Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TMI: Part 1

My bowel movements currently look like something from the Wizard of Oz or the Incredible Hulk. If I went to the bathroom at an investment bank, it might well be the only thing green the bankers there would have seen in almost a year.

I know, I know, I am actually writing about human excrement. I'm actually nervous to do so -- will I offend?

And that's sort of interesting -- just the mention of terms like "poop", "excrement", "toilet" or "fecal matter" -- and we get uncomfortable. Even revolted. Yet every day we poop (well, most of us) and sometimes frequently (oy vey); it is as natural as breathing, and not doing it is just as deadly as not breathing, too. Every living creature in the world does it, in one way or another. In fact, if you think about it, our world is probably filled with microscopic dookies. Filled. (Those wonderful dust motes you see gently wafting through the sunlight? Probably poop. The dust you wipe off your desktop? Poop. The unseen layer on top of your ice cream? Dead skin cells and poop.)

Maybe it's the smell that causes the very mention of the term to so freak us out. (And the people say, ya think?) It certain is... fragrant. Its scent, I have discovered in trying to research the possible causes of my own verdant vacuations, actually comes from the active bacteria in it. Poop consists of water (3/4ths of poop is water, in fact); dead bacteria who die in the digestive process; fiber (i.e. stuff we can't digest); protein, dead cells and live bacteria. Apparently some of those live bacteria, produce that smell. (One guy I found online wondered whether we couldn't create a food additive that would make our poop smell better. It's probably just a matter of time. Of course, it will make us sterile, but if we're smelling like roses, really, who cares?)

Or maybe it's the way it looks. It certainly does revolt us to look at it, doesn't it? But if you dug a hole and watered it, and then scooped up a pile of warm, wet mud, it might not look that different, but we wouldn't freak. Or if I made an Angelfood cake and shaped it like poop -- yeah, disgusting in theory, but would its looks actually horrify us? I don't think so.

Or it could be the fact that it has all those germs in it. If you eat your own poop, you could get very sick. But since when are we talking about eating our own poop? And if we want to go there, the thing is -- put your fork down now -- we are eating our own poop. Really. We just don't know about it. Wait until we talk about pinworms....

Probably it's some of the above and social convention. We're taught it's disgusting from the first moments of our lives, and so we go through our lives reacting to it like it's some combination of toxic waste and the Hunta virus. When in fact it's the normal stuff that comes out of us after every meal.

I know, it's a strange perspective. But when your poop comes in technicolor, well, it opens your eyes. Pardon me for saying so, but I shit you not.

More later.

No comments: