I like saltines a lot. I don’t keep them in the house because I’d go through sleeves in a sitting.

I like Coca-Cola, too. I hardly ever drink it, in deference to my teeth and sublime physique, but whenever I do I think it’s tasty stuff.


Years ago I heard an interview on public radio about disgust. The interviewee made the point that what we find disgusting is not always that far from what we find pleasurable. For example, she said, if you were sitting on the subway and the stranger next to you licked your face, it would be repulsive. But if it were your lover by candlelight, then… you know what, you can go to some other site for that.


Back to saltines and Coca-Cola. As I said, I really like them. If you told me I had to eat a week of meals of naught but both, I’d be pretty much fine with it.

And then the other day the Science teacher did this ingenious lesson. The aim was to illustrate the process of the digestive system. She had students crumble saltines and put them in a beaker with Coca-Cola. This mixture was then put through a several filters to illustrate the removal of liquid from the stomach and intestines. By the time students squeezed the mixture through the pantyhose with the hole (the, ahem, terminus), it looked like the contents of a diaper.

My powers of reason were no match for what I beheld. I really did feel slightly ill. Had you, at that moment, offered me a saltine or a sip of Coke, I would have refused either unless you also offered cash or harm.

Ah pleasure! Ah disgust!