We begin today by quoting a wire story that would be a testament to good old American ingenuity -- if it hadn't happened in Tokyo: "To gain the minimum height requirement to be a Sumo wrestler, a Japanese teenager had six inches of silicone implanted under his scalp. Takeji Harada, 16, who had failed six previous eligibility tests, finally made the grade in June -- thanks to the huge bulge on his head, which added about six inches to his height."
Lesser journalists than I might be tempted to poke fun at a story such as this, failing to give due consideration to unfamiliar cultural imperatives. After all, this story originates in a society that remains largely mysterious to most Westerners, and we must resist the urge to draw unfair and insensitive conclusions. Still, the story does raise several intriguing scientific questions. Such as:
1. What will he wrestle as, "The Magnificent Beldar"?
2. What a putz.
The Post has asked one of its finest illustrators to render an artist's conception of what young Mr. Harada must look like. We print it now in the interest of accuracy.
(No, Harry, I don't believe elective surgery like this is covered in the Clinton health plan.)
Anyway, it's not that I don't feel sympathy for Mr. Harada. I do -- though I must admit that if I had the opportunity to add a few strategic inches to one of my body parts, my head wouldn't be my first option. Note to copy editors: Please delete previous joke so I am not fired. Thank you. The sumo story notes that Mr. Harada's pre-surgery height was only 5 feet 2 inches, and that is hardly his fault -- although I'm wondering what kind of high school guidance counselors they have in Japan; shouldn't somebody have said to him, "Sumo? Jockey!"
But why would there be a height requirement for becoming a sumo wrestler anyway? Please don't tell me there is a deep concern for the health of the wrestlers, because we are talking about men who are literally as fat as cows. They weigh 550 pounds. Their cholesterol count is probably higher than the Nikkei average. If you lined up four 550-pound guys, and three were 5-8 and one was 5-2, do you honestly think anybody would point at the 5-2 guy and say, "Will you get a load of that tub of lard!" So I feel bad that Mr. Harada was discriminated against because of his height.
On the other hand, having six inches of silicone implanted under your scalp is a hilarious act of desperation. The boy can't really believe this operation has made him taller. All that has happened is that some doctor -- and where'd he go to medical school, Kuala LUMPur? Hahahaha -- turned his head into a speed bump! It's sort of like some kid with a D average and 430 combined on his college boards trying to get into Harvard by wearing an Einstein mask.
What's the attraction of being a sumo anyway? As a sports expert, I can attest to the fact that sumo wrestlers are basically hugely fat men with enormous jiggly bodies. They tie their hair into buns, and they wear diapers. Their job consists of consuming disgusting quantities of rich foods and competing in maybe two matches a year, matches lasting, at most, four seconds each, and entailing no risk of injury beyond being belly-bounced rudely on one's behind -- in return for which they receive gargantuan sums of money, and are worshiped as gods incarnate, and must fight off phalanxes of lithe 95-pound vixens who want to have acrobatic sex with them constantly.
I mean, who would want that?
Okay, so young Mr. Harada was definitely motivated. But even if he had his heart set on getting these implants to become a sumo -- "The Silicone Sumo" does have a ring to it -- wouldn't it have been smarter to take the injections in the feet, not the head? If he adds six inches to each foot, he's pretty much living with built-in platform heels, like John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever." Worse comes to worst, if the sumo thing falls through, he can put on a Qiana shirt and get a job as the world's fattest disco dancer. Now, with this conehead, all he can be is a coat rack.
Finally, in the interests of science, and with basic human concern for Mr. Harada, I asked my research team to telephone an expert in the uses of silicone, who revealed many valuable and frightening things. First, silicone injected directly under the skin tends to "migrate," which is to say it kind of redistributes itself all over the body, sometimes in vaguely unnerving and embarrassing manners. Let us just say that one day you can have a large and inviting bosom, and the next day you could have a smaller bosom and, say, a tail. So Mr. Harada might soon find himself too short once again to be a sumo wrestler, but, for example, perfectly designed as a unicorn, or a bean bag chair.
On the positive side, my expert mentioned that among its many uses, silicone is a key ingredient of Simethicone, a drug that reduces one's output of flatulence. I don't know how this might affect Mr. Harada, but considering his girth and diet, surely it can't be bad.