In this city, this congested, smoky city, one has two options. One can either live with the rot, the filth, the pathogens and the deterioration or one can simply clean the rot. There is one clear option for me – CLEAN!
Every time I look on the street on my way to work, it’s there, festering, growling, lurking, mocking and sticking onto every passerby. They are the germs, the pathogens, the dust, the mould, the rotting diaper and dog crap. All is there, sitting, hiding in the dumpsters of the streets. Everywhere one steps, it sticks. Sometimes I wish to stop and pick every bacterium off the bottom of my shoe, the hairs of my coat and my actual skin.
I loathe it – the germs, the bacteria, the dirt, the oil hanging loosely in the air being sucked into my clean lungs and my body. I loathe its trickery, it mocks me. I walk fast from work and I remove every item of clothing and wash it in disinfectant. I must! Allowing them to harvest eggs onto my clothes and my body sickens me, annoys me and makes me desire to regurgitate. I dip into the bathtub and my mantra awakens: scrub and clean, scrub and clean, scrub and clean, clean and scrub! I know that when I’m fully cleansed, my skin will feel wonderfully sore. I must quickly remove myself from the bath for the germs will return, they always know their host!
I get dressed and scrub the entire apartment clean. Beauty is a price paid daily and cleaning the house is no exception. I clean the house till it’s spotless, then clean again in disinfectant. I must clean it or the germs will wreak havoc on my world! They are disgusting and must be fully annihilated. Germs kill two million Americans a year. I cannot be killed. I cannot be killed. I cannot be a breeding ground for the parasites of the invisible world. I must fight, even though my husband had allowed himself to be taken over by the dust and the grime of The Apple, I cannot.
I am at war with the germs every day. I am at times fearful, cowardly, but I must always remember that cleaning brings a peaceful rest at night and that life is already too short to allow myself to be taken over by the two billion types of bacteria and scum. I must fight this good fight; buying and using all the Clorox, Lysol and Ajax I can get in. I must scrub the counters, the sinks, vacuum the carpet. I must clean the windows; wash the clothes, the sheets, the bedspreads until they are at peace because the germs have retreated.
I read the paper today, after covering my hands in gloves to avoid any new breed of bacteria from the print shop. I read that the human lips has at least one million strains of bacteria and the human skin for every cubic centimetre has at least four million bacteria and dust particles. I was appalled, and my effort felt dejected. For all the powerful cleaning I have done, especially in the bodily area, were all in vain. Bacteria have festered and will fluster wherever humans live, wherever humans trample and sought to form a new variety in their gene pool. But what will I do now? Will I become another subject of the king virus or king dust-bunny?! Will I become like other humans who accept the germs as they are and sought to live with them, like them?! Must I now stoop and live at their level of disorder and chaos?! I will certainly not! I will certainly not! I will certainly not! I will improve my efforts; man more of my battle stations with more disinfectants. Either that or die trying! And if I am forced to live in a bubble - a germ free bubble, I will do so with bells on my feet and a grin and taunt at the germs themselves. I will not be subject to new authority! I will certainly not!
- Dispelling the Myths of Green Cleaning (greenne.com)
- An Antibacterial Cleaning Solution That Is Eco Friendly Too (daimerindustries.typepad.com)
- The average kitchen sink harbors more germs than a toilet (greenreview.blogspot.com)
- How Cleaning Green Can Improve Your Life (newfrontierslifecoaching.wordpress.com)
- Surprising Places Germs Can Hide (everydayhealth.com)
I came home, excited and starving.
I had grits in the cupboard, and a mini gourmet indulgence in the fridge: red peppers, feta cheese, spinach, eggs.
My plan for my short lunch hour was to cook an omelette with grits and start to stuffus mon faceus.
My lunch hour isn’t spectacular and I don’t boast about being a great cook. What I know how to make and make well, I thoroughly indulge in with deep sighs and big mug of coffee.
Unbeknownst to me, my lunch hour was going to be a bit different. Scratch that, enormously different.
I took out all my ingredients, laid them out, started dancing and simultaneously licking my lips.
It was a joyous occasion.
I opened the egg crate and therein sat 2 empty egg shells.
I retraced the events of my last cooking bonanza in my brain and came up with no memory of having used my eggs in the past week.
My first word: mother—arrrggghhhh!
Technically not a word, more like a word transforming into hulk-like sounds.
My eggs were taken by some thieving pirate who no doubt enjoyed every minute of the egg heist.
I screamed every horrible thing I could think of and put together every random insult:
“WHO STEALS EGGS?!”
“WHAT THE FARK ARE YOU? A FOX?!?”
“WHO IN THE HOLY-BONFIRE-THAT-WILL-STRIKE-THIS-KITCHEN STOLE MY EGGS?!”
Not very inventive, but I was fuming.
That’s what happening when you live in a house filled with callous strangers.
My roommate ran in, and of course shocked.
“Your eggs got stolen and they left the empty eggs shells in the crate?!”
My other roommate yelled: “Are you sure you didn’t eat them and left them there in a rush?”
Why would I, the obsessive control freak, leave empty egg shells? No no, my eggs were here and now stolen by some animalistic hussy!
What if I were dying and this was my last meal?
What if I had an impromptu lunch guest?
This person had no care for my plans. They stole my eggs.
I was egg-less. It was an egg tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.
After we all tired of the shocked discussion, I packed my condiments away and head held low marched upstairs, grabbed a marker and notepad and wrote lewd notes everywhere.
“I hope you choke on the egg next time you snake!”
The logic is impossible – can snakes choke on eggs?
“Keep you grubby fingers off my food!”
Hardly threatening right?
“You inconsiderate, conniving pig!”
“I hope next time you steal them a big, bloody wet, pre-developed chick falls out!”
My roommate, the vegetarian was of course shocked, but my furore had no bounds. I was outta control and vulgar. I loved it.
I came home at 5 and saw a note attached to a new crate of eggs: “Sorry I borrowed your eggs, I was really hungry and hadn’t gotten any money till today, hope you can forgive me. Xxx”
I felt slightly crummy. “Xxx” didn’t leave a name, but as much as I felt sad for my hungry roommate, I still thought it would have been a lot more courteous to ask for my eggs.
I gave up the anger, had dinner.
Craving dessert, I skipped to the freezer; except, when I reached for the ice cream box, it was empty.
Surely no one is so hungry that ice cream would be an option?!
“WHAT THE FARK?! WHO STOLE MY FLIPPING ICE CREAM AND HAD THE BRAZEN BALLS TO LEAVE THE EMPTY BOX IN THE FREEZER?! ARRRGGGHHH!!”
A Comical Science piece I wrote years ago…
Amidst the ring and ting of a busy city life – here I lay. Amidst the shouting and the singing – here I lay. Amidst the smoke and the dirt, the hustle and bustle, the executive reports and the medical analysis – here I lay, served daily onAmerica’s favourite hour – lunch. Here I lay, privileged to be America’s, no the world’s favourite dish – the Hamburger Dish. Amidst everything grave and sickly, I will forever be an essential to humankind – forever packed with proteins, fats and carbohydrates. My popularity will never be beaten, unless humankind creates a dish far economically and bodily pleasing, I will forever stay on the daily lunch menu – next to the possibly genetically altered potato fries and the Coca-Cola. I am here to stay!
The clock strikes twelve and in floods the customers:
“One hamburger dish to go please, I must leave now, I have contracts to sign and people to fire!”
Success! I will be sold! I will be a nourishing agent to the pompous young man in the “fly” blue suit. I will be and addition to his possibly reckless lifestyle! Good, jolly good!
Amidst these thoughts, I soon realise that I am shoved into a brown paper bag – “Eat smart, Eat at Bart’s!” it bellows. But I do not let this distract me, for I am eager to make the journey. I have been prepared for this, lectured for this by fellow burgers and have prayed to the ultimate Burger God to make a safe trip. I have heard many unsuccessful stories of vomit and diarrhoea and do not wish to suffer the same fate. Once I am set onto the customer’s plate, I stare longingly at my new master. He shoves me into his buccal cavity and bites hard into me. Juices flow into me – juices which are not my own. This salivary juice gives me a new sensation, a powerful, energetic sensation. I am repetitively chewed upon – mastication is the term. I can feel my starch molecules break up, literally exploding into tiny maltose molecules – it is the enzyme amylase causing such disintegration. Acting on my every being is lysosome, the antibacterial enzyme, mucus, the moistening agent and mineral salts which act as coenzymes to increase enzyme efficiency. The tongue pushes me to the back of the buccal cavity and into the pharynx. This cavity between the mouth and windpipe serves as a passageway both for food (such as me) on its way down the alimentary canal and for air passing into the windpipe. I move towards the oesophagus in a certain shape called “bolus”, formed by the action of the tongue. I move down this muscular tube not by own will, but by this grand machine be, through a process called peristalsis. This mechanism works by sending an alternate wave of contraction and relaxation caused by the relatively large longitudinal and circular muscles.
Once the final wave of peristalsis is sent out, the cardiac sphincter relaxes, forming an opening through which I can pass into the “room”. Then the muscle contracts, closing the opening to preventing any of my being from moving back into the oesophagus. The oesophageal sphincter is the first of several such muscles along this alimentary canal. These muscles act as valves to regulate the passage of food and keep it from moving backward.
I am in a new room, a dismal, pungent sack-like room with strong muscular walls. Now, in this bag, I remember being repetitively encouraged by my mentors to have no fear about the size of the room, for it can expand significantly to store all the food from a meal for both mechanical and chemical processing. The stomach, as I should call it, contracts about three times per minute, churning the food and mixing it with gastric juice. This fluid, by thousands of gastric glands in the lining of the stomach, consists of water, hydrochloric acid; an enzyme called pepsin, and mucin (the main part of mucus). The acid is secreted by the parietal cells while the zymogen cells secrete the inactive form of pepsin. Hydrochloric acid creates the acidic envirois secretednment that pepsin needs to begin breaking down my proteins into polypeptides. It also kills any micro-organisms that may have been ingested with me. Mucin, as I noticed, coated the stomach, protecting it from the effects of the acid and pepsin.
I remain in this tomb, for what seems an eternity, but in reality it is a mere three to four hours. After being chemically processed I feel drained, but am still able to tell you of my journey through the remainder of the canal. According to the rules of biology I am now a semi-digested liquid called chyme. I am passed a little at a time through the pyloric sphincter into the duodenum, the first portion of the small intestine. Then on from the duodenum to the small intestine, where I am again experience the action of the body’s juices. Structures called Brunner’s glands secrete mucus to protect the intestinal walls from the acid effects of digestive juices. Bile is secreted from the liver into the small intestine through the bile duct. Bile acts as an emulsifier, breaking my large fat globules into small droplets, which enzymes in the small intestine can act upon. Pancreatic juice, secreted by the pancreas, enters the small intestine through the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic juice contains enzymes that perform hydrolysis reactions, specifically – amylase breaks down starches into maltose, lactase breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose, sucrase breaks down sucrose into glucose and fructose and maltase breaks down maltose into glucose. Lipase breaks down my fats into fatty acids and glycerol, and trypsin breaks down my proteins into amino acids. Additionally, chymotrypsin and carboxypeptidases breaks down polypeptides into amino acids. These nutrients, my nutrients, are what the intestine absorbs.
The small intestine’s capacity for absorption is increased by millions of finger-like projections called villi, which line the inner walls of the small intestine. Each villus is about 0.5 to 1.5 mm (0.02 to 0.06 in) long and covered with a single layer of cells. Even tinier finger-like projections called microvilli cover the cell surfaces. This combination of villi and microvilli increases the surface area of the small intestine’s lining by about 150 times, multiplying its capacity for absorption. Beneath the villi’s single layer of cells are capillaries (tiny vessels) of the bloodstream and the lymphatic system. These capillaries allow nutrients produced by digestion to travel to the cells of the body. Simple sugars and amino acids pass through the capillaries to enter the bloodstream. They are then transported to the liver via the hepatic portal vein. Fatty acids and glycerol are absorbed into the epithelial cells of the villi, where they are reconverted to lipids. These are wall converted to lipoproteins which are secreted into the lymph vessels found in each villus from where they are carried in the vessels to the point where they are placed into the bloodstream.
I now feel separated and torn apart, my goodness separated from my badness. I know that my nutrients are in proper use, though some may be in excess, I know the body will be able to care and counteract any deviation from the norm. I am able to sense this, like a mother senses her child from miles off. My “badness” as I phrase it, is a watery residue of indigestible food and digestive juices remain which are unabsorbed. I learnt that I can spend an average of twelve to twenty-four hours here, given the correct conditions. From what I have been though and what I have learnt, the large intestine forms an inverted U over the coils of the small intestine. It starts on the lower right-hand side of the body and ends on the lower left-hand side. Again I am drained; this large, hollow tubing absorbs large amounts of water and salts from the residue, until it forms a solid. In addition, bacteria in the large intestine promote the breakdown of undigested materials and make several vitamins, notably vitamin K, which the body needs, for blood clotting. I am now faeces—waste material that consists largely of undigested food, digestive juices, bacteria, and mucus. I am moved towards the rectum for storage where I am now in full awareness of my fate. I can now feel the two sphincter muscles, contracting and relaxing. I creep slowly towards the anus, I see the light, but it is a light I wish to turn away from. I know I cannot cower, I have prepared for this, I am the ultimate dish, and I can end the journey -: “Splat!”
- Which structure is responsible for storing bile (wiki.answers.com)
- After you eat, you feel tired? (cookingislife.wordpress.com)
- What happens as blood passes through the intestines (wiki.answers.com)