Written by Dr Edward Maxwell

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

image for Jerry the gerbil to pass through human body
Jerry will boldly go where many have gone before

A young gerbil named "Jerry" will be ingested by its owner and pass through the man's body, a fantastic voyage that may result in a Guinness World Record, of note.

Gerbil pet owner Tom Hannah said he got the idea for the stunt while watching a Richard Gere movie. He tried to think of a way for a gerbil to pass through the entire human digestive system instead of just a part of it near the end.

"That's when I thought of the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage," explained Hannah. "That's the movie where a submarine is shrunk down to microscopic size along with a small crew, and then injected into the bloodstream of a man with the goal being to save his life. I thought that maybe I could do that with a gerbil, except for the shrinking and saving a man's life parts."

Hannah built a special egg-shaped, metallic capsule for Jerry to ride in during the expected 12-hour journey through his owner's digestive system. The capsule will contain enough oxygen-enriched air to last for 15 hours, and food and water will be placed in the capsule with Jerry.

Hannah will first eat three huge, triple-bean burritos from US fast food giant Taco Bell. This will guarantee that Jerry will exit Hannah with plenty of time to spare.

Hannah will then swallow the capsule with Jerry inside. The gerbil is expected to pass down his owner's esophagus and into the stomach; while there, Jerry will be protected from stomach acid by the metallic capsule. A battery-operated light and a small glass window in the capsule will afford Jerry a good view of Hannah's stomach contents. During the three to four hours the gerbil is expected to be in its owner's stomach, it will be able to run on a hamster wheel inside the capsule.

Jerry and the broken-down burritos will then leave the stomach and enter the small intestine via the pyloric sphincter. Hannah's body will add bile to both Jerry and the burritos, as well as pancreatic juice and intestinal enzymes. The burritos' nutrients will then pass through the small intestine's wall with the help of intestinal villi and microvilli. Jerry and what is left of the burritos will continue their journey down the small intestine with the help of friendly circular and longitudinal muscles, which keep things moving along at a brisk pace.

When Jerry and the burrito remains pass into the large intestine via the cecum, the gerbil and its capsule will be accompanied by hydrogen sulfide and methane gases, both generated courtesy of gut bacteria that have fed on complex carbohydrates not broken down by digestive juices. The large intestine will then reclaim as much water as it can from the remaining compacted organic matter, leaving it as brown feces.

In the final phase, a radio signal will be transmitted to Jerry's capsule, lighting a red light inside it -- a signal to which Jerry has been trained to recognize and respond. The gerbil will then don a helmet and strap itself into a small reclining seat in the capsule.

Hannah will then sit on the toilet and is expected to expel Jerry and the capsule at high speed with tremendous force. Jerry will be recovered from the capsule after a successful splashdown.

Author's note: Special thanks to a pupil of mine, amateur writer carina-eta, (a smoking red head) for inspiring me to write this.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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