28 May 2005

I had the body of a 2-and-a-half-year-old baby

I'm not necessarily sure why I'm posting this here, since it's currently a top rated Plastic Quick Link, so I figure everyone's probably seen it by now anyway, but still, it's a neat article: Brooke Greenberg is simultaneously 12-years-old and six-months-old.

I have to admit -- my first thought upon reading this article was of the DEVO song referenced in the subject line (erm, if you don't know the song, you probably don't want to; at least, not in reference to this story, since you'd probably smack me upside the head for thinking of it!), but it is a really interesting, and, well, terrifying story.

First, from the point of view of the parents -- while I've never raised a child from infancy (or, well, at all), it doesn't strike me as something that would be terribly pleasant, at least not for 12 years. I don't mean to sound like one of those Purely Anti-Infant Folks or anything, and I know there is a lot of Fun Baby Stuff, too, I'm not sure how it compares to the Icky Baby Stuff as well. Anyway, for me, the fun of Children is when they start coming into their own and making their own decisions and learning about the world and everything. So, I'd be kind of scared to have to take care of an infant for the rest of my life, with no "payoff" of getting to watch them grow and learn and have conversations with them and all that sort of thing.

However, more terrifyingly -- I have to wonder about Brooke herself -- what's this like? Does she still have the short memory that actual infants have -- is everything that blurry collection of snapshots that folks have from when they were a baby? Or, worse -- has her brain been able to learn things? Is she actually a 12-year-old girl trapped in a body without much motor control or the ability to speak or communicate in any way other than "happy/sad/angry"? Does she actually know language? I realize there's no real way to know this -- but I wonder about it all the same.

This kind of thing is squarely in the realm of things that terrifies me. I typically find most Horror Movie stuff kinda silly and stupid -- ghosts/monsters/supernatural baloney ("Supernatural, perhaps... baloney... perhaps not!") don't exist. Psychopaths, of course, do -- and those types are much more scary to me -- though, there's not a very high probability of running into one of those nasty folks (which, of course, is part of the terror), so those ones are scary but not as scary -- but for me, the scariest films are like Memento. It's that that scares the hell out of me. What would that be LIKE, not being able to form any new memories? Or, in this case, not being able to communicate with anyone? One of the most frightening things I'd read was something that I don't know if it's true (and looking at other reports, it doesn't look like it), but if it is -- was that someone in a coma is actually awake and aware of what's going on, they just can't interact with it. (In looking to see if I could find where this came from, I did a search on Google News, and there were a few articles made it sound like it was just a state of unconsciousness, similar to being knocked out prior to surgery, which, I suppose is good news, kinda.) But it's THAT type of thing that is terrifying to me. If they wanted to make a horror movie for me, they wouldn't have a spook who kills people -- it'd be a spook who merely paralyzes folks but makes them acutely aware of everything, just unable to respond.

That's probably the saddest thing about Brooke's story, and I hope, for her sake, that that's not the case. Because that would just be one of the worst things I could imagine. I suppose that's one case where I'd actually envy Leonard Shelby.


Blogger Lee H. said...

I saw this story and was freaked out by it for the same reasons you are... ever seen or read Johnny Got His Gun? Like you, this is one of the few real-life things that totally freaks me out. (Unlike you, I think, I am still a huge fan of B-grade horror flicks, but that's for another post. :D )

I suspect we'll never know what it's like to be Brooke Greenberg.

9:39 PM, May 28, 2005  
Blogger Lee H. said...

I tell you, though, if this story turns out to be a hoax, I will say I had my doubts about this statement:

At one point she was diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of a lemon, but it shrank away of its own accord, and Brooke simply woke up.

As little as I know about medicine, this statement gives me pause for two reasons. 1) A LEMON inside an infant's skull? I had a friend die of a brain tumor, and he was a HUGE man. His tumor only reached the size of a golf ball before it killed him. I know there are a million variables in this kind of thing, so nothing is impossible, but still... but also:

2) I just feel like if ANYBODY had a brain tumor (the size of a lemon) suddenly evaporate like that, we'd have heard this story before now. Why are we hearing about it NOW, instead of when she beat one of the hardest-to-treat cancers out there?

This pushes the story a LITTLE bit past the point where I believe it. (The fact that's it's in a UK paper adds to my doubt, unfortunately.) I'm not saying I absolutely disbelieve it, but... I do wonder about it.

9:46 PM, May 28, 2005  
Blogger Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

I've heard of Johnny Got His Gun, but never seen/read it -- I think it's one of those things that I know would freak me out too much, heh. (Although, for me, I actually do enjoy some of those types of things -- for me, the more visible the zipper is directly proportional to the amount I'll enjoy the film, heh.)

Also -- I think I passed over the Lemon-Sized Tumor That Up And Went Away thing, which, yeah -- does set off the hoax alarms. I suppose it could be possible (maybe not a brain tumor, say, but one of those tumors that's on the outside of the head, like a growth, maybe? But still, the Went-Away part seems a _little_ weird; don't tumors typically either need to be excised if they're malignant (well, and often if they're benign as well, but I think those are sometimes more OK to just let hang out) but in either case, I don't think there's much chance they'll just Go Away, but, hey, disease can be weird sometimes, at least to someone like me without a medical science degree, heh. But yeah -- it would be something you'd expect to hear about. It might be worth it to do a LEXIS/NEXIS search or something (if the tumor thing were true, perhaps it happened relatively early in her life, so the article wouldn't have been nearly as "Wait, she's still physiologically six months old!" And, even then, if that article did mention the still-a-baby thing, it's not unheard of for there to be stories like this after the fact... but, still, it's something that definitely does make it look suspicious.

As for the source -- after consulting with my friend, he said: "The nickname for it is "Daily Torygraph.... It's a Rupert Murdoch paper, IIRC... They're not the Sun or anything like that, but I'd feel more comfortable if there were a second source." So, yeah, I'm thinking it doesn't necessarily look good for being a non-hoax.

Looking around a little bit on Google -- this guy's been kind of following the story, and there's some interesting updates; apparently the story's been appearing in publictions for a while, but recently stuff got yanked from the current wave -- possibly implying it's a hoax. Although (from the same blog), there's this cryptically vague email that says it's not a hoax. And, if, for some reason you don't believe that "I can't tell you why, but this isn't a hoax!" is sufficient proof, there is the final (I guess for now) update from the same blog which goes into slightly more detail (Apparently, the originating station didn't intend to syndicate it... which.. is kind of odd, but...)

But yeah -- it does seem that there's a few posts where it was put up and taken down: For example, this one posts the text of an article that was available here (which just now brings up a "Article Not Available" error. Here's a forum post about it, which seems to kind of copy some of the stuff at the first blog. (Ah, we're getting into real hard proof -- forum posters are _also_ saying it's real!)

Also -- this seems interesting. It's apparently a doctor's blog. In this one he seems to go into a bit of what the agreement stuff that could be maybe keeping the details quiet. This one's about her doctor (who seems to be real -- but it is odd that he hasn't published anything on this case -- but as someone points out, it could be that since she's the only person with it, it's hard for her to be anonymous).

And, probably the most compelling proof, from the same guy's blog, an anonymous post claiming that they work with Brooke's father, and how could anyone think that it was made up?!.

....oddly enough, no one I've seen seems to question the tumor, which is one of the oddest aspects of the story. I did a google search, and the most interesting thing that came up was this (but not for any reasons that have anything to do with the story; it's a soap opera recap site, where there's apparently a Brooke, a Dr. Greenberg, and a tumor). Everything else just seems to be copy/pastes of the original article which just mentions the tumor unquestioningly. So... yeah.

I don't know. I'm sort of becoming inclined to think "Not a Hoax", but I'm thinking it might be one of those "Wait for what Snopes has to say about it" things. I completely skipped over the tumor thing until you pointed it out, and.. yeah, that's... just a little weird.

9:53 AM, May 29, 2005  
Blogger Lee H. said...

VERY interesting links... it looks like we aren't the only ones to wonder about the story itself, even though no one else seems to be discussing the miraculous vanishing tumor. Hmmm...

12:26 PM, May 29, 2005  
Blogger Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

I think people just aren't noticing the tumor thing; I know with me, when I first read the article, my brain was so into the "What? Permababy?" thing, that I didn't really notice anything else, heh. It's sort of the thing where if you want to lie to someone you slip it in with something big-and-fantastic. I mean -- I'm not sure I would have noticed, say, in that article if they had a line about, I don't know, her eating a full-grown cat once..8)

8:23 PM, May 29, 2005  

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