Wednesday, July 15, 2015

having a blast

On Monday, I went to the Seoul campus of Dongguk University to pick up my mother's death certificate, which my brother had mailed to me. Once my business on campus was done, I walked downhill all the way over to Gwangjang Market to see about buying myself some Metamucil. It was after 7PM, so many of the stalls at the market were closing down, but the big omnibus stalls—the ones selling a weird and eclectic collection of Western products from armpit deodorant (nearly impossible to find in regular Korean shops) to US Army MREs to large packs of peanut M&Ms—were still going strong.

I went to the largest such stall and hunted around for Metamucil; didn't find it, but I did see some plastic cans of unrefined psyllium fiber. I had bought a can of that stuff back when I was teaching at Sookmyung University (2005-08), and it was horrible—like trying to drink mushy sawdust. Metamucil, at least, is fine-ground and flavored with a Tang-like orange drink, so it's a bit more palatable. The big stand didn't have what I wanted, so I did a 180 and looked at a smaller omnibus stand. Lo and behold, there was an off-brand can of orange-looking fiber powder. When I saw the brand name, Exchange Select, I knew this was the US Army's house brand—the sort of thing you'd pick up at a commissary. I paid W16,000 for the can, which was a bit expensive, but I was happy to tote the product home with me: this would be my first decent fiber in months. I looked forward to the return of gastric regularity.

I should note, before I go further, that the Korean Costco sells its own brand of "fiber" (see here), but that stuff proved to be a horrible, disgusting, chemical-y mess. I'm not sure what that gunk was, but it tasted and felt like powdered plastic—nothing at all like natural psyllium. I've still got that Costco can; it's sitting in my cupboard. I'll keep it for emergencies, but to be honest, I hope never to use it again.

Back to now. Once I got back to my studio, I gleefully ripped open my off-brand Metamucil's seal, dumped five heaping spoonfuls of the magic dust into a my tea mug, filled my mug with water, stirred, and glorped the whole thing down.

The effect on my ass was swift and sure. The following morning, I felt so regular that I skipped my ritual shit before trundling off to work. (Irregularity had been creating a constant urge to shit.) But once I got to work, I must have pooped four separate times throughout the day. It was getting embarrassing. Normally, I can dump in five spoonfuls of regular Metamucil and not go through this nonsense, but I guess the Army brand is more hardcore. Tonight, I put only three spoonfuls of pixie powder in my mug. I will say this, though: when you've got that much fiber in your system, your shit comes out firm and torpedo-like, and you can wipe your asshole until it sparkles using very little toilet paper. This is, I think, one of the ways in which we can dial down our global paper consumption: get everyone on fiber so we can just pinch our loaves cleanly and wipe almost not at all.

I can't tell you how awesome it is to get back on track, intestinally speaking. I do try to eat fibrous foods, but nothing seems to have quite as palpable an impact as Metamucil (or, in this case, the US Army's analogue). I'm already a much happier man.


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