Gross Up Close

My friend Kris, got me a present. Two presents actually. The first was a USB microscope. He had seen how much I enjoyed playing with his: (putting it on my keyboard to see all the weird gunk and hairs and garbage that sits undetected between the keys and the cavities beneath them, seeing how nothing in this world is actually smooth, checking out the seemingly impossible intricate weave patterns in ordinary clothing), so he got me one of my own. The second gift he gave me was knowledge or, rather, the burden of knowing. Knowing too much about what I am; what WE are. What horrible things; what pulsating, undulating barrels of wretched, oily hideousness our bodies are. I’ve seen too much. Like the man who stood on the edge of the void and saw only the blackness within him staring back, I know too much.

potter and daughter podcast logo hijink ensue

When my Patreon reaches $2000/month I’m going to release a new podcast where upon I interview my 7 years old daughter as she reads through the Harry Potter series. It’s called Potter And Daughter and it’s awesomefreakinadorableashell! More details HERE.

The first thing you do when someone hands you a super powerful, digital microscope hooked up to a laptop is put it on your arm. You think, “Wow! My skin is so textured and my hairs are HUGE and… what… what’s that?” You see a weeping pool of bright red blood, surrounded by a layer cake of craggy, almost transparent chips of skin. You quickly remove the microscope to see how much longer you have to live, only to discover that this wellspring of erupting platelets and plasma is just a tiny red dot. Not even an injury. Just a dot. You put the microscope back and once again are greeted with the intricate carnage of what it is to be man. All day, every day we are just a collection of gaping sores, spilling out our vital fluids all over the place.

From our vantage point, four to six feet in the air, so far removed from all things tiny and precise, we don’t often see just how FUCKING RIDICULOUSLY GROSS we all are. But that was just a little blood and torn skin. What about my face? What’s going on in the pits and crevices of the visage that I present to the world? On the thing that is, more than anything else, me? Turns out it’s a GODDAMN HORROR SHOW. The reason I didn’t draw what Joel is seeing on the screen in the panels above is that I want you to be able to sleep tonight, or any night in the future between here and eternity. The best lesson I learned from “The Knowledge” is that nothing we do matter. We are too big and dumb and slow to actually effect anything on this planet and we are too tiny and frail and insignificant to effect anything off of it. I came upon this ultimate clarity when I saw my face under the microscope, saw the macabre nightmare that was me, washed it as best as I could then came back and saw how futile my efforts were. I might as well have used a garden hose to put out a wildfire. I’m gross, you’re gross, we’re all gross and then we die and the Universe doesn’t even notice.

Calling all Whovians with holes in their ears! Just look at these Dalek earrings my wife made! They’re in her Etsy store and ready to EXTERMINATE your… lack of perfect ear jewelry?

dalek earrings etsy science and fiction

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  1. Yeah, I don't even like looking at my pores in the magnifying mirrors they have in hotel bathrooms. I definitely don't want to see the creeping horror that is my skin any closer than that. There are some things man was not meant to see…

  2. Can you link to this horrifying product? Just so I can look at it for science and tell myself I'll never ever (maybe possibly) buy it?

  3. I like to pretend I'm smart, but I still routinely hurt myself doing dumb things. Fondue, for instance. "Careful, it's literally boiling cheese." Nope. And more than once, too.

    Using that information, do you want to guess how many microscopic insects I just saw? Skin -> skin disease -> biting bugs that cause disease. The bedbug was particularly horrifying. And spiders…. Joel, I blame you. For spiders. And an internet that has up close pictures.

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