Saturday, November 20, 2010


Tapeworm 8" X 9" drypoint etching on Rives Heavyweight paper. Trial proof.

Been in a bit of a bad temper lately. This one's been brewing for a while and is rooted in some mid-life issues about success, failure, hopes and disappointments and some big and seemingly unresolvable conflicts. These moods are cyclical and will usually pass if I just wait long enough but nothing beats back a bad mood like creating something repulsive and pointless. Sort of a spread-the-wealth kind of thing.

I was in the hardware store buying some things for the house and saw they had some sheets of rolled aluminum. 6" X 18" and fairly thin. I took one home, cut it down to about a 6"X 8" size and scratched in this tapeworm using a metal point. I printed a few test copies so I could mess with the press and see how aluminum prints.

This is sort of a made-up tapeworm; somewhat in-between what a taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and dog tapeworm or flatfish tapeworm would look like. They all have fairly complex life cycles passing through multiple requisite hosts. Sometimes pausing forever if stuck in the body of the wrong host. The small end has little hooks and suckers to attach to the lining of the intestine and it slowly grows new segments, elongating segment by segment and can reach 20-30 ft (13m) in length. They don't actually suck blood from the wall of the intestine or stomach but absorb nutrients from the lumen of the intestine through the walls of the segments. Each segment has it's own digestive and reproductive tract and by the time the little segments fragment off and pass through the gut out of the body, they are little time-bomb sacs of eggs waiting to be ingested by the next host to start a new cycle.
Human carriers are usually asymptomatic unless infected by multiple worms that can then cause malnutrition by absorbing so many calories (rare) or severe anemia from B12 deficiency--the worm absorbs all the B12 from the gut(more common). In the cyst stage the pork tapeworm can cause all sorts of medical illness; the cysts can form in the muscle, internal organs and brain and are a common cause of adult-onset seizures in nations where incompletely cooked pork are consumed.

But, as I said, this is more of a metaphorical tapeworm.

What kind of nastiness are you carrying inside?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Andrew. Must be something in the air. (Or perhaps it IS something in the gut.) Sigh. Yeah. Just keep breathing, I think.