So I was teaching my students about the word root of the word human the other day. You guys, it’s really cool. Did you know that the words human, humble, humus, hominid, humility, and humiliate all come from the root humus/homo, which means soil? Even linguistically, humanity belongs to the earth. I was very excitedly sharing all this, when one of my students pointed out something else. HOMINID SOUNDS LIKE VOMITED! Hot damn, did that get their attention. We spent the next few minutes writing brilliantly on such topics as when the hominid vomited humbly on the humus. Interestingly (I swear), humor comes not from humus but from humid, as it originally referred to humors, those lovely medieval fluids, and when one was in good humor, ones fluids were doing well.
I bring this up because mine are doing poorly. For the second year in a row, I am experiencing a non-viral, pre-Christmas stomach cleanse. I will spare you the details, except to say that last year I, er, hominid so hard I burst blood vessels in my eyes. This year is much more subtle, but I am beginning to feel a tradition coming on of involuntary Solstice fasting. Given that I really, really hate fasting, I guess if my body wants a break from digestion it has to get sick. One time in college I tried fasting in solidarity with striking janitors, and by eleven AM I was in tears on the phone with my mother. “Becca, eat,” she told me, and reminded me my stomach had early on learned the nickname Tyrant Tummy, since I could go from content to inconsolable in sports car speed when I got hungry. I ate a late breakfast, followed by lunch, and haven’t tried again since. So I don’t fast. I don’t skip meals. I eat my protein. And occasionally, just for variety I guess, I get sick.