Buckminster Skeeter: Wanna buy a watch?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On Shit

We don't often think about shit. Except of course when we give it that quick once-over before flushing. I noticed today that I always do this - it's kind of like checking the contents of a good nose blow in a tissue to see what I conjured up. I think we have this inherent instinct to check out our feces for any signs of inner turmoil. I've always noticed my cats and dog do it. They even go so far as to give it a sniff, just to make sure they got the formula right. Then again what are they gonna do if they realize it doesn't smell or look right? Ask to go to the vet? Eat more greens? Well, actually animals will eat some grass or weeds to get themselves normal - smart little buggers. But all this thought about shit made me realize what little bit most people know about it. So here's Bucky to enlighten you.

The word 'shit' originated from the Old Norse term skita, adopted by Old English as scitte, reformed in Middle English as schitte. Similar sounding words are found in dozens of languages owing to it's ancient origins. The basic meaning was 'a separation from the body', or a variation thereof. It is a fantastic word used as a noun, verb, adverb, or adjective. It can denote the entire range of emotions and instantly adds flavor to any phrase. But for our purposes we will stick to the noun version of shit and it's forms of turd, excrement, loaf, feces, fecal matter, grumpy, deuce, log, brown carrots, etc..

There is no real average number of bowl movements per day a person will take. A range of 3 a day to 3 times per week is generally accepted as normal.

Shit consists of 75% water and 25% solids. The solids are mainly dead and live bacteria, undigested organic matter(food) and fiber. The bacteria are varied. Over 1,200 species of microbes are found in the intestines which aid in digestion by breaking down the organic matter and facilitating water absorption in the colon. Recent studies show as many as 100 trillion microbes found in a single bowl movement. Foods with high fiber contents can pass through relatively undigested as evidenced from the appearance of corn, beans, and cereals in a floating turd. Whether or not a turd will float depends on the water content. More water will cause sinking and more solids will float the log. The water and fiber contents, when in perfect balance, should produce a log about 4 to 12 inches in length. Shorter, nuggety, turds indicate improper digestion. Food generally takes 24 hours to pass through the body. 3-4 hours in the stomach, 6 hours in the small intestine, 6 hours in the large intestine, and 6 hours in the rectum waiting for ejection.

Turd color is generally brown. Black could point to an excessive amount of blood in the stool. Various food color can cause pigmented shits - like Dr. Metals infamous Green Turds. Back to the brown. Why are shits brown? The color comes from stercobilin and urobinin which are the result of the breakdown of bilirubin which itself is a byproduct of the breakdown of hemoglobin in dead red blood cells . The bilirubin is carried to the liver and made water soluble to be disposed of in urine or shit. Of interest is that is this very bilirubin which can cause jaundice (yellowish skin) when concentrated in fatty tissue - a sign of abnormal liver function.

The smell of shit, which is unmistakable amongst the myriad of aromas we encounter on a daily basis, is due to the production of skatole, mercaptans, and hydrogen sulfide produced by the bacteria. Organic (natural) foods contain less matter capable of producing the stink makers while foods with lots of processing, additives, or other chemical treatments will enhance the stench.

There is some controversy about reading while on the toilet. I am an avid toilet reader. In fact, I read the entire Book of Mormon over a 6 month period with my daily visits. Like many of the experts I find that it relieves stress, relaxes the muscles, and takes my mind away from the daunting task of pushing out the occasional megaturd - reading that is, not the Book of Mormon itself. Some scientist, however, claim that reading causes one to sit longer than needed on the toilet which prolongs the pressure put on the anus by the rectum. This stress has been shown to be a minor culprit in hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

Happy Shitting!


Blogger mugwump said...

Well, you've done it again. Every single time your wit inferior peers start becoming funny(after days, weeks, months of contemplating) you come up with some shit like this in a matter of seconds to remind us who reigns supreme.

5:28 AM  

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