Tuesday, May 17, 2005

On Spleens

So today we were learning about essays. One of the exercises was to come up with topics that you have no idea about, and explain them. In essence, bullshit your way through the essay. We were supposed to focus on a part of our body, so I chose the spleen. Enjoy.

On Spleens
Man, that crazy ol' spleen. He really gets the short end of the stick when it comes to the popularity of internal organs. The spleen enjoys quite a rep. After the heart, spleeny is probably the most oft cited organ. However, unlike his amorous cousin, the spleen is always portrayed in a negative light. Just how did this start? What's with all the spleen hate? Just what does a spleen do, anyway? All this, and more, awaits.

To begin, we must trek back to Ancient Times. The exact location has been lost for ages, but we know it was somewhere in that whole Europe/Asia region of the world. It was probably those limey Brits, actually. When angered, and seeking a way to express one's rage, people would launch into drunken tirades at the local pub, espousing their ire at any topic whatsoever, from politics to Fiefdom Idol. This was referred to as "venting one's spleen." Why was this specific turn of phrase coined? Why not "venting one's pancreas"? or "airing out one's gall bladder"? For the answer, we turn to the primitive science field of the time.

You see, after a major battle, there would be hordes of dead bodies all over the place. Lying in the sun like that, the bodies would get all bloated as the gases inside built up, until they would explode, leaving the ground strewn with organs and viscera. It was quite messy, and extremely unhygenic. To deter this, the doctors would wander the battlefield, looking at bodies for signs of puffiness. They would then stab the body in the abdomen, allowing the noxious humors a means of escape. It was obviously known the the reason for the bloating was that dread spirits were taking up residence in the body. Where else would these vile demons go but the spleen? Thus, the term "venting the spleen" was born. Their scientific principles were not entirely sound.

Over time, "venting the spleen" began to be associated merely with people being angry, and voicing their opinions about social situations. The most current form of this being the blog.

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