You can call it "eructation," if you want, but, like putting lipstick on a pig, using a 25-cent word for belching doesn't make the fact of it any prettier. Which is the point of "Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body," at Seattle's Pacific Science Center.
The exhibit on bodily functions — you know, all the things you don't talk about in polite company but really want to learn more about — runs, like a nose, through Jan. 3.
Ah, yes, the nose. It's one of the stars of the exhibit, which is inspired by Sylvia Branzei's "Grossology" books. The science center's "Tour du Nose" explores 10 nostril skills from filtering air (OK, that's not so bad) to producing mucus (maybe not so good).
Mucus may not be dinner table conversation, but it does have an upside: It's sort of the guardian at the gate of your lungs. The downside (if you're eating breakfast, turn away): You swallow a couple of pints of it a day. If you remember basic conversions, that's 32 ounces of snot per day, according to the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
There. We've said it.
This is the second time around for "Grossology." When the Pacific Science Center first had this exhibit in 2007, it was so popular that it asked the "Grossology" author to curate gross signs for their bathrooms.
Even a bathroom can be a center of learning. Here's a nugget that Elin Waldman, the marketing director of the Pacific Science Center, shared recently as a result of that offbeat educational center:
"If you eat too many beets, your pee can turn purple," she said. (The info is different in boys' and girls' bathrooms; she learned this from a friend who ventured into the boys' side of the house.)
She already knew from the girls' bathroom that asparagus can make your urine smell funny. Beets and asparagus have the same effect on both sexes.
And there's much more to be said about Grossology, which includes information (and sound effects) on passing gas, body odor, toe jam, pimples, moles and more. And really, who doesn't want to enjoy the virtual reality experience that lets you act like a kidney in "Urine: The Game"?
Yes, ostensibly, this will have your kids riveted, but in your heart of hearts, don't you really want to know this stuff too?