Sunday, August 29, 2010

We could all be zombies

I think I’ve discovered the reason why I prefer lounging on the couch watching Netflix movies over mowing my half-dead yard: It’s due to a mind-controlling parasitic “do not mow this grass” fungus that has turned me into a lazy good-for-practically-nothing zombie.

That’s right. I said zombie.

(WARNING: This story contains really big scientific words that I’ve never used before. If you come to a word you’re unfamiliar with, do what I do and just substitute “watermelon” in its place. Nobody will know.)

From what I’ve recently read in the news, scientists have discovered a plethora (a whole heckofa lot) of parasites that have the ability to control the brains of its animal victims to help the spread of the parasites. For instance, the protozoan “Toxoplasma Gondii” makes rats love cat urine. When a cat pees, a rat infected with “Gondii” laps it up. The cat eats the rat. The cat lounges in sun with a full tummy. Cat pees. New rat slurps up pee. Cat eats rat. Oh, the cruelty of the “Toxoplasma Gondii” circle of life.

But if you think that cat pee stuff is bad, wait until you hear about the zombie ants. That’s right. I said zombie ants.

Using complete and utter mind control, the Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis fungus invades the – huh? No, I have no idea how to pronounce “ophiocordycps unilateralis.” As I was saying, the fungus with the big “watermelon” name invades little ants, sits dormant inside the little bug until it is in its last moments of life, then maneuvers its victim to bite the major vein of the underside of a leaf, thus allowing the fungi to release spores onto the leaf that will inevitably infect more ants – making more zombie ants.

How to Survive a Zombie Attack, by Acey Duecy
This is pretty scary stuff, isn’t it?

Now, if we extrapolate a wee bit, we can definitely conjecture that what happens to ant and rat brains could possibly happen in human brains. I’m not so sure that a fungus would ever cause me to like cat pee and bite the undersides of leaves, but there’s got to be a reason why I can’t stand yard work.

What if the ubiquitous chigger, upon biting down on the legs of an unsuspecting male humans, not only releases a chemical enzyme that causes almost uncontrollable itching, but the enzyme turns into a parasitic fungus that travels to the brain causing an irrational fear of mowing the yard – which is hearth and home to the chigger population.

Rational thinking would surmise that this is a simple act of self-preservation.

But what if, upon entering the family abode and declaring that no yard work will be done today, the female of the house – be it wife or mother-in-law – releases an invisible airborne intoxicant that seeps into the male blood stream and beguiles his brain into thinking that mowing the yard is better than anything his feeble little brain can think of – and you know what I’m talking about.

In my mind, the meeting between the chigger-induced fungi and the female-induced intoxicant sets up an epic battle over the reasoning power of the unsuspecting male brain, thus explaining why sometimes, when I’m out in the yard, I just walk around in a mindless stupor, not knowing where to begin, but praying that someone will come along and mow the yard for me while I sit on the porch drinking a big glass of sweet tea.

Boy, that was a long sentence. But no worries, I’m almost done.

This is science, folks. Proven, verified, established and confirmed science done by researchers who went to big-named expensive colleges because they could afford to, and studied such things as mind-controlling fungus so we little people can have just one more thing to worry about when we go to sleep at night.

Will a mind-controlling microorganism creep into my mouth while I sleep at night, causing me to crave brussel sprouts covered in ranch style dressing for breakfast?

Will I wake up with fungi growing in my ears, causing me to long for a vintage “Best of ABBA” CD?

Will I ingest a burly clump of bacteria hidden in a bowl of Jiffy Pop Popcorn that will give me an uncontrollable fear of females dressed in leather?

Oh, it’s a cold, cruel zombie world in which we live.

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