A Disagreeable Condition

We’ve been considering the romanticised view of nature that is often portrayed online – dramatic skylines, beaming sunsets, perfectly sculpted silhouettes, and animals as well as humans placed majestically in the centre, airbrushed and beautified. Worms, bugs, and mites do not seem to exist often in this cyborg world; rarely acknowledged, spoken of, shared or liked.

We appreciate beauty, we understand.

But still, we were quite taken with this eloquent quote from Mark Twain’s ‘Letters from the Earth’; a poetic, beautifully written description of the very thing that usually makes us squirm.

Perhaps it still does, just a little, but we’ve taken it as inspiration for the opposite of our domesticated head – the ‘Wild Man’ (coming soon!).

Mark Twain

“Noah and his family were saved — if that could be called an advantage. I throw in the if for the reason that there has never been an intelligent person of the age of sixty who would consent to live his life over again. His or anyone else’s. The Family were saved, yes, but they were not comfortable, for they were full of microbes. Full to the eyebrows; fat with them, obese with them, distended like balloons. It was a disagreeable condition, but it could not be helped, because enough microbes had to be saved to supply the future races of men with desolating diseases, and there were but eight persons on board to serve as hotels for them. The microbes were by far the most important part of the Ark’s cargo, and the part the Creator was most anxious about and most infatuated with. They had to have good nourishment and pleasant accommodations. There were typhoid germs, and cholera germs, and hydrophobia germs, and lockjaw germs, and consumption germs, and black-plague germs, and some hundreds of other aristocrats, specially precious creations, golden bearers of God’s love to man, blessed gifts of the infatuated Father to his children — all of which had to be sumptuously housed and richly entertained; these were located in the choicest places the interiors of the Family could furnish: in the lungs, in the heart, in the brain, in the kidneys, in the blood, in the guts. In the guts particularly. The great intestine was the favorite resort. There they gathered, by countless billions, and worked, and fed, and squirmed, and sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving; and at night when it was quiet you could hear the soft murmur of it. The large intestine was in effect their heaven. They stuffed it solid; they made it as rigid as a coil of gaspipe. They took pride in this.

Their principal hymn made gratified reference to it:

Constipation, O Constipation,
The Joyful sound proclaim
Till man’s remotest entrail
Shall praise its Maker’s name”

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7 thoughts on “A Disagreeable Condition

  1. Nicola says:

    Reminds me of this music video:

    which explores man and nature (the “good”, the “bad”, and the very very “ugly”)

  2. Reblogged this on THE TICK THAT BIT ME and commented:
    Viral Pandas, a very interesting blog about the human-animal-internet connection, has a great post up today with an excerpt from Mark Twain’s “Letters from the Earth” concerning microbes and the story of Noah and the ark.

  3. tina says:

    to viral panda, the tick that bit me and mark twain (if you can hear me where ever you are now) great blogging! ahaha. seriously. i really want to reblog this..now i just have to figure out how. i guess firstly i will ask the both of you permission. that sounds like a good start (i am new to this blogging thing).
    “letters from the earth” is a most awesome piece of writing and way ahead of it’s time. go figure mark twain was writing about the some 10 trillion microbes that live in the human body. go figure.

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