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An Introduction to Pocketing

Human beings have been decorating, playing with, and experimenting
on their bodies for the three million years we have existed. That's
a hell of a lot of time; most of us cannot really even grasp just
how much. Jesus walked the Earth a million seconds ago, just 2000
years; three million years is just over one hundred and forty-nine
million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and
ninety-nine TIMES that.

The point? With that much time to figure it out (and probably not
a hell of a lot else to do for much of it), odds are there's not
going to be too much humans have not already tried in body modification.
Primitive people didn't live in fear of an infection, or a migration,
or scarring, apart from the fact that they wanted the piercing to
heal. They put their faith in their spirits, and took their chances.
It is only recently that this has changed, that we are not expected to
be, indeed cannot be, our physical selves. Consequently, the birth of
something new, especially something truly striking such as the Erl
piercing, is not likely to be recognized for what it is: A major event
in anthropological history.

If all goes as hypothesized, it has happened. I call it pocketing.

Pocketing may be the next wave of body modification, and will
certainly be the means to achieve the full-body aesthetic so many
of us have dreamed of. Imagine full forehead plates of vertebra, or
kanji, or a fineline Celtic cross. Now imagine them in polished steel,
or gold, or anodized purple titanium: WORN EXTERNALLY. Now imagine all
of these being fully interchangeable with the existing points of
anchor.

External fans of straight rods on either side of the neck, or lining
the collarbones, or reverse surface to surface: Picture a ladder three
rungs high of external Madisons that heal without trouble, without even
needing to be built in any certain way. In the same way a piercing works
best through a fold, this will best utilize depressions and valleys.

Truly safe hybrids of percutaneous implants will be a reality as of this
as well. Imagine having a jewel, pendant, charm, symbol, whatever
wherever you want it, with no real trouble healing and no evidence of
how it got there.

I'm not even getting started yet... It's also fully concealable, EASILY.
Jewelry is one piece: Nothing to unscrew, nothing to bend, no tapers,
just three seconds or so and you're on your way. Best of all, it's
minimally invasive, cheap, not terribly difficult to perform, will have
a very minimal signature should the time come to part with it, and is
much harder to snag, catch, or pull than standard jewelry.

I'll try to paint a word picture of what this is...

A piercing needle cuts a half-circle shaped incision as it goes in. If
the bezel is facing towards the piercer, the cuts look like (), not
really a good thing because most piercings (surface to surface
especially) have to pull in like )( to heal. It got me thinking...

Instead of running jewelry under the skin between incision points, why
not reverse it so that the bar is above the skin between the points and
the ends are below the skin anywhere from 1/4" to 3/8" on either side?
If the ends of the rod were flattened into thin, slightly triangular
washers and the transitions bent to accommodate the step up from below
the skin's surface to above, all the body has to do is heal a pocket
around the ends and you've got a pretty amazing set of possibilities in
front of you. As long as the rod itself is contoured to the surface of
the body part, there should be absolutely no upward pressure to push the
jewelry out. There's plenty of jewelry surface (width wise) to disperse
any stress, and yet not a lot of total surface area to heal around
because of the relatively short lengths of the channels. Best of all,
unlike percutaneous implants like Steve Haworth's one-time-deal
head spikes, there's a good-sized, easily cleanable entrance/exit to
prevent buildup of secretions, dead skin, oils, soap, and shampoo
residue, etc. and the entire piece comes out simply by stretching
the skin on either side outward and slipping one end out at a time.
This is a major concern both during healing and afterwards, as the
inability to do so will almost guarantee problems at some point. Which
brings me to the why this works.

When faced with a foreign object, the body has only a few choices as to
what it can do. The first is to simply spit it out. If the object is too
big or entrenched to do so, it will encapsulate it with granulation
tissue and wall it off from the rest of the body as best it can. This
works, provided the object is relatively inert and surface enough not to
impede anything functionally within the body. This is what piercings and
subcutaneous implants are. Or, if the foreign object is organic in nature
and survives the spitting attempts of the body, the body will grow into
it and break it down over time. Within the scope of what can be done
outside the laboratory these are the choices.

Within the laboratory, bonding to a specialized arrangement of various
specialty biomaterials with specific porosities and finishes can occur
by ingrowth under incredibly complicated conditions. There's a relevance
I haven't the time to go into yet, but there will be more on this
later.

Pocketing is walling off, and therefore not a true percutaneous implant
even though it does appear to be half-in, half-out of the body. It's ON
the body, a new skin surface has been created to house it but that's a
much less complex feat than the formation of an eye socket, ear canal,
mouth, nostril, urethra, gland, duct, follicle, or pore, and that
happens perfectly all day, every day. As you can see, it's no real
expectation of the body. The healing should be fairly straightforward,
and no more difficult than a piercing. Indeed, the care is the same.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, I just thought I should post
something to whet the appetite and to provide rumor control. Shannon
is currently healing a set from eyebrow to hairline, and we will update
as more information comes along. There is much more to know before this
is considered even tentatively working, all we have is a good hypothesis,
a large body of research, the scientific method, and one test case in
progress. PLEASE do not screw up a potentially wonderful future for this
by going out and doing the coolest looking pocketing you can think of
on someone, yourself included. I am just as tempted; you would not
BELIEVE what we've got in the works if this heals as planned. To do so
irresponsible and reckless. I am only posting this to let our community
in on it so early as a measure of good faith and to see if it's safe to
share bigger things as they may happen in the future.

Shannon is the only person other than myself I will be testing these on
as yet, each of us concentrating on different aspects of these projects.
He has already had everything from six surface to surface facial
piercings (four in the forehead) to two gauge forehead implants, and was
more than committed, prepared, aware, and ready for this, and we still
hid the evidence in the hairline and eyebrow because they may not work.
Please honor his sacrifice and wait on your own, it will be time well
spent.

                            With thanks,

                            Jon W. Cobb
                            09/08/1997

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 08 Sept. 1997
in Pocketing and Stapling

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