Do not eat ... unless that's your thing, man

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Hey you, with the finger up your nose. I see you. That's gross. Not nearly as gross, however, as those shnoz-prospectors who eat the proverbial motherlode -- and not nearly as interesting. It's not that these lost souls are hungry, per se, so much as they're suffering from mucophagy, the mild cousin in a family of behavioral appetite disorders known collectively as pica: a craving to eat the inedible (and we don't mean Twinkies).

We can only assume that Apple had a pica-sufferer on staff when they decided to render the advice highlighted above (that's a real screengrab from the iPod Shuffle website, by the way -- isn't Apple funny?); relative to other forms of pica, eating iPods ain't all that weird:

  • Geophagic picans eat clay and/or dirt, which some doctors argue has nutritional merit. This student as Chicago's noted Art Institue admitted to eating fresh-from-the-kiln teacups she had made.
  • Coniophagics prefer the dust from venetian blinds.
  • People who eat wood suffer from xylophagia (this designation excludes young kids, who like goats and magpies, have been known to eat just about anything). Wood toothpicks are a popular favorite among xylophagics, as are matchsticks -- though people who chew on the heads of matches haven't been classified yet.
  • They're not just circus freaks anymore: hyalophagics are just like you and me -- except they eat glass. (Ouch. I'll take the iPod Shuffle instead. With a side of boogery matchsticks.)
  • Yet-rarer pica disorders include the obsessive consumption of toilet air-freshener blocks, coal, foam rubber, and cigarette ashes. Of course, there's also coprophagia ("eating poo" is as scientific as we need to get here), but if you came to mentalfloss.com looking for more info on that, this ain't that kind of website, perv.

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September 29, 2006 - 10:13am
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