Like the hand-off of responsibility for services from Cape Canaveral to Houston Mission Control – POP, the umbilical detaches. What did MY delivery team do? Shout “Got a match?” and slap my mother’s face, er… my buttocks.
First lesson: REMEMBER TO BREATHE!
Take a deep breath of that thin blue line between the earth and space – live dangerously. So many celebrities, infamous and notable humans are making headlines nowadays by forgetting to breathe in one way or another, whether by huffing DHMO dihydrogen monoxide or overdosing in Hydroxylic Acid. You can catch some clown near a helium balloon while impressing a lovely lady by inhaling & reciting “follow the yellow brick road” in higher pitch through less dense gas, but it’s funnier when they replace their oxygen supply with helium long enough to pass out, tumble to earth and crunk a bloody gash in their eyebrow and when you roll him over and resuscitate him with mouth-to-mouth revived only to move his hands all over his body while bursting “Stop tickling me, stop tickling me!” O.K. my mistake, but Ruth van Empel was cute and getting this scar was worth it. At least it’s funnier when I look back on it, for it must have been terrifying to be Ruth and think “Oh my God! How am I going to explain the body?”
DHMO is the top of the list, number one killer among all Disney theme parks, resorts, cruise ship and other properties combined. Guests experience a far greater risk of death, by several orders of magnitude, from DHMO inhalation by just standing around being stupid than they would ever by enjoying a roller-coaster thrill.
Whitney Houston, Rodney King and Michael Philbin, son of a Green Bay Packers coach, were all determined without question that the cause of death was DHMO, the only questions remain how much Xanax, alcohol, or marijuana was also an influence. But one doesn’t need additional intoxicants to be stupid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day about ten people die unintentionally from DHMO. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. It ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.1 It is a huge problem, more than 50% of victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries).1,2 These nonfatal injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).3,4
Admittedly, one needs to be incredibly stupid to forget to breathe. But one hardly needs to be idiotic at all to accidentally slip in a puddle of it, then knock oneself out and drown by inhaling it – a depth of only two inches is all that is needed. But to truly understand DHMO let’s breakdown Dihydrogen Monoxide – that two hydrogen (white semi-spheres in the diagram above) for every one oxygen (red in the diagram.) That Hidden Mickey shape forms a common and abundant compound widely unregulated by government agencies — H2O.
This first installment of the User-manual for the human body reminds us to breathe. And ends with two quotes from bodies which have achieved being human. The first from my grandmother who is alive at age 101 “Every day above ground is a good day.” [I asked her “What do you want for your birthday?” She screamed “A coffin!”] and the second the reply to a news journalist interviewing a 110 year old man asking the secret to his longevity “Don’t stop breathing.”
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. [cited 2012 May 3]. Available from: URL: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars.
- Laosee, OC, Gilchrist, J, Rudd, R. Drowning 2005-2009. MMWR 2012;00(00):p-p. (NA)
- Cummings P, Quan L. Trends in Unintentional Drowning: The Role of Alcohol and Medical Care. JAMA, 1999; 281(23):2198-2202.
- Spack L, Gedeit R, Splaingard M, Havens PL. Failure of aggressive therapy to alter outcomes in pediatric near-drowning. Pediatric Emergency Care 1997; 13(2):98-102.
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