During the second weekend of my hypnosis course, the weather was a lot nicer.
A fossilized tick in amber from the Dominican Republic, shown to be carrying spirochete bacteria.
Unlike the first weekend, the contents of my tent stayed nice and dry. I probably shouldn't have pitched it so close to the trees, though. I pulled four crawling ticks off my own body, before they had a chance to dig in, and nine more off the outside of the tent as I was taking it down. Those I flicked into the pond to feed the fish; the water was clear enough that I could watch them sink, and not one made it to the bottom. I must have missed three others, who made it all the way home with me, rolled up inside the fabric of the tent (one of them inside the sleeve where the support pole goes!). A grand total of sixteen, which was a record for me personally.
There's a scene in All's Quiet on the Western Front where the soldiers are hanging out in the trenches, picking lice off themselves and dropping them into a boot-polish tin suspended over a fire. If I remember correctly, one of them jokes that once he collects enough of the grease he'll be able to polish his boots with that instead. The level of resignation was jarring to a modern shower-every-day sensibility. It's a very different vibe than the kinda-sorta-post-apocalyptic novel The Salt Line, written by a local and set in a futuristic NC. My FB friend Ian McDowell (who I will lure to Steemit some day) interviewed her here:
This is something that annoys me. The average fantasy world is way too clean. I'm not talking about greasy hair and smudges, like Peter Jackson's LoTR films. I'm talking about diseases, infections, and parasites. There's a fashion now for showing superficial cuts on actors' faces (not just Tom Cruise, either). Those cuts always heal cleanly and completely, and except for Matt Murdock and Tyrion Lannister, they don't even scar.
That makes a little more sense on shows with modern or futuristic medical technology, but certainly not in a fantasy world. Even now, according to one of my hypnosis classmates, intestinal worms are so common in Mexico that the medicine is sold over the counter – though still, nobody talks about them.
There's a show called Trashopolis, which ran for I think two seasons. My wife and I watched the Paris episode. Unlike every faux medieval city you've ever read about, Paris did not have a working sewer system until the 1700s. Sewage ran right down the middle of the street in open gutters. People were buried in mass graves, and their bones were later stacked around the walls of the cemetery, at least until the catacombs were excavated.
Our world is not great, but we aren't tripping over dead horses when we step out the door in the morning, either.
This is an updated version of an unpublished reflection from 5/18/16, posted now because once the grant was written my wife had a heart attack (she's fine now). Never rains but it fucking pours.
Thanks for reading!