All that Glitters

It’s modern-day alchemy. Maybe you’ve heard this.

It turns out that everybody’s intrinsic value has increased by about $13 a year, thanks to the trace amounts of precious metals in their poop. That’s right, there are studies (imagine doing those studies) that show that over a 1-year period, the “waste” collected from 1 million Americans is worth $13 million. Which is great, if you happen to be the owner of a waste processing plant when they figure out how to harvest this “gold”. For the average person, it’s just more money going down the toilet, pun absolutely intended.

And while this is fascinating, if perhaps not in the “dinner conversation” kind of fascinating, the bigger (and more troubling) issue that it raises is: where is this stuff coming from? Is big agro putting vanadium in our corn? Are the pasteurizing plants doping milk with platinum? Did everybody in the country suddenly succumb to somnambulant pica? Now we’re all chowing down on nuts and bolts in our sleep?

No, I’m not here to toss out conspiracy theories. The fact is, everything is a part of everything. The crude matter that composes our bodies is, at the fundamental level, the same matter that spawned in the maw of the Big Bang. We are made of the ashes of stars, so it’s no great shock that we’ve got little bits and pieces of decomposed universes sloshing around in our systems. And to be honest, it’s no great shock that scientists are studying poop. Given overpopulation and the sustainability issues plaguing us, we have to find as many ways as possible to stretch out resources and cut down on waste. Refining poop is a win-win, if you can pinch it off. Plus, make no mistake, they’ll find a way to make money off of it. Process enough poop, and you can turn your refining plant into a literal goldmine. Actually, this reminds me of this little treat from a few months back, in which Jimmy Fallon and Bill Gates drink water created from a processing plant that is self-sustaining and actually creates electricity … FROM POOP.

Fact is, this makes for a great story. And who knows, in ten years, you might just work at a processing plant, refining feces for precious metals.

There are jokes to be made here, but I’m a little myopic today. Look, diapers are a big part of my life right now, and when the only tool at your disposal is a diaper and a bag of wipes, everything looks like a pile of poop, right? All I can think about upon hearing this story are the untold riches slipping through my fingers every day.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to call my accountant to move all my money into poop futures.