This week we are extremely excited to have Mary Roach on the show. Mary is the author of 5 New York Times Bestselling books, including her newest, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. In this episode we spend the first part of the conversation talking about what it is like to be a professional writer, advice to those who want to write, and other keys to success. From there we transition to the alimentary canal as we learn more about what happens when food enters our mouth…and what a unique journey it is.
Mary also shares an interesting story about Elvis with us. Spoiler alert: at the 45:50 mark, Mary tells us that Elvis Presley had terrible constipation. In fact, Elvis died while pooping due to a condition called ‘megacolon’.
Chris: This is typical Mary Roach style. You cover so many things in the book and it’s basically like, let’s take really interesting questions relating to one subject and answer them. And so, one of the ones that I actually didn’t know, and many people might, but for those that don’t… is how Elvis died.
Mary: Yeah, that’s interesting.
Chris: Can you give it away for us? For those listening, this is just the kind go thing you learn in Gulp and your other books, so let’s hear it.
Mary: Yeah, well I was at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, which is this wonderful museum of medical curiosities, and the showpiece of the Mütter Museum is a megacolon and it is bigger around than my waist, which is 27 inches or so, maybe 28. That’s HUGE for a colon. A colon is what, 4 inches around or less. It’s grossly distended and becomes useless and impacted. And Elvis had a megacolon. The Mütter Museum does not have Elvis’ I should say. But I was there at the Mütter Museum and I saw this, and the curator said to me, “Oh yeah, Elvis died of that.”
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