Thursday, August 25, 2005

Eat your vegetables 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA woman wearing a green beret was shouting and cackling in the reference area. She was also waving a metal microscope over her head like a lasso.

"Ma'am, you're being very disruptive. Please keep your voice down, or you'll have to leave."

"Which voice are you talking about? I hear more than one."

"Whichever one is making the noise."

"O.K. I'll try. Hey - I'm a police officer!" She set down her microscope and pulled out a bus transfer. "See my badge?"

Another patron with a pronounced and distracting goiter complained to me about our video policy. I really didn't think goiters existed in this country, where it is standard practice to iodize salt, but this is the second one I have seen on a patron in the past month. Both of these patrons appeared homeless. I suppose it is possible to develop 3rd world nutritional diseases of this sort when you're living on the streets with a pure liquid diet of Night Train. A friend of ours was telling E about a childhood friend whose parents got divorced when he was around 8. His mother sank into a catatonic depression and he was left to fend for himself at home. He lived off of sugared cereals and hot dogs and after a few months of this diet of sugar and meat(?) developed scurvy. I bet his pediatrician hadn't seen that one in a while.

My freshman year, one of the frosh caught bubonic plague by playing with a squirrel on-campus. It was supposedly the talk of the Southern California disease reports for a while. (The patient's personality later dramatically fractured and she was diagnosed with multiple personality syndrome--surely not the clincal name--and sent home. But I don't believe that was related to the Plague.)
Goiters can also be caused by untreated hyperthyroidism, which affects millions of people (mostly women) in the United States. The cause is unknown. Both George Bush Sr., Barbra Bush and their dog Millie all had hyperthyroidism.
Grave's Disease also causes bulging eyes, though, and none of these people had that trait. That's why I suspected that it was nutritional.
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