Hello again, everybody! I’m flea. I post primarily at One Good Thing, but I also blog about sex at Neal Pollack’s Offsprung and write book reviews for my own site, Books Are Pretty, and at Dawn Price’s Sure Woman.
But that’s not enough, I don’t think, so here I am again, prepared to gross you out first thing on a Monday morning, before anybody’s had their coffee yet. Consider yourself warned.
Here we go: Many years ago I had a coworker that used to shrug off the pressure of the work week by spending her weekends blowing the reggae bands that booked gigs at a local Rastafarian bar. Me, I prefer weekend activities that don’t require as much effort, but I’m lazy like that.
A few months after she let this little nugget of information drop, (to everyone at work. During lunch.) she came to work on a Monday morning looking slightly under the weather, her face a bit puffy, her eyes red. As the week progressed, she got worse and worse. It was strenuously suggested by more than one person that she see a doctor, because her eyes had swollen almost totally shut and were starting to ooze. After the typical round-and-round discussion of the impossibility of a doctor’s appointment because health care is neither universal or provided by the company we worked for**, I finally begged her to make an appointment with the Chicago Women’s Health Center, a women’s reproductive health care clinic with a sliding pay scale, because I just had a feeling. And sure enough, the verdict came back swiftly and mercilessly: Gonorrhea. In her eyes.
Ladies and gentlemen, is there a more compelling reason to use condoms during oral sex? No. There is not.
You would think that because of horrifying situations like this, we would be knocking ourselves out to prevent today’s youth from having similar anecdotes to tell, but no. In fact, there’s a certain amount of buzz going around in the scientific world that biologists are thisclose to creating the first synthetic life form, a replica of a bacteria called Mycoplasma genitalium. This little bacterium has 517 genes, the shortest gene sequence in the entire animal kingdom.
How they are doing this, I think, is by stripping the bacterium of what they have determined to be non-essential genes, reducing it down to the simplest gene-sequence possible. Then a miracle occurs***, and then they’ll have built a completely synthetic organism using the minimum number of genes necessary to sustain life. Which is fascinating enough on its own, but is made even more so when you learn what the scientists are dealing with.
Do you know what Mycoplasma genitalium is? IT’S AN STD.
Yes. After all our efforts to eradicate the scourge of chronic itching and misery of various strains of the clap, not to mention the anguish of people everywhere who had to stand two feet away from someone when they confess that they’re suffering the ramifications of getting poked in the eye with an infected penis, we’re going to throw it all away and build robot VD.
I’m convinced this is a plot by the scientific community to get back at the football players that gave them ballbreaking wedgies in the locker room after P.E. Or cramping the style of those sexy motherfuckers that play the guitar and sing about smoking pot on the beach.
*Title provided by Linneaus.
**Next time your Republican comrades start going on about welfare reform and subsidized childcare and the free market and privatization of health care or whatever it is that they go on about, and how it’s okay because the poor choose to be poor (or stupid), remember this anecdote of a woman who ignored gonorrhea in her eyes because she couldn’t afford to get it treated. It’s all connected.
***I didn’t exactly understand the process here.
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