Monday, October 23rd 2017

Gross! The great unifier of the human collective

We may be one consciousness but Mary Roach’s Bonk details in naturalistic glory how we are also 6 billion runny noses and rumbling stomachs

couple-in-bedGUEST COLUMN: AMY LEASK — I’m on my third book by Mary Roach and I’m riveted. It’s called Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, and it’s a very graphic account of the anatomy of sex.

Having taught gender studies, I’m not easily rattled, but I have to admit this makes me slightly queasy.

I keep looking over at my dearest love, imagining his reaction to such medical monstrosities (in one section, Roach apologizes to her male readers for the shock and revulsion they’ll likely feel).

This is my third book by Mary Roach in a month. For each one, I’ve stayed up late reading, my dreams filled with all manner of depravity.

roach190Okay, I’m a sick person. I’m exactly the type of deranged, but harmless reader to whom Mary Roach (pictured at right) and her contemporaries cater. I love this stuff, not the Hollywood fake blood and guts brand of horror, but the revolting wonders that only the human body can provide.

I’ve passed thirty and I still love potty humour and playing the “which would you rather. . .” game. Whatever part of my brain controls propriety never grew in properly.

Perhaps it’s because I come from a family that doesn’t stand on ceremony.

Perhaps it’s because I have friends with small children that leak (as small children do).

Perhaps it’s because I have a dog, and have been the target of projectile everything.

Gross. . .gross will keep us together. . .

What I’ve realized over the years is that “gross” is the great uniting factor for human kind. At the end of the day, we are six billion runny noses, and six billion rumbling stomachs.

We can disagree over world politics, or environmental issues, but we’re irrevocably linked by the fact that most of our feet stink.
poopsOur cultures and histories are vast and varied, but we’re all familiar with pimples and sweaty pits.

We can sleep tight knowing that on the other side of the world, someone else is sneezing and shedding skin flakes and carting around entire villages of microscopic organisms.

Taro Gomi summed it up nicely with her literary masterpiece, Everyone Poops.

Ah, the humanity of it all!

Amy Leask is a freelance word wrangler and sometime-philosopher from Ontario, Canada. When she isn’t pleading with the muses, she enjoys rearranging furniture, singing karaoke in the car, and pretending that her dog understands English.

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2 Comments on “Gross! The great unifier of the human collective”

  1. amy, you have inspired me...if not to actually "bonk" at least read the book :)

  2. I was 28 when the most hilarious thought hit me. The queen deficates too, I laughed and laughed and laughed until I cried from laughing so hard. Yes she is just as human as I am hahahahahahaha!!!!

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