Saturday, July 31, 2010


If you’re the kind of person who carries hand sanitizer at all times, and wears surgical gloves to use a public doorknob, you maybe shouldn’t read this missive from our pals at Delancey Place. I have oft attempted to explain to germophobes the real nature of the micro-ecology, but to little avail. Maybe having it laid out in print might help but I’m not too sure.

"There is no point in trying to hide from your bacteria, for they are on and around you always, in numbers you can't conceive. If you are in good health and averagely diligent about hygiene, you will have a herd about one trillion bacteria grazing on your fleshy plains - about a hundred thousand of them on every square centimeter of skin. They are there to dine off the ten billion or so flakes of skin you shed every day, plus all the tasty oils and fortifying minerals that seep out from every pore and fissure. You are for them the ultimate food court, with the convenience of warmth and constant mobility thrown in. By way of thanks, they give you B.O.
And those are just the bacteria that inhabit your skin. There are trillions more tucked away in your gut and nasal passages, clinging to you hair and eyelashes, swimming over the surface of your eyes, drilling through the enamel of your teeth. Your digestive system alone is host to more than a hundred trillion microbes, of at least four hundred types. Some deal with sugars, some with starches, some attack other bacteria. A surprising number, like the ubiquitous intestinal spirochetes, have no detectable function at all. They just seem to like to be with you. Every human body consists of about 10 quadrillion cells, but about 100 quadrillion bacterial cells. They are, in short, a big part of us. From the bacteria's point of view, of course, we are a rather small part of them.
Because we humans are big and clever enough to produce and utilize antibiotics and disinfectants, it is easy to convince ourselves that we have banished bacteria to the fringes of existence. Don't you believe it. Bacteria may not build cities or have interesting social lives, but they will be here when the Sun explodes. This is their planet, and we are on it only because they allow us to be." – A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson (Broadway)

Click here for Lightnin’ Hopkins

The secret word is Mouthwash

No comments: