Friday, April 25, 2014

BOTOX, pantyhose and the Fountain of Youth

I’m not saying I want to be irradiated, but I’m just thinking.  Maybe it’s not such a bad thing.  At the very least, I foresee a call for human volunteers in the near future. 

See, the journal “Oecologia” is reporting that the forests around Chernobyl remain heavily contaminated with radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster; and the unexpected benefit is that they still look good.


In the journal, Tim Mousseau, co-director of the Chernobyl and Fukushima Research Initiatives at the University of South Carolina, states that 28 years after that explosion in the Ukraine, the tree trunks there have not decomposed at a normal rate.

I’m not sure I can say the same thing about myself after a quarter century with Mr. Plath.  I don’t mean to suggest he’s radioactive.  I’m just saying that I have to utilize mirrors and smoke; practice selective perception and reverse anorexia for the sake of my own self-esteem.  Happy thoughts.  La la la la la!  Myopia is my friend.

Mousseau goes on to say that "apart from a few ants, the dead tree trunks were largely unscathed…[they] seem unchanged” even decades after the catastrophe.

Hmmm…so radiated tree trunks were, in effect, preserved.  Unaffected by what we often call the ravages of time…  Typically, a fallen tree disintegrates in about 10 years…but these trees were protected from normal deterioration.

Um hmmm…

And I love nature!  It appears I could have been hanging out in the Ukrainian woods to retain my youthful self.

And there’s this:  How do you suppose those researchers came to verify their observations?  A double-blind survey using pantyhose, of course.

To find out what was happening — or, more accurately, what wasn't happening — the research team collected hundreds of samples of leaf litter from forest floors that were not contaminated by radiation.  And they stuffed those leaves into bags lined with panty hose!

Why jam the uncontaminated leaves into pantyhose, you ask?  To keep out the insects!  Duh!  Everyone knows pantyhose keep the bugs away!  

Of course, that’s not why we originally crammed ourselves into pantyhose.  We sucked it up and forced ourselves, like so much Jimmy Dean sausage, into that run-resistant, reinforced toe, active support, control top torturous “legwear” to, to…why did we wear pantyhose? 

Like Trappist Monks we punished ourselves Monday through Friday with those heat-producing, skin-pattern-inducing implements of self-flagellation.  Was it vanity?  Peer pressure?  Selfless devotion to scientific research?

Anyway, back in the Ukraine, the researchers distributed those nylon-lined bags of leaves around the Chernobyl area and waited nine months.  Just because. 

And according to the study, samples of leaf litter that were placed in the highly contaminated areas showed 40 percent less decomposition than samples that were placed in uncontaminated sites. 

That’s right; it’s an unexpected outcome of radiation poisoning.  The degree of decay was inversely proportional to the degree of radioactive contamination!  Or, as we might put it in Oklahoma, the more things get toxified, the better they look!

Kind of makes you want to sleep with your microwave, doesn’t it?

If I had known all those years, that by squeezing pine needles and deciduous debris into my Hanes Silk Reflections I could have preserved my formerly youthful and svelte self…  Oh, nostalgia!
Since I have slid past the threshold of youth, skittered right through middle age like a hockey puck on ice and now find myself clinging to the doorjamb of naturally decomposing organic material, I am ever on the lookout for anything, anything that will put me in league with a Ukrainian tree. 

Don’t click your tongue, Dear Reader.  I’m not so far out of the norm.  It wasn’t that long ago we were all feigning disbelief at the idea of sticking ourselves in the forehead with a syringe full of the botulinum toxin – AKA botulism, a lethal poison – AKA Botox.  Now a bunch of us Baby Boomers have “migraine headaches” and “need” the stuff for “medicinal purposes.”

So it’s not that far-fetched, this nuclear meltdown advantage.  You won’t laugh so loud when you wake up one day looking like the Portrait of Dorian Gray and I remain fixed in time at my current state of disintegration.  Ha!

At the very least, I’m going back to my L’eggs.