Diabolical Diarrhea

This World Health Day, I've got something on my mind: Diarrhea.

It may be one of the most visceral words in the English language. All it takes is four little syllables, and my mind's eye is immediately taken with images of splattering, squirting and sputtering explosions. It's a juvenile blend of disgust and delight that calls forth squeals of laughter; I suddenly find myself in the backseat of the car doing Mad Libs with my sister, making razzberries on my arm, or hoping that another member of my Oregon Trail family will get sick and die from dysentery (even though, as it turns out, they're not actually the same thing).

While it's called Montezuma's Revenge for a reason, the burning squirts can also be a lot of fun. Take the time I told my sister's entire 5th grade class that she was home sick with explosive diarrhea (well, don't take it, but check out the guest blog I wrote about it for DefeatDD.org).  Or the old children's song about it--you know, "Diarrhea, Diarrhea"?  As it turns out, that song not only lives on in our memories, but is enjoying an internet renaissance at The Official Diarrhea Song blog. In fact, they have dozens of original verses for your singing pleasure and a 5-step guide to help you craft the perfect stanza. Three of my favorites:

When you don’t feel like a winner and your butt blows out your dinner: Diarrhea, diarrhea.

When you’re lounging by the pool and your ass begins to drool: Diarrhea, diarrhea.

When you're miles from anywhere, and your bowels just don't care: Diarrhea, diarrhea.

Disgusting AND hilarious, right? Yet in many parts of the world, it's no laughing matter. In fact, 4,000 children will die from diarrheal disease today, as this poignant WaterAid video points out.


So what can you do about it?

Learn more. Visit DefeatDD.org or WaterAid for information and to get involved in the great work they're doing to bring effective, sustainable sanitation solutions around the world.

Wash your hands. Whether at home or abroad, hand washing with soap is the most cost-effective healthcare approach available, preventing the spread of disease and--BONUS!--making your fingers smell nice.

Spread the word! It's not hard to start a dialogue about diarrhea. Try posting it to your Facebook, Tweeting it, or starting an office sing-along of the old schoolyard song. At the very least, it'll be good for a laugh.

Wishing you all the best this World Health Day and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner