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  • Dual Personality with a Cilia Twist
  • Leon Morgenstern

In paramecia there's known to exist An inborn ciliary twist Which spirals "left" or spirals "right" And only one way, try as it might; It all depends on the family tree In which direction the twist shall be. Now it happened one night, as it often may When Spring makes everything go "that way" That two paramecia, who were unrelated, Made a mistake and conjugated. Then they divided, making four, And these continued making more Till in a subsequent generation By some genetic aberration There chanced to be born a combination Springing from the above relation: A hybrid who, when he came to light, Had anterior cilia that all went "right" This left the "left" the posterior site. [End Page 441] The anterior cilia didn't mind That the posterior cilia were "left" behind, Nor did the "left" ones care to fight, Knowing that they were far from right. But the poor little hybrid, woe was he, Which of the two was he to be? Neither half to the other gave, Neither would waive the right to wave. The poor little hybrid tried to learn But hardly knew which way to turn. His colleagues passed him in derision, His life was one of indecision. His efforts all were undirected For the poor little thing was unconnected. But every being has a mission Which in paramecia is simply fission. So when our hybrid did divide, And the two little dividends stood side by side, Each gave a turn with all its might The one to the left and the one to the right, And both decided from their papa's plight That it's never too late to set things right . . . or left . . . or both.

Leon Morgenstern
Center for Health Care Ethics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 444 South San Vicente Boulevard, MGB-602, Los Angeles, CA 90048. E-mail: (Deanna Hodges)


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pp. 441-442
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