world today — what sort of sick fuck designed the MRI machine? I’ve been having some back issues recently, and one of the long line of doctors that I’ve visited this week recommended an MRI scan. This was probably right call medically, but the experience left me with deep reservations about the origins and purpose of this terrifying instrument of medical mystery. Was it originally designed as part of a suite of “enhanced interrogation” techniques that the CIA uses?* Because I think they were purposefully trying to make it as uncomfortable as possible. I’m not claustrophobic but that doesn’t mean I want to be inside the shell of a photon torpedo for an hour. Spock didn’t like that shit at the end of Wrath of Khan and he was dead! Much less do I want to do that while a cacophony of weird sounds rings through my skull.
Scene: Early 1990’s. Four men sit around a conference table in a military complex. Strewn about the table are detailed drawings of different iterations of the MRI Project, going all the way back to the Iron Maiden.
Lead researcher: Gentlemen, as you know, we’ve been tasked with making MRI’s even more uncomfortable. Let’s hear some ideas and we’ll go with the best one.
Researcher #1: Are we sure the space is small enough? I’m sure a malnourished four-year old wouldn’t be bothered by the current specs. We could make it more cramped. Plus by attaching a head restraint/mask it would feel like there’s even less space.
Researcher #2: Some of the subjects in early the trials actually fell asleep! We must remove any sort comfort that would allow rest. Maybe a combination of loud sounds produced at different frequencies and rhythms. After all, consistent sounds, even annoying ones, piped in at obnoxious volume levels, might allow the subjects to enter a trance-like state. We mustn’t allow that to happen. Any ideas on what sorts of sounds?
Researcher #3: Well, the studies I’ve conducted show that for maximum annoyance we want to go with a combination of a broken car alarm, sound effects from the classic arcade game Galaga, and every third discordant note from a Sonic Youth concert. Combined with two homeless people smashing trash can lids against the machine, we’ve actually induced psychosis in a small but promising percentage of subjects.
Lead Researcher: Gentleman, these are all good suggestions. But any one on its own won’t quite do it. If we’re really going to take this project to the next level, we’ll have to incorporate ALL of these ideas. Get to work. I want to see designs on my desk by the end of the week.
Two decades later, the cherry on top still applies: the fact that it would take an average radiologist 5-10 minutes to analyze the images, but somehow it takes 24-48 hours for a report to be created and someone call me with the results.
Urge to kill rising!!
*Fun fact: The MRI experience meets at least three of the commonly recognized criteria for “enhanced interrogation” according to the government: noises that keep you awake, stress positions, and confinement to a small space. Go American Healthcare!
Categories: Random Rant