Kids have always known it. Rednecks and the rural have long embraced it. Urban hipsters are stumbling upon it by accident. Not only is dirt wholesome, it’s healthy.
Living according to the oppressive saying, “cleanliness is next to Godliness,” can not only lead to compulsive behavior, but it can reduce you to a 98-pound weakling. For any of you yankees who still beg to differ, even the New York Times has agreed for years (click here for a story on babies eating dirt, and here for dirt and allergies).
So go ahead. Sterilize everything. Dip everything in a commercial chemical bath before consumption. And keep on sneezing your sterile snot into your precious sanitary facial tissues while the rest of us gain beneficial microbes and strengthened immunity from indulging in the sacred 3-second rule (or 60-second rule, or the universal “trash-cookie” policy).
So for those of you who’ve complained about dropping a popsicle in the dirt just to have your parents say something like, “it’s extra nutrients” feel blessed you had parents who loved you. If you have children of your own, for God’s sake, love them equally. Love them enough to let them eat dirt.
Okay, maybe a lost and found lollipop from the playground is going too far. Sure, you don’t have to let them suck on greasy bicycle chain links or chew on cigarette butts (all of which my children have done and survived). But at least let them suck on some rocks from the back yard or chew on bark.
While sand isn’t the most comforting material in a diaper (pre-digestion or post), its long-term benefits probably outweigh the short-term abrasions.
And if you can’t make space to grow your own vegetable garden, at least pick up some fruits and vegetables from your local farmers market. (They’re not just for yuppies, grippies and hipsters). The chance of getting E coli. from a dirty, local farmer is far less than from a corner-cutting mega-agri-industrial. And even the clean, local farmer will leave much more beneficial dirt on the crops.
So give the hand sanitizer a rest this summer. Take another lesson from the American Redneck and eat a little dirt. Enjoy the back of your neck getting dirty and gritty, and enjoy good heath. Salut!