I think I might be getting a little bit obsessed with scurvy.
No, this isn’t a new indie rock band or the name of my new Yorkie puppy (although I think the word fits for either instance.) I’m talking about the real scurvy, the disease of the gums. If you don’t know what scurvy is, you should probably check out Wikipedia here.
Anyways, I’m reading Shogun on a friend’s recommendation. I’m finding it really good so far. The prologue explains that the men aboard the ship are all suffering from scurvy. There is even a graphic scene when Blackthorne eats the last of his rotten fruit, including maggots, to help treat the scurvy in his gums. Gross, I know, but also very fascinating.
The book made me remember something from my childhood. I remembered reading this book about the Franklin Expedition to the North Pole. The book told all about the scurvy and lead poisoning that contributed to the eventual deaths of the crew.
As a child, this scurvy business can be pretty frightening. I started eating fruits whenever I could. When you think about it, the threat of having your gums bleed and your teeth fall out probably would help get a lot of kids to eat their fruits and vegetables. I know I definitely plan to threaten my children with scurvy if they refuse to eat properly. You may think that sounds harsh, but at least it is the truth. My parents told me plenty of lies to get me to eat stuff I didn’t want when I was a child. My favorite was that if you didn’t eat the crust of your bread, you would not be able to whistle. Yep. Believed that one for a long time. Longer than I care to admit. It is amazing the kinds of things you grow up believing that seem so ridiculous as an adult. I look forward to the day when I can make up stuff that will get my kids to do what I want.
This morning I went to my dentist for my semi-annual cleaning and exam. It went well. My hygienist assured me that my gums and teeth were very healthy.
“No scurvy, right?” I asked.
“No. No scurvy,” she replied.
Lastly, I leave you with this tidbit of information: Scurvy Awareness Day is right around the corner on May 2. I hope you will find some small way to celebrate this important day. Scurvy isn’t one of those things the average person thinks about daily, but then again, maybe they should.