The hygiene hypothesis, in fable form
Cleanliness and sterility are all well and good, and of course we don’t want to be surrounded by excrement and effluvia, but you know what? In this new century, when it’s all pasteurize this, and filter-sterilize that, and launder this, and have an inspector certify the soundness of that… well, you know, me and the old lady, we grew up on the farm, and we didn’t know from all this hygienic rigmarole the academic doctors endorse, and we just might have been healthier and heartier than youngsters today. A little dirt don’t hurt.
So here’s an odd little humor piece from Life magazine of February 25, 1904 (Volume XLIII, Number 1118, page 179), which medical men found so apt that it was re-printed in the Chicago Medical Journal, the Medical Fortnightly, the Mississippi Valley Medical Journal, the Indianapolis Medical Journal, the Eclectic Medical Journal, the Doctor’s Factotum, the St. Louis Clinique, the Cleveland Medical and Surgical Reporter, and the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Alumni Report.
Happy New Year, symbolism of babies, and all that.
And while we’re at it, here’s an enlightening ad from the same issue of Life. Did you know that people who don’t drink beer seldom drink enough fluid of any kind? And that Schlitz is cooled in plate glass rooms? How has this wisdom been lost to the ages?