“Think Outside the Toilet Plume: Nix Those Hidden Hidden Health Hazards,” by David Guaspari

Dec 15th, 2021 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Like Thick‑Tailed Spitting Scorpions biding their time under rocks in the Transvaal scrubland, Hidden Health Hazards lurk in every nook and most crannies of our environment. Steadily increasing in range, stealth, and lethality, they have also become ever more accessible, affordable, and fun—leaving scientists at a loss to explain why anyone is still alive.

But take heart. Simple lifestyle changes can improve your chances of lasting long enough to pass on your genes and the title to your rent-controlled apartment. You, as a reader of this journal will already be well informed about, for example, the Hidden Health Hazards of bathrooms—not just toilet plume but floss burn and moisturizeritis. You will have signed the online pledge to cleanse your system with a bathroom fast, a healing three-month abstention from the porcelain palace. Congratulations on some great first steps! But Thick‑tailed Spitting Scorpions aren’t the only lurkers in the Transvaal scrubland. Also lying in wait are the hidden Hidden Health Hazards. What are they? How to spot them? Let’s get started.

Kale breath: Endemic among, but not restricted to, vegans. Science is only beginning to understand the health threat posed by vegan effluvia, an inevitable byproduct of attempting to compost oneself while still (technically) alive.

Improperly disposed lint rollers: An ecological witches’ brew begins to fester on a lint roller from the moment it makes its first pass, whether to pick the dandruff off your letter sweater or tidy up after a Brazilian. The International Solid Waste Association currently endorses only two disposal methods: mix with kitty litter and double‑wrap in Kevlar; alternatively, microwave on high for 30 minutes, then dice and serve with light tahini dressing (vegan). Never burn in an open pit.

Credit card receipts fished from the dryer: These little wads of cellulose, easily mistaken for breath mints, present a serious choking hazard. Empty all pockets before loading your machines. Never eat anything found on a lint screen.

Medicines containing nitroglycerin: The nitroglycerin in medications used to treat angina and/or anal fissures is indeed the chemical that gives dynamite its pep, although arms manufacturers will have taken care to idiot‑proof their products with accident‑reducing stabilizers. Corporate news media persistently downplay reports of exploding angina patients, not to mention detonations during topical treatment for anal fissure, a condition painful enough to begin with. Drug interactions: Do not mix with blasting caps. Precautions: Avoid sudden blows or other physical shocks. Do not jackhammer, professionally or recreationally, for one hour after taking medication.

Decaying software: Faintly acrid brown sludge oozing from a hard drive or USB port is discharge from rotting software and/or festering piles of unarchived email. North Korean researchers have claimed success at distilling this software mash into a refreshing cocktail (vegan) with mild hallucinogenic properties; the only by-product of the process is an inert residue that can be recycled into single-use plastic grocery bags.

Refrigerator magnets: Suburban refrigerators have become loci of intense magnetic fields that can disrupt healing bracelets and disorient migrating birds. Charitable solicitations should be left unopened, mixed with kitty litter, and double-wrapped in Kevlar—or, if an envelope is breached, nothing but the scratch pads and return‑address labels should ever be removed.

On board? Great, but you’re not yet done. A consciousness limited to Hidden and Hidden Hidden Health Hazards may persist long enough to recoup its FICA payments, but the path to true enlightenment requires mindful awareness of hidden Hidden Hidden Health Hazards (H5), to achieve the optimal state of Level 8 Health Hazard Operating Thetan. The Fivefold Way, our self‑study course in H5, is now available in a modestly priced online version. Check out the free demo to get the straight scoop on exposure to vintage comedy LPs, overuse of the passive voice, and the meaning of “convenience fee.”


David Guaspari was trained as a pure mathematician and considers himself to be, of all post-19th century mathematical logicians, the funniest. In addition to technical papers, he has published fiction, essays, humor, and reviews, and has had plays performed in states totaling 313 electoral votes as well as five foreign countries. A member of the Dramatists Guild, he lives in Ithaca, New York.

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