Like many humorous anecdotes, this article is mired in excrement. You see, last week, myself and several other well-intentioned, although less well-restrained biology students were tasked with generating a topic for a research project. While other groups were debating the merits of studying tree density (deemed by our group to be too boring), foraging patterns of squirrels (too great a risk of contracting some horrific disease bent on turning us into feral mer-people) or the difficulty of smuggling decadent chocolate cookies from Westlawn Dining Hall (impossible), we decided that the best course of action was to study the nutrient content of our feces.This odorous topic was brought up when one group member, lamenting their lack of a quality stool over the past months, wondered if perhaps their steady diet of salad, pizza and “Fusion” (presumably consisting of Sriracha-slathered sloth sirloin and Vegemite, an Australian concoction of old yeast and bad memories, as I’m led to believe) had something to do with their lack of consistency. Being the loving, scientifically minded and, yes, slightly immature fellow I am, I agreed to the topic.
The first hurdle involved in our highbrow and plugged-nose research project was to get the topic approved by our professor of biological and environmental science, the venerable Dr. Ryan Sensenig (aka “Dr. Sensation,” or “King Torpor,” for some reason unbeknownst to me).
Being the studious folks we are, we emailed Sensenig with our number one (or, should I say, number two) idea as well as an alternate, much less interesting idea that involved less fun, a lower risk of E. Coli and, you guessed it, no feces. Naturally, we expected a response saying, “let’s try something else,” or “that sounds potentially dangerous to your health,” or “you guys are disgusting, please transfer out of my class.” However, when the reply arrived, there was not a single reference to excrement, feces, poop, Justin Bieber or anything of that nature.
Surely we had missed something in the email. Figuring that Sensenig had likely hidden a secret message within the text of the email, we read up on codes and scoured the message for any hidden clues.
However, the most coherent phrase we came up with was a very cryptic “Goat cheese tastes excellent on a light salad.” Whether Sensenig’s taste in research ideas will ever get Feta, we don’t know, but what we have gleaned from these forays in connecting the lab and the restroom (a necessary connection, if you ask me) is this: even if something’s never been dung before, don’t let anyone inhibutt your creativity.