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That's No Mouse, That's My Wife
by Walt Giersbach

The trillions of bacteria that live in the gut — helping digest foods, making some vitamins, making amino acids — may help determine if a person is fat or thin.  The evidence is from a novel experiment involving mice and humans that is part of a growing fascination with gut bacteria and their role in health and diseases…  In this case, the focus was on obesity. Researchers found pairs of human twins in which one was obese and the other lean.  They transferred gut bacteria from these twins into mice and watched what happened.  The mice with bacteria from fat twins grew fat; those that got bacteria from lean twins stayed lean.
--The New York Times, Sept. 5, 2013

Martha always did pack a few more pounds than was healthy, but I loved every inch of her expanding upholstery. She was good-looking. Well-educated. Cultivated. And morbidly obese.  Eye candy, and equally laden with calories. 

“George, I simply have got to lose weight. Regain my girlish figure,” she cried.

“Well,” I advised, “today’s paper says there’s some research that obesity is a built-in condition. Not something built onto you, dearest. It seems the scientists have been transferring gut bacteria from overweight children to mice and it makes them gain weight. Same thing with bacteria from skinny kids will make mice skinny. Guess there’ll be a wait….”


“No, w-a-i-t.”

Soon afterwards, I had to go out on an extended business trip. Two weeks on the road, and when I got back I almost didn’t recognize Martha standing in the car park. She was lithe and lissome, limber and…light weight. The sand in her hourglass figure had shifted back.

“My dearest,” I exclaimed, “you’re…beautiful again.” Indeed, Martha would have made a Victoria’s Secret model weep salty tears of envy. She was the epitome of what makes young men drool and exude other bodily fluids.     

“Why, thank you,” she cooed, wrapping me in her buff arms.

“But how…how did this happen?”

“Mice.  I went to the pet store and bought an entire cage of the skinny little fellows. I fed them your mother’s recipe for haggis. I mean, not the recipe, but a pot of haggis I’d cooked. The little darlings vomited up their very souls.”

“Wait, Martha! You ingested that…? You injected that…?”

“I spread it on toast with a little Nutella.” She smiled. “And the pounds simply floated away.”

“But, this is a scientific breakthrough!” I shouted. “We’ll be famous.”

“Thank you, dear, but there’s one teensy problem. Maybe two or three. I have an insatiable appetite for cheese. I’ve installed a hamster wheel in our living room where I run a few hours each night. And don’t be mad, but I’ve moved our bedroom into the closet. The mice scream and jump on a chair every time they see me.”