In case you're just joining, let me get you up to speed. On April 1, my left kidney, whose name is Odysseus, will be surgically removed from my body and transplanted into my beautiful mother Ruth. I'll be out of commission one month, maybe two. Friends have been lovely in their support and I look forward to a long stream of pretty ladies drinking champagne at my bedside and bringing me DVDs. I'm doing this whole thing 99% out of love and 1% as a publicity stunt/way to win all future arguments with my mother.
I chose the name Odysseus because Odysseus's greatest act was going home, and it will be my kidney's greatest act, too. Odysseus was a mighty wrestler, sailor, strategist, kvetcher, and he was the fastest runner among the heros of the Iliad. I want my Odysseus to last a long time in the body of my mother, putting her on the rightmost tail of every curve.
People have been asking for the name of the other one, the kidney that's staying with me. Literary friends suggested Penelope, but that doesn't work because both of my kidneys are boys. Plus Odysseus ends up with Penelope in the end, whereas my two kidneys need to be fine bidding each other adieu for this lifetime.
I was thinking about naming my right kidney Menelaus.
Here he is supporting the fallen body of Achilles's beloved Patroclus. Menelaus made it through the war just fine and in the Odyssey we see him in wedded bliss with Helen, like nothing happened. I want my right kidney to be undaunted like that.
But Menelaus was a little too pretentious and Ethan kept insisting, until I eventually agreed, that my right kidney's name was Mike Tyson.
I've always had a soft spot for Iron Mike. The constant head movement, the handspeed, the purity of his biomechanics, the way he mastered the art of winning a fight before it began. Sure he might have bitten off some ears, but he is bipolar, as is my mom. Bipolar people do crazy things, but that doesn't mean you stop loving them.
People don't realize Tyson was a small heavyweight in modern terms, only 5'10" and 215-220 at his peak. My right kidney only weighs a pound, but I've seen it take down kidneys twice its size.
Tyson hosts a new show on Animal Planet about pigeons, and if you think I won't be glued to my computer watching every episode, you don't know me very well. I'm hoping that one day I can meet Mike Tyson and get him to bless my kidney.
In the mean time, Odysseus and Mike Tyson will be enjoying their last few months together snuggled beneath my floating ribs. This weekend, we throw Odysseus a going-away party. After the party I will be renouncing my degenerate lifestyle in preparation for surgery. Stay tuned for dispatches as I check off items on my Kidney Bucket List.