Face to Face

June 11, 2011

A few years ago I wrote here about a work colleague who disclosed that he had a chimpanzee. I remembered his disclosure while reading about a chimp ripping off a Connecticut woman’s hands and much of her face. Now comes news that the woman has undergone a successful face transplant, the tenth such surgery in the world. The odds are minute that Charla Nash will cross paths with someone who knew the donor, but as these remarkable surgeries become commonplace, such encounters are inevitable. Not that a person’s face fitted over the bones — and personality — of another produces an exact duplicate. Still, the emotional response will be different than when spotting someone who looks like, even in a small way, a deceased loved one. Several times I’ve seen women who remind me of my mother, bittersweet coincidences for sure. Imagine the reaction if I saw her unmistakable face, alive and animated long after her death? And what if I saw her looking at me?