Digestive knowledge

Wegs and I are eating breakfast. Both she and I order garlic chicken and a milkshake each--I have vanilla, she has mocca. While we're finishing, she tells me, "I really don't get it...how some people would think it dirty to share the same straw or drink on the same glass."

"Me, too," I tell her, and thus begins my lecture. "And you know what? I think that attitude springs from the utter lack of knowledge that the digestive system employs strong acids to break down food and at the same time, kill those microbes. Those people need to study digestion in detail." It's a crisp new morning, and we're talking about gastric juices.

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Later in the afternoon, Ate Lavinia motions me to go with her. "Why?" I ask.

"Let's buy dirty ice cream," she tells me. I find the idea exciting, and the prospect of eating something cold cannot be ignored.

Paul overhears us. "What? Don't eat dirty ice cream." He looks shocked--appalled even, at how we manage to risk our health for the sake of a momentary gastronomic delight. "It's dirty. You never know how that ice cream is made." This is the same Paul who has cautioned me not to eat bagoong, alamang, among other foods prepared through fermentation or by the action of maggots.

I repeat the lecture I gave Wegs earlier. "Paul, you do realize that those microbes are necessarily eradicated as a result of the disruption of their cell membranes due to very strong digestive acids. It's perfectly safe, I tell you--that ice cream. Our system is designed to counteract unwanted bacterial action anyway."

He pauses, then looks at me questioningly. "Eh, Lance, what about amoebiasis?"

My world crashes, my lips are shut. Then follows the brief moment of shameful silence. Me and my big mouth, I tell myself.

Then off we go to mamang sorbetero.

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