Begin professional report and opinion here:
- Insofar as we are able to be objective, here follows a brief physical review of the subject, Christopher Eric Hitchens, at the time of this writing enjoying his 59th summer. Obstacles to the continuance of such enjoyment may be listed in no especial order as follows.
The subject has good genes on both sides of his family and has been mercilessly exploiting this inherited advantage for some decades. An initial review of his facial features, as glimpsed in the shaving mirror, reveals relatively few lines or wrinkles and only a respectable minimum of secondary or tertiary chins. However, this may be because the skin is so tightly stretched by the generally porpoise-like condition of the body when considered—which with a shudder it must be—as a whole. Moreover, the fabled blue eyes and long, curled eyelashes (for some years the toast of both sexes on five continents) are now somewhat obscured by the ravages of rosacea and blepharitis, which on certain days lend a flaky aspect to the picture and at other times give the regrettable impression of a visage that is actually crumbling to powder like a dandruffed scalp. It may be for this reason that the subject prefers to undertake the morning shave through a cloud of blue cigarette smoke that wreathes the scene in the fumes of illusion. (N.B.: This would not altogether account for the subject’s habit of smoking in the shower.)
View a slide show of Hitchens's search for self-improvement.
The fanglike teeth are what is sometimes called “British”: sturdy, if unevenly spaced, and have turned an alarming shade of yellow and brown, attributable perhaps to strong coffee as well as to nicotine, Pinot Noir, and other potations.
Proceeding south and passing over an almost vanished neck that cannot bear the strain of a fastened top button or the constriction of a tie, we come to a thickly furred chest that, together with a layer of flab, allows the subject to face winter conditions with an almost ursine insouciance. The upper part of this chest, however, has slid deplorably down to the mezzanine floor, and it is our opinion that without his extraordinary genital endowment the subject would have a hard time finding the damn thing, let alone glimpsing it from above.
Matters are hardly improved on the lower slopes, which feature a somewhat grotesque combination of plump thighs and skinny shins, the arduous descent culminating in feet which are at once much too short and a good deal too chunky. This combination, of ratlike claws and pachydermatous-size insteps, causes the subject to be very cautious about where, and indeed when, he takes off his shoes. There have been unconfirmed reports of popular protest whenever and wherever he does this. Nor do his hands, at the same time very small and very puffy, give any support to the view that the human species does not have a common ancestor with the less advanced species of ape. The nails on the hands are gnawed, and the nails on the feet are claw-like and beginning to curl in a Howard Hughes fashion (perhaps because the subject displays such a marked reluctance to involve himself in any activity that may involve bending).
Viewed from the front when clothed, the subject resembles a burst horsehair sofa cushion or (in the opinion of one of us) a condom hastily stuffed with an old sock. The side perspective is that of an avocado pear and, on certain mornings, an avocado pear that retains nothing of nutritious value but its tinge of alligator green. (N.B.: The bumps and scales of this famous delicacy are sometimes visible and palpable as well.) Of the rear view, all that need be said is that it conforms to the preceding, though with considerably less excuse as well as with mercifully less fur. Seen from directly above, the subject has a little more protective cover than some males of his age, but this threatens to become a pile of tobacco-colored strands clumsily coated onto an admittedly large skull. At all times, the subject gives off a scent that resembles that of an illegal assembly, either of people or of materials, in the hog wallows of Tennessee or in the more remote and primitive islands of Scotland. He becomes defensive, and sometimes aggressive, when asked about the source of this effluvium. It is considered by me, and by the rest of this committee, and by the subject’s few remaining friends and surviving family, a medical mystery that he can still perform what he persists in referring to as his “job.”