TLDR: Count your blessings. We could have cloacas instead. Also, BRAT.
I’ve been having some stomach issues recently. I have no idea why or why not, what, who, how, etc. But as things start to improve — knock on food — I find myself appreciating our bodily processes more and more.
No, don’t go!
Where was I? Oh, right. Farts. They may not be ideal in most social situations, but the amount of information and sensory feedback is astounding. It doesn’t make it any less rude to talk about or any less hilarious in multiple ways, but the fact remains.
Imagine if we could speak in chemical compounds, or had a 6th sense like smell but at a molecular level — if it was as evolved as our hearing and sight. A fart will remind you of what you ate. In addition to smell, the viscosity, texture, pressure, volume, and so on would make it a veritable library of information about our health if we could capture and decipher it on that level. Imagine if we had tricorders and could scan our waste products and send it to our healthcare professionals. It would almost be too much information.
This is obvious, but we take it for granted, that flatulence can signal if maybe you shouldn’t eat something again, or at least not often, or at least not on the same day as a job interview, or before Easter Sunday church service, or a German opera. It can let you know that, “You have to move weight, so to speak, in 35 minutes and the countdown actually started half an hour ago even though you didn’t get the memo, so you may want to find a clean, well lit place to deal, stat. Or not. But either way, now you know.”
I never promised that I wasn’t going to be immature so here you go. Get your butt-game together, dude, indeed.
As with any chemical process there are byproducts. It’s amazing and downright miraculous to me that our bodies have an internal vat of acid (props to “Love, Death, and Robots”) into which we drop a masticated slurry of energy sources — from once living plants and/or animals and byproducts — and that fleshy chemical plant goes to work.
I mean, it must take a very different formulation to extract and deconstruct a 16 oz. ribeye steak than it does to make use of a giant wedge of cheesecake, or a fresh mango, or a pile of raw vegetables, and that’s not to mention what happens when we go to a restaurant and put all of that in our stomachs in one meal along with a glass of water, glasses of soda, or half a bottle of wine. And yet our body copes.
Then our bodies say, okay we don’t need this but we do need that. We can’t use this at all and we’re going to be incapacitated until Liver does its thing. Let’s use the water we keep in our cells to flush out the detritus. And, let’s pass the solids along to a series of tubes, i.e. the internet?, absorb the good stuff, and then excrete what we can’t use in all of the states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma, and Bose-Einstein condensate.
We take it for granted but the complexity of that workflow is mind-boggling. We’re lucky. We could have cloacas instead. A pee-poop-sex-birth-canal orifice; it’s a one stop shop of just about every bodily function except for eating, drinking, and breathing. Oh, I just learned something new. I’ll have to see if I can work the term “cloacal kiss” into a conversation this week.
And then! And then, even when things don’t go just right (or we abuse the privilege) — even when our bodies are like, “What the hell is going on here? These things don’t work together in theory, much less in the praxis of simultaneously being inside of a living organism.”
Like chinese food and cheddar cheese. Like potato chips and chewing gum (“It’s going to be in my digestive tract for seven years!”). Like milk chocolate and lemonade. Just, no.
Or, “Wait a minute. We are completely out of equilibrium and whatever the heck we just put in our mouths is way past anything like an expiration date. Did we drink from a water source downstream from a decomposing animal in the past few hours?! Because it’s hell in here.”
Our bodies react.
“All hands, full stop! Reverse the digestion process.”
“This is a nightmare! Purge, purge, purge! Flush out everything.”
“Everything! Now, damn it! And increase the core temperature by three degrees fahrenheit. If we can’t flush it out, we’ll burn it out. This. Is war.”
The fact that our innards are an intricate mechanical, chemical, and electric machine that isn’t made from metal, wood, plastic, and batteries or a combustion engine, but a variety of specialized slimy goo sacks, blows my grayish-pink, mostly-water, spongy blob of a hard drive and storage unit.
How?? How is all of that architecture and instruction encoded into a molecule. Or macro molecule. I don’t know what chromosomes are, really. DNA, RNA, nucleotides, proteins, and what not. Tiny strands of molecules that contain directions for how to build a machine, and how the parts work, and how the parts work together, and when to start STOP working, while also allowing the transmission of this coded packet so that it combines with another from a different, compatible source, and apply a randomization algorithm to make a pseudo-copy in order to continue a particular model of machine, a species, that will adapt to environmental and stimuli generationally.
I guess what I’m saying is, come on, body. You know how to do this.
This blog post needs an appropriate graphic.
Wow. I just awestruck myself so I’ll stop while I’m ahead. Maybe I’ll talk about workplace poop strategies another time, including the theoretical ethics and liabilities of Poopourri. I mean, that’s professional, right? I could post that on LinkedIn.
p.s. – Kettlebell Kitchen is pretty good so far. Real food. (You know what I mean.) Customizable to different eating plans. Vegetables that make me want to eat vegetables. I’ve done food delivery services before. They were fine for a while, except the food was definitely on the processed side, and I got bored with their flavor brand or signature, for lack of a better word. You know how certain restaurants, mainly fast food places, have their own scent that after a while you just don’t want a part of any more? Kind of like that. But Kettlebell Kitchen, it’s like — why don’t I just cook like this? I’ll definitely pick up some culinary moves.