The Huffington Post story was headlined, “NASA Discovers New Life: Arsenic Bacteria With DNA Completely Alien From What We Know”
The words “completely alien” are incendiary, because anything alien is really degrees of differences in colors, or shades of grey. After reading that story that NASA has discovered a new life form that is “unlike any other living lifeform on the planet – from the simplest plant to the most complex mammal”, I felt a great sense of hope. I am not alone. I am not just a black sheep after all. This newly discovered lifeform survives off arsenic, known to be toxic to all other life forms. GFAJ-1 (a microbe that is a member of a common group of bacteria, the Gammaproteobacteria).
When I was a kid I loved eating the apple cores my mom threw out whenever she made pie. Later on I learned that apple seeds and other stone pitted fruits (peach, nectarine and plum) have naturally occurring arsenic. I still chew on the pit till it splits open and exposes its soft almond-tasting seed.
This story brings to mind my Halloween costume. I was Poison Fairy. The idea of the costume literally was a bulb that turned on a half hour before going to work. The incentive to dress up was a $100 VISA gift certificate. The fun of it was to come up with an idea that would cost me nothing more than resourcefulness and imagination. (The night before I had the idea of going as Woody Allen’s character in the movie Sleeper, but I couldn’t find a pair of “IRS” type glasses at the thrift store. That costume would be fun to put together for next year.)
That morning I also had to make an emergency trip to the vet to havedog’s floppy ears drained of blood. She had hematoma. After a haranguing experience with a cab company I got home in time to shower. “Hmmm… what to wear? what to wear?” I pondered as I shampooed and scrubbed away. This meditative moment gave birth to nada.
I flung open my closet door and saw a sea of black clothes: black t-shirts from rock concerts, black jeans, black or dark blue motorcycle gear. I push to the back and saw this sparkly green ball gown. “Oh this…” I meant to tear it apart and use the material for curtains. I pulled it out into the light.
Possibilities: I have a shiny strappy silver high-heels and shimmery sequined purse. I can go as a princess. Nah… ho hum boring. Then out of the blue a flash: “Poison Fairy!” I have a bottle of “Poison” (a la Christian Dior) and vase full of Thistle thorn flowers. I slapped on some thick make up and got dressed.
The gown was at a yard sale from a young English gal who was leaving LA to go home. When I told her about my plan for the dress her pretty face fell to a sad expression, “Oh… Maybe you could try to tear it at the seams so it doesn’t ruin the dress, in case you decide to put it back together again. I meant to wear it to a party as a fun thing, but there was never an occasion.” I bought the dress for $2 and it hung once (intact in its form) against the window pane. But after I got some proper sheers it got stuffed at the back of the closet.) Now I wish I would’ve kept that woman’s email. (Claire was her name.) She would’ve been happy to know that the dress did find an occasion to go to.
At the costume judging event, I threatened to poison the judges if I didn’t win with a big squirt of “Poison”. (We all know that a squirt of any perfume is enough to give almost anyone a headache.) A stem of thistle served as my scepter. (I even researched on the net if there is such a thing as Poison Fairy and indeed there was.) How did my ancient brain come up with this idea? I marvel at our imaginative capacity if when we allow ourselves to play and daydream.
As Poison Fairy I was 1st runner up to Benjamin Franklin. During the final judging I was dismissed by one of the judges. She said she’s been poked with enough needles and poisoned with enough drugs from her radiation and chemo therapies that my ploy to “kill ‘em all if I didn’t win” did not scare her.
What’s poison to some is medicine for others. I truly believe this. Many people in our society is conditioned to believe that the traditional medicine manufactured by pharmaceutical companies that synthesizes the real thing can’t imagine to try something different prescribed by the doctors. However, it’s sometimes not until someone is at the threshold of death that they might consider an alternative source of cure. Pharmaceutical giants have acquired massive tracts of the Amazon Basin. There are in-depth considerations for citizens of this planet to find out the motives for this act. (Too much to get into in this blog, and the seriousness of which takes the lightness away from my intention. I need to lighten up!!)
Thank you NASA! My tax dollars are finally being put to good use for my own purpose. Thanks for finding my family. In the Huffington Post article the agency stated that with the discovery of the new life form “will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.” (i.e. – there is a greater possibility that there is more of my kin out there and on this planet too.) I’ll be making plans to drop in on family this coming holiday break. I love arsenic opium-poppy cakes.
And the moral of the story is… a whole apple a day keeps the imagination at play!
(Here’s a link to the Huffington Post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/02/nasa-new-life-arsenic-bacteria_n_791094.html)