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.]