22 March 2011

Things you can’t unthink

Everyone has those things they maybe wish they’d never heard, seemingly innocent little things which somehow come to modify their entire perception of the universe, things they can no longer unthink no matter how hard they try.

These are some of the various things that’ve given me pause throughout my life and which I can now never unthink…

-       Everyone you have ever known gets naked.  They have probably been naked today.  Many of them will also have some sort of sex this month (probably with someone else, who also gets naked).

-       Because all the various particles around us are recycled, every time you breathe in you might as well be letting a dinosaur pee in your mouth, or something.

-       The Hudson River once had a deranged Great White shark swimming in it.  And it ate people.

-       When people clap into microphones, it’s hard not to compare that sound to the sound of that same person masturbating (works best for men).

-       In order to accurately render Dr. Manhattan for the recent Watchmen film, someone had to sit for hours staring at a screen trying to make a blue penis look just right.

-       Blue cheese contains bacteria which have the capability of boring through cell walls.  In an extremely unlikely but not totally impossible scenario, these bacteria could make it all the way to your spinal column and cause meningitis.

-       While we’re on bacteria…  Let’s say the average generation time in humans is 20 years.  That means your family has produced 100 generations since year zero, two millennia ago.  E. coli ‘families’ manage that same feat (100 generations) in a little over half a day.  If they started at midnight, they’d finish the job by 5 PM.  And by then there would be at least 10^29 (that’s a 1 followed by 30 zeroes, or more than a trillion trillion) times more of them.

-       There is a restaurant in my hometown that once served us a dish in which we found two used band-aids.  After the husband almost ate one.  Chewed on it and everything.  No, I will never tell you what restaurant this is because I still love it.

-       There was a time in your development when you were breathing your mother’s bodily fluids.

-       When you eat a lobster you’re eating something that got boiled alive.

-       Imagine the sound of teeth scraping along a chalkboard.  Just really take that in.

-       Because sunlight takes 8 minutes to reach Earth, if the Sun did something heinously bad and devastating for all humankind right this second we wouldn’t know it for another eight minutes.

-       Naomi is “I moan” backward.

-       Time machines as we know and love them are probably impossible.  (Holodecks, though, they’re entirely possible.  And if you had a holodeck, would you really give a damn about time machines?)

-       Mayonnaise is made from the contents of the lunch lady’s back pimples (This one may not be true, but I can attest that it never leaves you – even if you’re now content to eat mayo).

-       If there’s intelligent life out there, it either (a) is not smart enough or (b) doesn’t care enough to make itself known to us.

-       Consciously speaking, you are incapable of perceiving anything at the exact same time it happens.  If there is an objective reality, you will always be a few fractions of a second behind it.  Always.

-       There may not be an objective reality.

-       Rule 34.

-       When we had our house broken into, some stranger was walking around my living room.  S/he walked into my bedroom and saw all my personal effects strewn about there.  S/he stole my computer which was chock full of even more important, personal, and private things.  And s/he probably didn’t even care.  But mostly, s/he was walking around my damn house.

-       Fruits are really plant ovaries.

-       Apparently all chocolate bars contain ground-up spider legs and anyone who lives an appreciable amount of time will eat a spider in his or her sleep.

-       Lobotomies were considered good medical practice by many healthcare professionals as little as fifty years ago.  They are not a good idea.  Never.  Not for any reason.  I don’t care what anyone tells you.  And they are by no means the last insane medical remedy we try on sick people.

-       John Harvey Kellogg (co-inventor of Kellogg’s corn flakes) ran a sanitarium and was a big proponent of yogurt enemas.

-       Angler fish.  There are angler fish down there in the ocean.

So – what things do you wish you could unthink??  Comment them – I’m anxious to know!


  1. Oh my god where did the mayo back pimple one originate O_O
    That one has been with me my entire life and was a huge reason as to why I never enjoyed mayo until I was in my 20's.. even now I shudder a little when I eat it...

  2. I think you just answered your first question, man. Thanks for that.

  3. Every once in a while I look at a couple and realize that they probably do the same things that me and my boyfriend do....and then I can't look them in the eye for a while. This is especially true when one of them is very innocent-looking.

    On the recycled particles note, do you realize that also means that you may be part dinosaur? Therefore, you have a legitimate reason to pretend to be a t-rex on the odd occasion. :P

  4. Danielle, you have just justified so much of my life... the next time I'm running through the aisles of K-mart trying to eat the small children and the security guards tackle me, I'll simply explain about my T-rex heritage and call them bigots for trying to repress my people...

  5. You know about what/who I can't unthink. There is no creativity in it ... hahaha. And other things I just don't care about unthinking.

  6. Wow, am I ever a FB junkie - I keep looking for the LIKE button!

    Can I be part velociraptor? They're my favorite :)

  7. I wonder if unthinking is like thinking in reverse. If so I must be like that youtube lady who could only move in reverse :)

  8. Great post, this is my kind of game ^_^

    So, given conservation of mass and the fact that the planet is pretty much finite, there's only so much matter (carbon, oxygen, calcium, phosphorus etc.) that's available for life to build plants and animals out of. That means that as human population has expanded, in terms of mass, we're taking up more and more of a share of the total biomass of the planet. Every time you see a baby, that baby represents that much less plant or animal matter in the rest of the biosphere.

    In strictly physical terms (and barring the possibility of some sort of quantum ephemera) your brain, which supplies your consciousness, is really just a three pound fatty blob of binary connections that is capable of expressing itself thanks to evolution (hands, vocal chords, etc). The brain has trillions of connections, to be sure, but your consciousness is the by-product of a simple network that is sufficiently large. Then take a look at other networks that might be incapable of expression (the internet, water on the planet, gravity wells spread across a galaxy)

    The exponential function

    Wood is cellulose that was constructed by forcing solar energy to hold carbon together. When you burn it, you're seeing a minute reflection of all the sun that tree absorbed over the course of its life

    No matter how complete we make a nuclear holocaust, will the deep-sea tube worms even know the difference?

    Speaking of nukes, the present policies on nuclear energy assume that we can maintain the infrastructure to protect people (and the rest of the planet) from the highly radioactive soup of chemicals produced by nuclear fission. Some of those isotopes have a half-life of 160,000 years or so. To put in perspective, that's about double the time since humanity started migrating out of Africa.

  9. Ah, Bucket, such thorough and thoughtful responses! I'm a huge proponent of the bundle-of-synapses thing and I definitely can't unthink it. Hadn't thought of the bit about trees... Just one more reason to hate campfires, I guess. (Yeah, yeah, I could just have respect and reverence and appreciate that fire even more, but come on. There's smoke what's getting into my clothes.)

  10. All those were quite fantastic Bucket..but the wood one and the last one about nukes, probably never gonna be able to unthink those..
    So mission accomplished...

  11. I couldn't unthink this article about nukes: http://www.slate.com/id/2286735/pagenum/1

  12. Lift your hand in front of your face. Now realize it is literally covered in a sheet of microbes. Some good, some nasty. Pick up your coffee, look at the surface and realize that that also is a sheet of microbes. Then think about hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap. Those both destroy 99.7% of all microbes. Now think about how that really means breeds .3% of microbes too strong to be killed by hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial soap. Then touch the door handle in the public restroom.

    A 2009 study by Melissa Burkley and Jessica Parker of Oklahoma State University found that 59% of women stated they were interested in pursuing a relationship when presented with a (unknown to the women) hypothetical "ideal" single man. However, when instead told that the man was already in a romantic relationship, 90% of the women stated they were interested in pursuing a romantic relationship. And out of those percentages, many of those women are either on the bus with you or at the store. And for women, you have to figure that the percentages are higher of men.

    Also, think about how it is not 'if' a huge meteor big enough to kill ALL THE DINOSAURS that we cannot do anything whatsoever about will strike the earth sometime in the next however many years, but 'when.'

    Additionally, the flu epidemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the world war preceding it. WWI = 37 million, Flu = 30-40 million.

    And on a cheerier note, you won the lottery just to be born, because there are an average of 300 million sperm in the average ejaculate and generally only one makes it to the promised land to become you.