crispy flakes of wisdom and crunchy nuggets of knowledge

One of the prize books in my collection is a book by none other than J. H. Kellogg, M.D. Yes, of corn flakes fame. Many have heard of this notable personage from the book The Road to Wellville by T. C. Boyle (and movie based on the same).

I stumbled across this book while browsing in a used book store in East Lansing, Michigan. (I was there for Linguistics Summer Camp.) Having heard of Kellogg, I was intrigued. And with a title like Plain Facts, and a publication date of 1882, I had to see what it was about. I opened the book to a page at random. And laughed out loud. I flipped through more pages, and laughed again. (snort, snicker…) I had to buy the book before I was thrown out.

It turns out that the “plain facts” are all about sex. As written by someone who felt that sex should be avoided whenever possible.

I don’t remember what the first passage I read was. But the beauty of this book is that nearly every page offers some piece of wisdom that I just couldn’t make up. I must share it with the world at large.

For example, we learn from page 87 that young women must not get their feet wet at certain times of the month, or they may do permanent damage:

A young lady who allows herself to get wet or chilled, or gets the feet wet, just prior to or during menstruation, runs the risk of imposing upon herself life-long injury.

Even babies may be in danger from the “stamp of vice,” as we learn from page 183:

Sometimes–rarely we hope–the helpless infant imbibes the essence of libidinous desires with its mother’s milk, and thence receives upon its forming brain the stamp of vice.

And not to leave out the dangers to men, there’s page 366, which offers this dire warning about the perils of auto-eroticism:

Many young men waste away and die of symptoms resembling consumption which are solely the result of the loathsome practice of self-abuse.

So I offer to you a game. Please give me a random (or carefully selected by whatever means you like) number between 1 and 512, and I will attempt to locate some notable nugget of wisdom for you in the vicinity of that page.

[Note: I’ll get back with the nuggets for you next Tuesday, April 10th.]

6 thoughts on “crispy flakes of wisdom and crunchy nuggets of knowledge

  1. Oh, man…I have been wanting a book like this forever. I actually want to start a collection and start making art projects. I’m so jealous (then again, I have been so busy with other stuff lately, I haven’t had much chance to look).

    Please find me a tidbit on page 323.

  2. I’m going to have to go for the obvious and ask for 69.

    Of course, I could just go and look it up myself, but that’d spoil the fun.

  3. Thanks to you all for playing! You’re results are now up.

    Yes, it was a gem of a find.

    Maybe I’ll let you look at it sometime.

    Now, now. Not all 512 pages are about avoiding sex. They’re more-or-less all about sex, and only maybe half of them are about avoiding it.

    Yes, you should definitely play the game with the rest of us. Kellogg wouldn’t want you playing with yourself.

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