Friday, February 29, 2008

For those of you opposed to the scatological, this will only make you unhappy

So we got this raisin bran cereal at Costco the other day. And actually, now that I think about it, I should back up and talk a little about my upbringing, because that's more the story.

I think I’ve said this before, but with the countries we lived in while I was growing up, plus the fact that my dad worked in public health, poo was a viable dinner table topic. At a very young age I was well versed in all kinds of parasites, their life-cycles, the ways in which they manifest in humans, and what one would do to treat them.

I do find them fascinating. Guinea Worm is my favorite, because I find it the most repulsive. Anything that bursts out of your skin, as a whole long worm, that you have to twist around a stick slowly, over weeks, to extract from your body? Wins the parasite prize, in my book.

And Betty hates talking about this kind of thing. Every once in a while she’d say, “Please. Could we just have no more anal talk at the dinner table?” Alas, it was in vain. It’s an endlessly riveting topic. For some.

Plus, if you have ever backpacked anywhere like Nepal, you know that weird things happen with your bowels, even if you don’t have parasites. Travelers will sit down at breakfast and be all, “Dude, my poo was green. Has this ever happened to you?” Because all these startling things happen, and you want to check in with others to know if it’s normal or if you need to see someone about it.

And if you have ever had parasites, you know how weird and compelling a lot of the details are. On top of this, you know full well that parasites are transmitted through fecal-oral contact. In other words, if you get parasites, it’s probably because someone who served you some food had some teeny-tiny microscopic bit of fecal matter on his hands.

Just knowing this makes you throw up a little in your mouth. But it also makes you think a lot about fecal matter. Or poo, as I prefer to call it.

If you’ve ever had worms, you know it’s just too horrifying not to talk about. And if you’ve ever had or had to share a room with someone who has Giardia, I assure you, it’s hideously unmistakable. And unforgettable.

So in my growing up and in my travels as an adult, there has always been a lot of poo talk.

Before college I didn’t realize that most Americans are not OK with it. I really embarrassed a good friend of mine in college in front of her boyfriend and a few other people by saying something like, “Right – that was the day you had the terrible diarrhea!”

She pulled me aside later to tell me how upset she was. Was I trying to embarrass her?

Seriously, that was my first realization that diarrhea was not something to admit to. Huh.

But you know, you are who you are. And your topics are your topics, although you grow and learn and realize the need to censor. Sometimes. When you really have to.

So back to the cereal. We bought this raisin bran cereal at Costco the other day. It's delicious and really crunchy and has tons of raisins. It's easy to eat a huge bowlful. Or maybe two.

However, I now just refer to it as colon blow. Like, “So, can I pour you a nice bowl of colon blow?”

If you are someone prone to constipation, you might want to get this cereal.

Honestly. My Monday was an emergency poo-fest. I got in the car at the end of the day and said, “So, I don’t know if it was the raisin bran, but…”

And Nick said, “You don’t actually need to complete that sentence. I know you, and I know precisely where you are going to go with it.”

It’s amazing how fast you get to know people.


  1. Oh Lisa, I am just dying right now. It's so hard not to laugh and then have to explain to squeamish co-workers, what it is that I find so funny. Because only one of the three would understand or participate in the conversation. I completely agree on the guinea worm issue - in the mid 80s there was an article in Time magazine that showed a pic of one being pulled and rolled from some man's leg. FASCINATING! Can I just tell you, there was no more reading of Tiger Beat after that! I waited for the mailman every week, hoping to get another gory issue like that one! Thanks for the memories. :)

  2. The talk of travelers talking about bowel movements over breakfast brought back memories of backpacking through Northern India. 21 days and I still didn't get used to the sharing.

  3. I get the eye roll from husband and child when I talk about these things, but seriously - some things just need to be discussed!

    One year, my roommates and a couple of friends of ours went to visit a friend's family and one of my roommates and I were constipated. Which NEVER happened to us (we are regular gals, that's for sure). So the whole weekend was a constant "Did you go yet?" fest among everyone in the house that was a nice bonding experience.

  4. One of my friends has Chrons disease so she loves poo talk too.

    I don't do too good with it... Diarrhea doesn't bother me, I actually have a hilarious story about my brother on that one.

    But the other day while eating dinner, I got a friend's text that said "so your cat peed blood, I just pooped blood twice today" and the only reply I could give her was "ew"

  5. Haha! I am an ego maniac and shall pretend that this post was written specifically for me in response to my latest post about constipation.


  6. The gross side of LG. Ew! I don't care for raisins, especially in cereal.

  7. Oh, I love you so much. And, of course, not only because you are able to chat about POO so easily. I have to take credit for being actually about to have poo talks BEFORE I became a mom, but now? It's in our discussions every single day.

  8. I'm dying laughing over here. Everyone does Poo, I'm not sure why it's so embarassing. But, it just is. I actually don't say the word diarrhea. It's not in my vocab b/c it grosses me out too much. I just had to copy and paste it b/c I didn't even know how to spell it. Yikes, maybe I have an issue.

  9. that worm is fascinating: of course i wikipedia-ed it, and spent a great ten minutes talking all about it to J on the way home from a movie, who stared at me in horror the entire time.

    It really capped off our Saturday night :)

  10. There's something beautiful about being able to talk to your loved one about poo. That's when you know it's real.

  11. Susan - I LOVE hearing this! There were teenage boys waiting for the next issue of National Geographic in the hopes of bare breasts, and you were waiting for the next horrifying parasite. I can so relate.

    Alexandra - It is astounding, isn't it? That kind of travel brings it out immediately. And I know it's hard for people who didn't grow up with it.

    Suniverse - No kidding! Constipation will bond people like few other things. It's so awful to be waiting and waiting, and very nice to have moral support. :) Heh.

    Nicole - Ah! If I'd read yours first I definitely would've dedicated it to you! Next time, definitely.

    HKW - I know. Gross, super gross.

    VVK - Ha! Faxing these jokes around! That's awesome! And yes, Raisin Bran kicks ass - no pun intended.

    Janie - No, you aren't squeamish about stuff like that. And oh, yah. People with kids have to talk about it all the time. That much I do know.

    Canaan - I misspell the word every other time I write it. Which makes me realize that 1. I should have better spelling recall, and 2. clearly I write the word too often.

    Moosie - Hahaha! He's a better person for it, I'm sure. :)

    DCup - Yes! It's definitely a relief!

  12. Beach Bum - Somehow I missed you! I am OK talking about so many bodily functions, but once it's something that might hurt - peeing blood, for example, I get all clenchy twitchy. I'm with you on the "ew" on that one!

  13. Ah, look at that. Finishing each other's thoughts already. Cute, even if it is about poo.


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