A friend of mine just went to the hospital with stomach pains and what could turn out to be appendicitis. He’s not sure yet, they’re doing checks and such. There’s no mortal danger or anything, but it did get me thinking about this part of the human body. I mean it’s basically useless, right? Serves no purpose.

According to wikipedia.com, “hypothesized functions for the appendix include lymphatic, exocrine, endocrine, and neuromuscular. However, most physicians and scientists believe the appendix lacks significant function, and that it exists primarily as a vestigial remnant of the larger cellulose-digesting cecum found in our herbivorous ancestors.”

(See innards diagram here.)

So basically, we don’t need it, which is why so many people end up getting it removed without incident if problems occur. It’s funny, cause I’ve never really known what the appendix looks like. I sort of thought it might be like a liver or a kidney. Something big and meaty. Turns out it’s just a little tube about 10 centimeters long. But yet when that thing bursts, look out.

So I find it funny that the section of books containing additional information is also called an appendix. Is this because it shares the burden of uselessness with its brother, the anatomical appendix? I suppose if it were important it’d be called a kidney, or an anus, or something that serves an actual purpose. Like a liver. But I suppose that with the amount of alcoholics there are in literature, calling it a liver would ultimately cause more work than it’d be worth, what with all the transplants they’d have to do. Reprinting costs would be astronomical.

Alright, so I don’t really feel that a given book’s appendix is useless. I’ve read through an appendix here or there. And I also realize that appendix literally means an appendage. So the appendix of a book is something that is an extention of that book. Just like the anatomical appendix is an extension of the cecum which is part of the large intestine. Hence, appendix is a suitable name for both entities.

The real question now is this, would appendix make a good name for a child?

“Hey, there! These are my kids. Appendix Joseph, Colon Marie, and Anterior Superior Iliac Spine. Say hi, kids!”

Sounds good to me.

One thought on “The appendix: A worthless part of a book as well as the human body.

  1. Hey.. are you a med student or connected to medicine in any way? How did you know bout the ‘Anterior Superior Iliac Spine’ .. I wonder.. 🙂

    I’m a med student by the way…

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