Monday, October 22, 2007

Personal Livestock

I ran across an interesting posting about dust mites today (I am going home and clean and vacuum tonight). Did you know that there are 42,000 of them in every ounce of dust and that in addition to dead skin cells they feed upon “hair, pollen grains, fungal spores and bacteria, as well as cigarette ash and tobacco, clothing fibers, fingernail clippings and filings, food crumbs, glue, insect parts, paint chips, salt and sugar crystals and even graphite”. Just like when someone used to come into the ER complaining about scabies, just the thought of it makes you itch.

Even more itch inducing was a quote later in the post:
What was amazing was what happened to the Archbishop’s corpse, as described in Hans Zinsser’s 1935 epic book, "Rats, Lice and History", beginning with Zinsser’s description of the dead Archbishop’s robes of office. When he was murdered Becket was wearing, "...a large brown mantle; under it, a white surplice; below that, a lamb’s wool coat; then another woolen coat; and a third woolen coat below this; under this, there was the black, ...robe of the Benedictine Order; under this, a shirt; and next to the body, a curious hair-cloth, covered with linen." As Becket’s corpse grew cold the successive layers of robes also cooled, and all the little creatures that had been living within the folds and pleats started looking for a new home. Wave after wave of various fleas, ticks, spiders, pincher bugs, and other creatures flowed out from the corpse, " water in a simmering cauldron" producing in the hushed mourners gathered in the dim cathedral, "...alternate weeping and laughter...’".

Bugs you got to love them, particularly the personal livestock variety. We do run into this sort of livestock from time to time, never quite this graphically.

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