April 30, 2008

Laugh Lines

I'm often surprised by what gets laughs during a presentation or lecture. At the AAPA meetings in April, I got unintentional laughs when I mentioned that fullers, upset about Vespasian's tax on urine, put out large pots for people to "make deposits" as they passed by. I guess pee is always funny, even to biological anthropologists.

Today in class I was talking about estimating postmortem interval (time since death). Forensic entomologists study insects to figure this out, but the textbook also taught me that they can test the bugs for evidence of drugs. So I said, "Forensic entomologists can tell something about 'personal habits' - that is, if a person was taking drugs. Maggots that feed on a person who did cocaine before she or he died will still have it in their system. The little maggots eat the person's flesh, and then you have some coked-out maggots, going crazy on the corpse." This elicited hiccuped giggles from a student in the front row and tittering from the back.

I wish I could be funnier in class, but most of my laugh lines end up being completely unintentional.

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