Tuning the Immune

This pig and his friends are here for a reason

This pig and his friends are here for a reason.

Scientists have discovered that it pays to grow up in marginally unsanitary conditions in order to tune your immune system properly. Children in western countries who grow up coddled and sheltered from every pollen grain or cat hair are understandably hypersensitive to such minor irritants as adults. Somewhere in this observation about the source of our currently epidemic levels of allergic reaction is a hard fact: Those dirty little snot-nosed kids you always complained about are all healthy, happy, strapping adults now. Except, of course, for that bully in my grade school class. He’s in jail. His freedom was denied due to a minor legal quibble concerning a gang-related hit contract. Still free of allergies though no doubt.

Or, to put that life lesson in a slightly different way … as my apple pickin’ buddy out in Washington State used to say at the crack of dawn; "Time to get up and get amoungst ’em!".

It’s not just the immune system that needs to be taught how to discern minor irritants from the real deal. Getting out in that big old dirty world helps the mind differentiate whether other dangers are real or only perceived. When we prepared for our trip around the world last year some of our well meaning friends warned us about confessing our American citizenship to those we may meet. Turned out not to be a problem. We never dissembled on that fact and people always treated us with respect, like people everywhere should be treated; somewhere between friendly and indifferent. Never hostile. That’s only in the funny papers.

it's not just that they're cute

… it’s not just that they’re cute.

Now I know the statistics I read and you read in those same funny papers tell us that the general opinion of America is in the crapper. Due to many factors I suppose, one of which may be our current propensity to launch off and take care of military business wherever, whenever we so desire regardless of logic or other peoples opinions. So our American-ness may seem rude or dangerous to others due to some of these questionable decisions by our government. I just never saw that translate into personal animosity. Pity, maybe. And sometimes sympathy, like; "Yeah, I know … my President’s an idiot too…"

You see, pigs play in the mud.

You see, pigs play in the mud.

Speaking of which; rude is when a drunken guest belches in your face as he leaves the party. Dangerous is when he then demands his car keys so he can drive around the neighborhood. Right now the world sees us driving around out there with a full tank and a tall boy in the cup holder.

So perceptions of danger all relate to where we stand, and who’s looking dangerous. Many of our danger meters vibrated right off the dial a few years ago. But it’s important to re-calibrate them by testing them occasionally against the real world. Is the world a scary place? Yes, sometimes. Doesn’t mean we can’t approach it with subtlety and flexibility. Appropriate action (or reaction) depends on realigning our perception of danger to reality. Our danger meters busted years ago after the needle jammed all the way up there. Probably time to get it fixed and stop living our lives based on the same reading we get every day; "Life is Currently: EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!!!".

... and in the street...

… and in the street…

Maybe that’s one reason we did the trip around the world. Might even help explain what we’re doing down here in Mexico. Meter repair.

We face perceptions of danger every day. One of the most common for many people is their financial situation and we’re no different there. Not enough capital inflow to offset the drainage and the evaporation. A little like our reservoir out in Alcocer now that you mention it. That’s getting real low too these days. The lack of rain has caused the small lake to recede to a large puddle. But the rains will come. And we’ll keep making that art until it forms up into vast thunderheads that open up to bless the dry plains of financial desolation. It’s actually raining right now… real rain. Might be a sign but I don’t want to push it because I’ve already chased that image out and beat it with a stick. Just rain …okay?

... and their mother lets them.

… and their mother lets them.

Well then so what if we’re not yet making our fortunes with our art. We’re still far from broke. My immune system registers only a minor irritant. Nothing for my T-cells to get excited about. Good thing my mom let me play kick the can out in the alley as a kid. .

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