Literally Yours is a weekly column from Cape Argus reader Alex Tabisher. He can be contacted on email by [email protected] Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA.
Has it occurred to you what a work of art your body is? Let’s see whether we really appreciate the shape we are in. Start with the eyes. Two moist orbs placed in the front of the face.

They lubricate themselves while they make sense of your world. If they over- lubricate, there is a drain in the ledge of the lower eyelid, which explains why your nose runs when you cry.

The eyes have been called the window of the soul. They show fear, happiness, sadness, love and all the other emotions.

At the other end, consider the big toe. Think what life and balance would be like without this digit that applies crucial pivotal pressure to keep you upright, homo erectus.

Imagine there is no big toe to help you walk in a straight line. And when you read Chinua Achebe again, contextualise the Ibo tradition of chalking the big toe while receiving visitors.

And while we are on digits, consider the thumb. It is our thumbs’ tendency to point away from the other four digits that gives us grip and the power to do other things. Like play the guitar, or thread needles, or knit, or hold a knife and fork.

It makes us superior to our ancestors, the apes.

Now imagine you are eating a raw carrot. The teeth grind the flesh so you can swallow it. It doesn’t quite get the creamy texture of yoghurt.

So the bits of carrot clean the throat as it goes down. Then it provides roughage to grind up food in the stomach. This promotes the easy evacuation of solids.

The other marvels are as stunning, or as unobtrusive as only a genius creator can make them.

Eyebrows strategically keep sweat drops from flooding the eyeballs.

The pinnae of the ear, with its complex fold patterns, will cover a large area if flattened out. If that stuns you, think of the area the brain membrane would cover if it were stretched to smoothness. And the intestines, with its villae that enlarge the digestive area to astonishing proportions. And things that grow, like nails and hair. We feel them and yet there’s no pain when we cut them. And a second set of teeth! Our skin, which keeps germs out and our insides in. The largest organ in the body.

You should be aware of how blessed we are and how we negotiate our hostile environment because of these blessings which we take for granted.

There are rituals for taking care of this masterpiece, things we can do to maximise the animal comforts that go with being homo sapiens.

Think about it and start treating your body a little bit better.

* Literally Yours is a weekly column from Cape Argus reader Alex Tabisher. He can be contacted on email by [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Cape Argus