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tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

March 14, 2011

liver, like in one who lives?

The liver performs a vital detoxification function in the human body. It’s like the filter on your work computer and your water faucet rolled into one keeping all kinds of toxins from hanging around and “shittin’ up” the place. Ever try to deliver a sliver of liver in a flivver? Quiver inhibiter shimmers inna minivan.

If there were an authorial liver on this post, that would have been filtered out – thus illustrating the importance of this hidden organ.

Are you with me? I was with my girlfriend – work related dinner at a fancy hotel downtown. The Palace. Big chandeliers, wide carpeted hallways. Open bar. Who has an open bar at a liver research fundraiser? The type of function where there’s a sit down dinner of salmon over rice pilaf that’s been waiting for us in a warmer since I was home picking out shoes. I won’t name names.

My date was late so I hung back after the bar closed with a glass of white wine…heard its great with fish. I got talking with a guy who called himself a volunteer doorman. Turns out he’d received a liver through the organization hosting the fund raiser. I dropped my glass.

“My body rejected my own liver, it happens occasionally. In my late twenties it finally gave out, my brother in law donated 70% of his. The liver and the skin are the only organs that can regenerate themselves. His grew back inside him, and it grew back inside of me,” he said.

I needed another drink but my broken glass was at my feet. How does a liver know when to stop growing inside of you? How much damage can you cause before it gets mad and quits? And if it keeps regenerating, why do you need your brother in law’s?

“Scar tissue builds up and blood can’t flow through, which is cirrhosis. Then it stops regenerating,” he explained. Then you get a new one. Or you die. 1 in 5 folks waiting for a new one die before a spare comes on the market.

The volunteer doorman with a stranger’s liver didn’t tell me that last bit, the giant powerpoint presentation did, while dessert and coffee were served. Did you know a skin cell can be reverted back to a stem cell? I did, by the end of my three berry fruit tart.

The neighborhood lost a fixture to liver failure this week as well, which is odd timing. He was only 44, liked to hang around the bar and shoot pool but didn’t drink. So, without really having known him, I’d still like to wish him well, where ever he is now.


  1. If everyone had the skills to cut out half their liver every once in a while, we could feed the world!

    Comment by Lyle_S — March 15, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  2. Good post

    Comment by ken — March 16, 2011 @ 1:44 am

  3. Let’s eat skin!

    Comment by Rolston — March 16, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

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