September 21, 2019

Satirical Semite: Ode to My Silicon Soul

Photo from Flickr

I wanted The Full American Experience so I can understand your ways, your cultural depths and the achievements of your nation-made-great-again. So I visited a plastic surgeon.

Last month in England, I saw my great aunt and uncle, both in their mid-90s and in love after 60 years together. I got the sense that they don’t look at each other and say, “Wow, you are smoking hot,” but see beyond the surface layer. This is not the Los Angeles way.

England is not obsessed with cosmetic dentistry and plastic surgery. It is not better, just different. When an Englishman “gets some work done,” he is usually having a kitchen remodeled or the toilet unblocked. In L.A., it is a whole other ball of silicon.

I had my appointment with the surgeon in Beverly Hills. He is Jewish. What are the chances of finding a Jewish doctor in Los Angeles? Clearly, this was a sign from God.

My skull was scarred after being hit by a car and undergoing two brain surgeries at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. It was a horrible experience because they shaved my hair when I’d just had a great haircut. My potential career as a Vogue model was derailed, although I was more eligible for the cast of “Game of Thrones.”

Surgery left me with a 14-inch scar. Not that I am bragging, but my scar is huge.

Logically, if I got reconstructive surgery elsewhere on my head, then it might distract people from my scar, although this logic may be mildly affected by the now-healed brain damage.

I briefly considered a nose job, to get my nose enlarged so I can look more Jewish.

Jennifer Grey famously got her nose done after “Dirty Dancing.” Could he fuse her trimmings onto my proboscis? It may improve my dancing, nobody would put me in the corner and I’d have the time of my life.

Since “a rising tide lifts all boats,” every L.A. resident maximizes their aesthetic potential. The 28th California constitutional amendment is that “a rising tide lifts all faces, bottoms and other bits.”

The newly-facelifted Los Angeles International Airport terminal now requires visitors to walk through a spray-tanning machine before leaving passport control.

One of my doctors said that something in our human DNA can detect if someone has had cosmetic surgery even if we don’t know what they had done. Subconsciously, we can focus on people’s modifications rather than focus on who they are. There is nothing wrong with cosmetic surgery but it raises a rabbinic question. On seeing beautiful people at the beach, should one say the talmudic “beauty” blessing from Tractate Brachot 58b, “Baruch atah HaShem … shekahcha lo baolamo” (“God … has such things in his universe!”)? If there is a double portion of silicon should one say it twice? Does Rabbi Hillel bless right to left and Rabbi Shammai bless left to right? I am too holy and modest to even think about these things.

My time at Cedars-Sinai had some benefits. Its staff is so beautiful that to get hired there, they are interviewed by HR and a casting director.

Doctors resemble models and nurses are drop-dead gorgeous, although I was grateful not to drop dead during surgery.

The nurses’ beauty literally took my breath away, but possibly because I had a collapsed lung.

I made a new friend at Cedars, who I called “Cathy the Catheter.” She was intense but the discomfort was offset by a lovely 28-year-old, blue-eyed Texan nurse who withdrew the catheter. Who needs JDate when there is ICU?

L.A.’s worst cosmetic adjustments are displayed in shul every Shabbat morning, an 11th plague of men older than 45 who douse their hair in boot polish, unaware the color tone mismatches their beard. 

My cosmetic surgeon gave me wonderful advice: “Grow your hair and focus on inner happiness regardless of looks.” I’ll do that, but when the time comes, I’ll also visit my hairdresser Roxanne to get a smoothly blended tint. Thank God for hairdressers.

Marcus J. Freed is a Los Angeles-based actor. His website is