the marquisometer

Ever since the drug Botuxedo was approved for wrinkle-reduction, people far and wide have opted for it. The drug paralyzes the musculature beneath the skin, and in the process disables the facial movement by which wrinkles are created. The result, many say, is a face clear, smooth and years younger in appearance. The only downside is that the paralyzed muscles render the facial expressions of the patient rather limited. This has especially been a hazard among movie stars and other celebrities who tend to traffic in facial facility in their various trades.

But the predicament exists on the everyday level, too. One such local recipient of Botuxedo, Noblesville resident Deloris (last name withheld), says that her lack of facial expression nearly cost her her marriage.

"My husband no longer could tell what I was thinking," Deloris recalls. "I would be mad as hell at him, and he would just be staring at me, uncomprehendingly. I thought, "What an insensitive jackass; what a lout," but he just kept looking at me like he was staring at the TV."

After a lengthy discussion, Ralph, Deloris" husband, revealed that he had no idea she was mad at him. "She just was staring at me like I was a wall or a tree or something inanimate. So I just figured I"d BE a tree or a wall and not even react to her. Boy was that a bad idea."

Once the otherwise happily-married couple got their communication in gear, they still had to confront Deloris" lack of facial movement. Ralph says, "It was like looking at a dead person, except she would occasionally blink or talk."

Local scientists may be able to help. Dr. Pasternak Pasternuk, who teaches research medicine at IUPUIUPUI, has developed what he calls a "Marquisometer" (MAR keys AH mee ter). He convinced Deloris that what she needed was a Marquisometer to solve her Botuxedo-created confusion.

"Basically," Pasternuk explains, "the Marquisometer works as a kind of communication screen so that your partner knows what you"re feeling. It"s that simple."

Simple, indeed. A simple, out-patient surgery procedure implants a small, 2-inch-by-1-inch rectangle across your forehead. The back of the screen is a sensor wired directly to your hippopotacampus, the brain"s center for feelings. If you"re happy, the Marquisometer senses it and the word "happy" appears on the screen.

"If Deloris is mad at Ralph," Pasternuk explains, "then the "anger" word is displayed on the marquis. In effect, you can"t be misunderstood, because your feelings are as plain as day."

What if one feels two emotions, perhaps even completely conflicting ones? Pasternuk assures us that there is room on the screen "for both emotions. Say, you"re happy and you"re sad; the screen will say "happy/sad." It"s so simple; the best ideas are."

Deloris and Ralph agree. Once Deloris had the Marquisometer implanted, their communications improved dramatically. So much so, Deloris is encouraging Ralph to get one, too - even though he hasn"t used Botuxedo. What does Ralph say?

"I don"t know about that. Frankly, I"m never sure what I"m feeling anyway. It"s not like I"m dying to know, either."

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