How Poop Works: A Tour Of The Factory
We at PoopReport spend all day talking about poop. But how many of us know what it really is and how it really works? Many of the explanations we read are written so that only trained medical professionals can understand them. But I'm going to try to demystify the process so that the next time your stomach doubles you over in cramps, you can think to yourself, as you stumble to the bathroom, "Hey! I know why this is happening! Thanks -- *ughnnnnnnnn* -- Motherload!"
The human digestive system operates like a factory. The plan of operation for this facility is pretty simple.
- Obtain raw materials
- Prepare raw materials for processing
- Construct the product
- Export the finished product
- Profit from the endeavor
The raw materials needed here are food and water. They need to be of a particularly high standard in order to produce a quality end result. If automobile manufacturers used junk parts, and if they didn't use the proper mixture of chemicals to make paint, for instance, the end result would be one ugly and poorly operating vehicle. Same thing goes for your stomach: even though the goal here in your digestive plant is to actually produce a piece of shit, it should be some good shit. Nobody likes a crappy car, and nobody likes sub-standard turds, either.
Once you have obtained the supplies needed to begin the process, you must prepare them for assembly on the turd line. The workers that perform these preliminary tasks are called enzymes. The first enzymes on the assembly line are stationed at the receiving dock -- that is, your mouth. Arriving in your saliva, these enzymes begin the breakdown of carbohydrates, or starches. Once the food makes it to the stomach, the enzymes that arrive via stomach acid convert the food into chyme, a liquidy substance of partially-digested food, water, enzymes, and acid. The chyme is then squirted out into the small intestine, where the next group of laborers starts in on it.
These are the lipase enzymes -- the little guys that digest fats and other lipids. Since fats do not dissolve in water and tend to clump together in a large congealed mass, the enzymes need a chemical solution to assist them in their work. This substance is called bile. Bile is stored in a small organ on the underside of the liver called the gallbladder.
Bile is essential to help the enzymes emulsify the fat molecules. This is kind of the same effect Dawn dishwashing liquid has on greasy dishes. Without bile, it would be impossible for the enzymes to complete this step, and the fat in your factory would continue down the line unchanged. This can result in ugly product flaws -- excessive gas, or greasy poop.
The workers in the bile department know they're crucial to the process -- which, in some factories, gives them a sense of entitlement. Every so often they'll go on strike. Sure, they'll tell you that cholesterol caused crystals to form in the gallbladder, creating gallstones that blocked the passage of bile. Or maybe they'll say it was a mass in the liver or the gallbladder or some other symptom or complication of liver or gallbladder disease. Management isn't dumb -- they know a work stoppage when they see one. But the bile department is critical, which means management has no choice but to appease them.
Assuming bile has been successfully delivered, the chyme passes on to the small intestine. There nutrients are absorbed into the circulatory system to be transported to other divisions in the company -- the skin division, the muscle division, the brain division -- for use in growing or repairing cells, or for the storage and release of energy.
The remaining chyme is then conveyed on to the large intestine, a.k.a. the colon. The colon's main job is to remove the excess water and salts from the chyme for recirculation back into the factory, thus leaving a more solid substance. Bacteria located in the colon assist in fermenting and further digesting the chyme, but very little absorption of nutrients actually takes place beyond the small intestine.
The colon department extends from the cecum (a pouch that joins the small intestine to the large intestine), up the right side of the abdomen, across the upper abdomen, and then down the left side of the abdomen, finally connecting to the shipping department, a.k.a. the rectum and the anus. The colon has three parts: the ascending colon and the transverse colon, both of which absorb fluids and salts, and the descending colon, which acts as a warehouse, storing the resulting product until it's ready for export.
The workers in the colon are bacteria -- legal aliens granted permission to live and work and raise their families in your large intestine. They're good, honest laborers. But sometimes bad bacteria manage to sneak into your stomach, perhaps hitching a ride in spoiled milk, for instance. The bad bacteria can prevent the good bacteria from doing the job. The guards in the colon are vigilant but cruel: if this happens, they'll fill the colon full of fluid to flush everything out -- bad bacteria, good bacteria, and anything that might be in the colon. Accounting writes this off as a loss: diarrhea.
But if the good bacteria are allowed to do their job, this is the end of the manufacturing process. A good, solid product successfully reaches the rectum, where it is retained until it is time for export. And if everything has gone well, the end result is profitable for all. The body reaps the benefits of the nutrients derived from the extraction procedures, and you can take pride in the magnificent labor provided by the microscopic employees of the great poop factory within you.
For the best possible outcome, it is wise to utilize strict quality control standards when selecting your raw materials. Limit the intake of excessively fatty foods or other junk to prevent unnecessary overtime on the part of the work crew. Provide an adequate water supply to aid in the absorption process, and avoid stressful situations that can create disturbances in the muscle contractions needed to keep the assembly line in motion. Poor working conditions, inadequate or improper supplies, and damaged or misused equipment can result in worker strikes, faulty products, or even permanent shutdown.
Not all automobile manufacturers are successful, and not all poop factories will be, either. But as general manager, you play an important role in the profitability of your poop manufacturing plant. You should make every effort to maintain your equipment by having routine inspections and avoiding pollutants or harsh chemicals that can lessen the effectiveness of your intestinal employees. If you drink plenty of water and eat foods low in fat and high in fiber, you should produce some quality poop that will make you the envy of the next industry convention.