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February 22, 2011 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

REAL TALK – David Attlebro’s The Human Body

“Her body is a temple, I don’t give a fuck, I’m atheist” – Earl Sweatshirt

The human body is a bizarre and complex thing. But if you take away the skin, all you are left with is a gross pile of mushy organs, stringy veins, and this red goo which is really hard to wash out of carpet.

The more we dwell upon foolish notions of ‘beauty’, the more we move away from the truth of the matter, which is that we’re essentially all the same on the inside. We all have blood, which pumps through our veins, leading to the heart—A.K.A. the organ that makes you love the sultry tones of Michael McDonald. From the heart we get the beat of life, which comes in two forms: Latin Jazz, or Chicago Blues. These saucy beats help us to forget just how gross the rest of us truly is.

Don’t believe me? Think I’m mad? Are you thinking “goddamn, I wish I could stab this person with a spoon”? Well, the joke’s on you, because it’s really hard to stab someone with a spoon, and also because I have proof of just how gross we all are: the belly button.

The belly button (or navel) is something we take for granted, and why shouldn’t we? We all have one (with the exception of those who have had an umbilical hernia or gastroschisis) and the only real difference between them is whether they are ‘outies’ or ‘innies’.

However, there is much more to the belly button than merely poking it and making a “pop” noise. Tiny microbes grow inside the navel, and on the whole they appear to be benign, but they live in there, chillin’. Because our navels are relatively isolated, and it’s tricky to wash the entire thing, they are a place where microbes are safe to grow and prosper. In conclusion, your belly button is Smurf Village: deal with it.

In direct contradiction to everything I just said, no one actually knows entirely how the human body works (NO ONE!), but what we do know is quite a lot. Including the fact that certain things can be bad for your body.

In terms of alcohol and your stomach, alcohol can irritate the stomach to the point of inducing gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), ulcers and acid reflux. Prolonged exposure to alcohol can erode the stomach lining and cause chronic blood seepage into the stomach. If the individual is particularly unlucky, a vessel can rupture and cause major bleeding. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re having a cheeky drink every once in a while, but your squishy belly won’t last forever if you treat it with contempt.

Walking barefoot? Don’t. There are several types of fungus that attack the foot, these can result in itching and sometimes pain and scaling. Also it makes you look like a filthy hippy.

This may sound scary, but remember—the illnesses stated above are self-inflicted (and in the case of alcohol, cigarettes, and recreational drugs: really fun). So don’t think of your body as weird, gross, or ugly—it’s not. All it is (and all it ever will be, Botox or not) is a pile of pumping, heaving, wet organs in a skin sack. Just like everyone else’s.


Being horrified of your body is nothing new. David Cronenberg based a film career on it, and women’s and men’s magazines as well as advertising in general fund entire industries on it. As stated before, bodies are gross as hell. But even with all this ground so well-tread, I still find ways to find being in my body a shit-scary A&P show haunted house that never ends, because I’m stuck in it until I die. And to add insult to injury, there are very rarely snow cones involved.

We have been genetically programmed to find ideas of infection and invasion by foreign bodies generally icky and alarming. Fair enough, too—back in the Flintstones days, coming down with the flu meant you wouldn’t be able to violently dismember a gazelle with a chiselled hunk of obsidian and bring it home to the fam. I blame this reptile-brain reaction for the primal dread I feel when a tickle in my throat comes on, or I get a shaving nick accompanied by minor swelling. Every time I wince at an irritated follicle, the caveman in my head wants to tear off my lower jaw to stop a tide of disease from flooding my brain with diseased pus. I wish I could flay the inside of my gullet with a wire brush – really gouge that niggling cough out of there. Then I could clear my throat politely and get a bagel for lunch.

The same goes for super-common skin conditions that science can clear up in a week or so. Trying to stop myself from peering at my hands for new bumps or blemishes like a goddamn monkey is as easy as stopping the Mississippi river with a kitchen stool. But when you break it down, there are so many tiny interlopers that can live in and on your body that dwelling on them can turn you more than a little Howard Hughes. I say become the absolute opposite of a germophobe! Touch all kinds of surfaces, then cram your grubby little kid hands in your mouth! Prepare food on surfaces already dried with tomato juice, meat drippings and God knows what else! Eat a lot of dirt, all the time! What’s wrong with you? Where’s your pioneer spirit? Where is your Kiwi ingenuity?

Person-to-person contact is a whole other story. I would say avoid it entirely for hygiene reasons, but let’s be realistic—you’re a sexually-liberated, Skins-watching, try-anything-once student of life. The best we can do is throw a bunch of dental dams and assorted prophylactics at you and hope some of ’em stick. Honestly, whatever germs are in your make-out partner’s mouth should be the least of your worries. Keep your concern level at whether they have their (gender respective) piece wrapped up, and you’re away laughing, kids.

Real talk.

REAL TALK is a weekly show on the VBC 88.3 FM (Saturday 8-10pm) and a podcast which can be found on iTunes or at


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  1. Marilu says:

    Right on-this hleepd me sort things right out.

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