If My Editor Were a Plastic Surgeon From the Reality TV Show “Botched”

It won’t be pretty, but it will do.

Photo: Ivy Dawned/Flickr

Why don’t you tell me in your own words what brings you in today?

This was your deadline? That I assigned? Oh. Well, let’s go into the exam room and see what we’re dealing with. The paper gown opens in the front. Don’t bother tying it.

Gosh. I can see that right up top, you’ve got this prominent, unsightly growth. It’s kind of a shapeless mass — very hard to miss. What I’ll want to do is take off the whole first two hundred words.

What? No, you won’t get paid for that.

Here’s another problem area. It seems distended but I can’t even make out the structure because there’s something obscuring it. Let me just palpate — is this supposed to be a metaphor? Ah. See, here’s what I was afraid of. You may have been able to dress it up until now, but once we get into the operating room I think we’ll find that the underlying material is completely lifeless.

I’m sorry, no, it’s too late to save it. We’ll have to cut it out entirely.

Moving on to the midsection, it’s hard to understand how these two bits relate to each other. There should be some sort of nice strong connective tissue there, but instead these parts are just floating free. You can tell if you put your fingers right here — feel how instead of any kind of solid transition, it’s just a useless void?

I can fix that but it won’t be simple. I’m going to have to slice into this healthier section — here, hold this mirror — and trim out some more structurally sound material that I can paste in for support.

It will probably be painful, yes.

Be honest: has anyone else had their hands in here? An unlicensed filler injection is never worth the risk. I’ve seen a lot of those, and let me tell you, one day your word count looks nice and plumped up and the next thing you know flesh-eating bacteria are turning everything into putrid black garbage. Talk about a major revision operation.

Oh, someone from your Facebook group might have looked it over, now that you think about it?

Anyway, the biggest issue is that you’ve just got a lot of flab everywhere. You can see how it’s causing this sort of distortion and rippling effect, along with the impression that you’re a lazy imbecile. If you keep crying you’re going to fog up the mirror. The great news is I can remove a lot of that with suction.

This whole lower region obviously needs to be tightened too. What I’d like to try — and this is pretty radical, but bear with me — is to use the extra space I’m creating to haul these sections upward and suture them directly to the buttock. That should create a nice, smooth appearance. It will also give the impression of tone, which you lack naturally.

Don’t worry, I’m going in through the belly button to minimize scarring. No one will be able to tell I wrote a whole new concluding paragraph myself!

Once the swelling goes down I think you’re going to be very pleased with the result. Your friends won’t even recognize you.

Elizabeth Preston lives in Boston and writes about science and other sundries. Her blog, Inkfish, is published by Discover. Follow her on Twitter: @Inkfish