“I’ve had a few.” Old Blue Eyes
I do not regret eating dirt.
It was early Spring in Racine, Wisconsin. I had just turned two.
An aside: I don’t blame you if you have a hard time believing that. All I can tell you is this: If you have strong emotional reactions to things you did as a small child and an amygdala as healthy as mine apparently is, those memories are as close to the surface as your inner child. Forever. More recent events? Like the last movie you saw or what you had for breakfast this morning? Not so much. The human brain is a mystery. Some people say they remember being born. Huh. I might be with you on that one, but who knows for sure?
Anyway, I really had just turned two. Mom had dug up a little garden plot against the back of the house next to the back door stairs. The sun was shining and reflecting off all the little sparkly bits in the soil. Minerals, I suppose, not diamonds or buried treasure like I was hoping. The dirt was dark and rich, loose and ready for seeds.
It was just so pretty.
I wondered what it tasted like, so I picked up a handful and put it in my two year old mouth to eat it.
Mom always said:
“Never spit your food out.” Mom on table manners
I suppose I could have rationalized that dirt wasn’t really food, so it would be okay to spit it out, but I had put it in my mouth to eat it, so technically, in my two year old brain, it was food.
I didn’t spit it out. I chewed it up and swallowed it.
I can still taste it. (No, not because I haven’t brushed my teeth in the intervening [mumble-mumble] years. I have. Tens of thousands of times. It’s a sense memory, Silly.) It’s tangy and metallic. It’s gritty, crunchy and brown. It tastes like… dirt. But not mold or dust or filth. It tastes just like you would expect clean dirt to taste.
Actually, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans did a great job on the dirt flavored bean; the texture is wrong, but the flavor is perfect.
I was probably lucky I didn’t end up with pin worms or something worse. Or maybe I did, and I just don’t remember that part. The brain is mysterious. But it didn’t kill me. Maybe it even boosted my immune system; I really am unusually healthy.
But I do remember thinking, as I licked my teeth and brushed the fine stuff off my lips:
“Well, I never have to do that again.” Two year old me
And I haven’t.
Have you ever done anything you thought you might regret and then didn’t?