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Grossopedia: A Startling Collection of Repulsive Trivia You Won’t Want to Know!

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Grossopedia: A Startling Collection of Repulsive Trivia You Won’t Want to Know!
Rachel Federman


Loaded with hundreds of disgusting, repulsive, gruesome, and loathsome facts, this is by far the foulest collection of trivia around.

Try not to gag as your read about bad breath, bile, burps, ear wax, scabs, sneezes, snot, spit, and sweat. Avert your eyes or discover the truth about flesh-eating bacteria, maggots, sour milk, rotten fruit, and toe jam.

With gross-out facts about animals, the human body, the environment, cultures around the world, and the nasties of your very own home, you won’t be able to stop reading – though maybe you’ll wish you had!


Animal kingdom, including fire-ant nests and shark’s spiral poop

Human body, including bad breath, farts, pus, and rigor mortis

Around the house, including dead skin cells and pillow mites

History, including Black Plague and guillotine clean-up

Environment, including the amount of pee in public pools, litter in outer space, and sewage in oceans

Disgusting customs, including being buried alive, maggot-infested-cheese, and the Moose Dropping Festival

Medicine, including maggot therapy and uses of crocodile poop


For my fifth-grade teacher, Mr. McInerney, who pushed us way beyond our comfort zone in a magical classroom where we were encouraged to experiment, learn from failure, face our fears, and prioritize true growth over outward measures of success—an approach to teaching that was rare then and, thanks to dwindling funds for public education and current testing mandates, is now all but extinct.


Cover (#ua6c1d212-4501-5a72-9cf9-04b57d4c81b9)

Title Page (#u3da7f76f-e6e4-5358-a3fc-8d4f4064965a)

Dedication (#udb3a3538-a185-574a-b6fc-ff333c100cd3)


Bizarre Cuisine (#u8ba3e6e2-ce3e-59b2-a901-723014165a27)

Outlandish Animal Land (#u171850ac-fe51-5ab2-aef9-3630bb0f08de)

Wickedly Weird News (#ub6bbb089-6d72-5fa0-b743-76a918d983ce)

Fetid Festivals (#litres_trial_promo)

The Horrors of Modern Science (#litres_trial_promo)

To Each His Own (Disgusting Habits) (#litres_trial_promo)

Unnatural Wonders (#litres_trial_promo)

The Indecent Tourist (#litres_trial_promo)

Creepy Crawlies (#litres_trial_promo)

Icky History (#litres_trial_promo)

Around the (Roach-Infested) House (#litres_trial_promo)

Eco-Unfriendly (#litres_trial_promo)

Barbaric Bodies (#litres_trial_promo)

Farts & Culture (#litres_trial_promo)

Gross Rebellion (#litres_trial_promo)

Postscript: What is Disgust?

Selected Bibliography

Illustration Credits


About the Author

About the Illustrator (#litres_trial_promo)

Copyright page (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher

INTRODUCTION (#uc08c1ddc-2044-5e8d-aafb-e9eb857db89d)

I get really easily grossed out. So easily—and dramatically—in fact, that I used to faint because of it. The first time was when our amazing fifth-grade teacher, Mr. McInerney, mentioned that we’d be dissecting a sheep’s eye. Or maybe he just had a sheep’s eye in a jar of formaldehyde. I only heard the first part of the sentence, but I don’t think I myself ever laid eyes on the eye of the ewe.

I also lost consciousness briefly when he told us to collect cells to examine under the microscope by running a little wooden stick against the inside of our cheeks. I woke up to the sound of Mr. McInerney’s voice asking, “Are you with us?” I was, but it was touch and go from there—through junior high and most of high school. In chorus, I once fell off the back riser during a holiday show while the rest of the choir finished singing Billy Joel’s “And so It Goes.” I don’t even remember what it was that initially bothered me. My mom heard the thud of my head hitting the stage but didn’t realize I was missing until the end of the song. Another time, I ended up in the nurse’s office after reading a story in English class about a boy who swam underwater so long that his blood vessels burst.

Some people said what I had was a “real thing,” and that it even had a name: blood-injury phobia (see You Look a Little Pale (#litres_trial_promo),). Others just said I had a weak stomach. In biology lab, everyone around me wielded scalpels and seemed remarkably brave, while just I prayed for the bell to ring. I started to realize something funny, which was that hearing disturbing stories bothered me more than actually seeing something gross. It was my imagination, in the end, that really got the best of me.

After a while, the other kids started to look out for me. They let the teacher know when a news topic of someone finding a severed hand in the woods or Ozzy Osbourne chewing the heads off bats came up that maybe they should change the subject—either that or give me a pass to study hall. They’d tell me not to look at a slide showing a giraffe carcass being torn apart by leopards. Sometimes they caught me in time, and I put my head between my knees before I blacked out. Most of the teachers understood. I learned to get used to spinning rooms. And to sit by the exit signs.

Family members joked that after all that fainting, I’d grow up to be a surgeon. That didn’t happen. But I did grow up to write a book about blood, guts, gaping wounds, giant cockroaches, earthworm soup, flying mucus, belly lint, and dead bodies piling up on Mount Everest.

So here’s the million-dollar question: Did I faint during the writing of this book?

I did not—although that would have made for a good story. But the truth is, I finally outgrew the phobia when I realized that what actually made me faint wasn’t the sense of disgust or horror I felt when picturing the pile of severed limbs at Gettysburg—it was the fear that I would faint.

Here’s what actually happened: You faint when your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen. For some people, a drop in blood pressure is the body’s natural response to seeing blood or, in my case, hearing about it. Scientists aren’t sure why, though some think that it may have once been adaptive, causing people to faint in battle or during an attack, to be passed over for dead by the enemy. The drop in blood pressure leads to light-headedness and, if it persists, to fainting, where you end up in a horizontal position and blood levels are restored to your brain. So basically, fainting is the body’s way of correcting the oxygen deficit to the brain. When you think of it that way, it’s not as scary as it seems—as long as you don’t bang your head too hard when you land.

For me, fainting became a bad habit. When I heard about some guy getting a hole in his carotid artery, before I even had time to think about the blood spurting out, I started to panic about fainting. My blood pressure would drop, the room would spin, and away I’d go. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. To train myself out of that cycle, I had to stop worrying that I would faint. Eventually I did. Now I don’t even have to sit by the exit signs—but it took a while.

So that’s a good lesson for all of you out there who just can’t get enough of blood and guts or the ones, like me, who tend to feel a little woozy just hearing the plot of a Stephen King novel. The 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, nailed it when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s an interesting physiological phenomenon that the fear of something happening might make that very thing more likely to happen. The trick is not to be afraid of what might happen, and then chances are high that the thing won’t. Like making a mistake at your piano recital, failing a test, ruining a friendship, or letting down your teammates by missing a crucial goal.

In order not to fail, you have to be okay with failing. It’s paradoxical. But you can’t trick yourself into believing that it’s okay to faint, or fail, or fall down on the ice, or give a terrible speech. You can’t say, “Okay, yeah, it’s fine, no problem; I don’t mind getting a big giant F. Now, hurry up universe, Give me an A.” You have to really be okay with falling with a big, giant thud right in the middle of your solo piece at the end of the year ballet recital. Even if your crush is in the audience. Because, as long as you don’t get seriously hurt, it really is okay.

Luckily for now, all you have to do is read about gross horrible stuff in the comfort of your own living room with a nice fluffy pillow under your head. (Don’t give any thought to the fact that the pillow is teeming with dust mites.) Read about icky animals, killer insects, piles of earwax, hearts preserved in jars, and people swallowing live mice.

Let your imagination take you where hopefully your feet never will.

Read on, brave Grossophiles!

Why is caviar considered the height of gross food? We eat eggs all the time—on their own or in cakes, cookies, quiche, and in a million other places. Is the problem we have with caviar the number of offspring all in one place? Or the fact that they come from fish? The color? In South America, quail eggs are common—they’re smaller than the ones from chickens but taste essentially the same. Still you may find yourself turning your nose up if offered one on top of a hot dog in Columbia or pickled in Vietnam. Funny how much taste depends on custom and familiarity. Many Asian dishes, such as those that include canine, strike Westerners as barbaric; meanwhile we have no problem with chomping down on a cow, an animal treated as sacred in India. Still other dishes seem merely gross rather than cruel or disrespectful—you won’t see many in the Western world run to all-you-can-eat python, scorpion, dried jellyfish, or bear paw. (We’ll stick with the pupu platter!)

Protein Power
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