Anecdotal Evidence: Two Grossnesses

Excerpt from mail sent in 1998

Prepping an exterior stairway for a new coat of paint, I sanded its surface. I held the sandpaper in my hand. After perhaps 15 minutes of this, I noticed that my hand was hurting, as if it had been chafed. I wondered if the sandpaper was hurting me. I extracted my hand from the paper, looked at my hand. Ugh. It was obvious what had happened. My hand, my wrist--both were covered with red. They were covered with sawdust, and that dust was red with blood. Oh no.

I poked my finger at my hand. Some of the dust brushed off. There was no blood underneath. Oh yeah. I was sanding a red-painted surface. There was no blood. Just little particles of red paint. I was fine. Oh. Oh.

Kneeling on the floor of my closet, picking up dirty laundry and putting it into my basket, I saw something strange on the floor of the closet. It looked like a little clothes hook, something you might screw into a wall, except that instead of a circle-hook shape, it was more square--there were a couple of right-angle bends in it. I picked it up. Strange, its surface didn't feel like metal or wood. I shuddered and dropped it. I didn't know why I had shuddered and dropped it. I picked it up again. Started to bring it up close to my face, shuddered and dropped it.

I picked it up again, using some kleenex, got a closer look. It was a millipede, dead, nearly straight except for the two 90-degree bends. I wondered if my fingers had recognized the feel of chitin, and shuddered and dropped before the impulse even reached my brain.

I wondered if my dirty laundry had killed the poor thing.


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