We here at Murrmurrs, Inc. are not employing the "royal we," rumored to have begun when King Henry II deigned to speak on behalf of God and himself. We here at Murrmurrs, Inc. have no idea what's on God's mind at any given moment.
We use the "bacterial we."
The thousand or so species of bacteria that are sharing my skin envelope have elected me to speak on their behalf. We all get along pretty well most of the time. It's kind of a party in here. I, for one, am tickled to learn more about them (or "us," as I am beginning to prefer). It's only been recently that scientists have attempted to determine how many kinds of bacteria we are harboring, by examining samples from 250 very healthy individuals. Bacteria thrive in our cavities and crevices, and scientists selected fifteen specific areas to swab for organisms: behind the ear, in the elbow-fold, the throat, various parts of the digestive tract, and so on. Female volunteers provided an additional three swabbing points in a moist personal cavity which we will ask you, in the interest of delicacy, to imagine. Okay? It comes back into play later.
|The Bacterial Whee!|
Studies show that the average adult carries 2-5 pounds of bacteria, and could benefit from a slimming outfit. The vast majority of the microbes live in the gut, and they are partying down. They do nothing but eat and reproduce and amuse themselves by shooting the loop-de-loop intestinal tract and out. The standard turd, in fact, is nearly one-half bacteria by weight, which is one of two good reasons to avoid eating it, neither of which makes sense to a Labrador retriever.
We start to accumulate the characters in our individual microbiomes at birth, when we pick up our starter set in the final act of sliding out of our mothers (see above). This is one drawback of being born by Caesarian section, and suggests that, from the point of view of its immune system, the newborn in these cases might want to gain immediate exposure to its mother in an area she may not be interested in sharing at the time. I'd ask first, anyway.
This field of study is quite new and suggests many avenues for further research. "We're still scratching the surface," says Stanford epidemiologist Dr. Julie Parsonnet. I think she may be thinking of fungi.