The Karl Veimeier’s novel “The Plastic Surgeon’s Belly Button”. It’s said that if you read it quickly, you can experience muscle spasms and that, hidden among the ordinary ones, there is a magic word capable of giving you a face-lift if you pronounce it out loud. This word was inserted there expressly by the author, a plastic surgeon who had his license withdrawn for enlarging Aaron J. Ziegfield’s breasts without his permission. The two men had had a bitter dispute over a false nose. Ziegfield, also a plastic surgeon, was in favor of creative freedom: he believed that the place of a nose was not necessarily in the middle of the face (which was obviously a mere convention, like wearing a toupee on the head while armpit was a more suitable place). Vermeier abhorred those libertarian ideas. When his license was withdrawn, he embraced the ideology of a theosophical sect of plastic surgeons that dated back to the Paleolithic and whose esoteric knowledge was eloquently summarized in the phrase “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush”.

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