An Aside On FCB’s: The Plague, Caveats, and The Caveat Plague

There is a plague. It has wiped out four-fifth’s of our people for the past three generations; perhaps more. This plague is spread by eating food fertilized by human feces. On a few occasions, our people have contracted it by men putting their boots–which have been walked in the feces-fertilized gardens–onto the table. Our people don’t know that our food is poisoned when it is fertilized by human excrement, but they have noticed those few occasions when men’s boots were on the table there was sometimes plague. That is because it is an abnormal occurrence. Conversely, they don’t notice the E.coli already in their food because it is reliably present.

If I were counseling these people, all my efforts would be to remove human feces from the fertilization process because I know how old wives’ tales get propagated, and I know how deeply people invest in their pet (and petty) superstitions. Therefore I would never mention shoes-on-the-table as a source of plague except in a known, specific, instance because–while five out of one hundred men put E.coli on the table with their boots–one hundred out of one hundred people are eating food poisoned in the field.

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11 thoughts on “An Aside On FCB’s: The Plague, Caveats, and The Caveat Plague

  1. According to this documentary (highly entertaining) human excrement was actually used for fertilizer during the Middle Ages, and presumably before. It still is in poor countries. Of course it was just poured into city streets as well.

    Coinciding with our modern idiocy, a Google search for “human waste as fertilizer” reveals that there are a large number of knuckleheads today who want to return to it. Because, like, green, bro.

  2. It works fine if you compost it in an oxygen-rich environment first. But if you spread it raw…. yeah. You’re going to kill a lot of people. I doubt people in the Middle Ages knew of such things (nor did they have the machinery to oxygenate a cesspool), but these days it’s inexcusable.

    Speaking of excrement (never thought I’d write that), you’d think women (?) like kappasweet over at Dalrock’s would invent more believable stories to support their case. I mean, come on, (wo)man!

  3. I just read the exchange following Ken’s post, so I feel much enlightened all of a sudden. The disheartening thing is that Ken smelled the shit on his food and proceeded to blame his own boots between bites. Except in his case the shit came not from the field but from someone coming into his kitchen and taking a dump in the serving dish (heh).

  4. I don’t read Darlock as much anymore (sorry Darlock! It is my fault not yours since your work is excellent). But I have to say I find these posts the most frustrating since they lack context.

  5. It works fine if you compost it in an oxygen-rich environment first.

    For anyone who watched that movie “The Martian”, this is what Matt Damon’s character did to survive. He went into the biohazard and removed all the human waste, all the feces that was collected there by his former pod mates before they abandoned him. He opened them up one bag at a time, then he poured their feces into a bucket and added Martian soil and water and stirred it up, letting all the oxygen in his life pod get at it for as long as he could. Kind of like a super accelerated, machine driven, composting. Then he took the compost and carefully planted chunks of raw potatoes. And of course (producing just enough water and excess carbon-dioxide for nutrients), they grew wonderfully.

  6. @GKC

    In this case, I don’t want there to be any context…at least not the original. The moral has a wider application. For example: It applies in raising children. A man doesn’t need to point out Mom’s errors as a foil when he’s trying to correct the kids.

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