Urine: It does a body good (and is good on your body)
by Steve Williams (column Prolapsed)
as published in the Maneater (University of Missouri student paper)
September 16, 1997
Many of you were not here to appreciate it, but the city of Columbia was paid a visit this summer by some very distinguished guests. Yes, indeed, Gwar graced our presence at the Blue Note with their melodious ballads and philosophical lyricism. The show was evidently a huge success, leaving many fans cheery and gleeful. To this day, I can assure you that most of them are probably skipping to class while humming the tunes to Carnival of Chaos, This Toilet Earth or Phallus in Wonderland.
Although I am rather unfamiliar with these 'Dantes of degradation', I will say that I do admire their creativity. In fact, I've been told that one of the caveats of attending a Gwar concert is being sprayed with urine. For most people, being showered with someone else's excretions is an unfathomable event oftentimes punishable by a good ass-beatin'. Nonetheless, urine isn't the repulsive fluid for which it has been so wrongly accused.
Urine is essentially made from the waste products that circulate in the bloodstream. The kidneys are instrumental in the synthesis of urine where they act as liaisons between the bloodstream and the urinary tract. As blood flows through the kidneys, it is filtered through very small strainers that only allow for the passage of water and tiny molecules. Any filtered molecules that can be reused by the body are recognized by the kidney and reabsorbed into the bloodstream. The resultant urinary tract mixture is a combination of water and waste.
Doctors who make a living out of studying urine and diseases of the kidney are called nephrologists. Formerly known as "Piss Prophets," these 'wizards of wizzing' were not so named for their urinary eulogies. Rather, respect for this profession arose from the fact that many diseases could be diagnosed simply by drinking one's urine. Of particular consideration was the diagnosis of diabetes. In diabetes, the body has problems getting sugar, or glucose, into cells. Blood glucose levels can therefore reach very elevated proportions. When blood is filtered at the kidneys, some of this glucose reaches the urinary tract. Consequently, a Piss Prophet could easily diagnose someone with diabetes if their urine tasted sweet.
Although the practice of sipping urine has essentially lost its utility with the development of sophisticated medical technology, many of my medical professors have insisted that I learn this art. Evidently, they reserve this technique for those "special" medical students like me.
In addition to glucose, many other agreeable substances can be found in urine. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is one such substance. HCG is a hormone that is found in the urine of pregnant women. This hormone becomes present very early in pregnancy as it is synthesized by the growing fetus. In fact, HCG is the substance detected in all early home-pregnancy tests.
I could go on and on about the innocuous properties of urine. Suffice it to say, the members of Gwar will be most disappointed now that the benign nature of urine has been revealed. Therefore, as a consolation for ruining the effect of their show, I would like to suggest that Gwar begin hosing its audience down with Zima. Unlike urine, that stuff tastes like crap.
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