As it turns out, a woman in Iowa recently had to learn the hard way that ingesting a tapeworm for the purposes of weight loss is a terrible idea, lending more evidence to my theory that common sense is a trait disappearing in the human species.
A tapeworm is a parasite that attaches itself to your intestinal walls and lives off the food you eat. It can live for up to 20 years and grow to up to 50 feet long. It can lay tens of thousands of eggs and can require invasive surgery to remove. Plus, it’s exceedingly gross. It brings to mind images of the old home remedies I remember hearing about; of unfortunate peasants squatting over pails of warm milk waiting for the abomination to find it’s own way out. If it was a horror movie, I would say it’s in very poor taste. But it’s reality, and some people call it a weight loss alternative.
It is not my intention to gross everyone out, but it’s disgusting and I can’t help but think about it a lot.
Choosing a parasite over exercise is an impulse I can understand. We’re still struggling as a species to unlock the secret of using electricity to build muscle without effort, if late night TV commercials can be believed. Men take pills that promise to reverse their male pattern baldness, but warn that side effects include impotence. People inject botulism into their faces to erase wrinkles and end up unable to express human facial cues.
Why people make the choices they do is one of the questions that underlies all of literature. Attempting to understand actions that seem to have no explanation is an impulse that drives art and thought of all kinds.
Have you ever done something seemingly crazy for the sake of your image?
If you had a 10-40 foot tapeworm eating half your meals and laying eggs in your abdomen, what would you name it?
PS. For the love of God, do not do an image search for tapeworm.