#2. Parasites in Tacos
"A thing of the past," they say. "It's a problem we've taken care of, mostly thanks to USDA regulations and the like," they claim. And for the most part, "they" are correct -- getting a tapeworm from eating undercooked pork is a rarity in the U.S. these days, but that definitely doesn't mean that the problem no longer exists. Rather, much like your factory job, the task of infecting consumers with tapeworms has been outsourced to Mexico. And it appears there's an extra twist to the traditional "intestinal tract full of worms" doomsday scenario we grew up with.
Dawn Becerra, an Arizona woman, recently fell ill after eating a taco during a trip to Mexico. The thing is, the trip to Mexico wasn't quite so recent. In fact, it was three years ago. If you're thinking that's an absurdly long gestation period for a case of food poisoning, you're absolutely correct. But it wasn't food poisoning that sent Becerra into the cold embrace of a hospital surgery table. No, it was a worm that crawled into her brain and died.
If you look real close, you can see the tiny funeral his friends are holding.
And that's the part about the raw pork story that, somewhere along the line, I personally (and I suspect many of you) somehow missed. Tapeworms I've heard of; tapeworms that crawl into your brain, die and start decaying (in turn giving you brain cysts and sporadic seizures) are slightly less familiar.
Brain-infesting tapeworms are a terrifyingly common thing in Latin America, though. They're transmitted when someone comes into contact with the creature's eggs (conveniently located wherever human poop is dropped) and doesn't wash their hands properly before handling that delicious food cart taco that Anthony Bourdain swore you had to try next time you were in Mexico.
"But that's where all the flavor comes from!"
Upon ingesting the parasite, it attaches to your intestinal wall, where it forms into a worm, moves into your bloodstream and, from there, goes into your brain. Through that entirely undesirable process, you suffer no noticeable effects, other than having to double up on your daily calorie intake since you're now eating for two. The problems start when the worm dies inside your head, swelling the tissue around it and giving you a series of seizures that can only be stopped by digging into your brain and extracting the dead worm.
In the case of Becerra, the surgery had to be performed while she was awake. She received only mild anesthesia and acupuncture for the pain. Keep that in mind next time you're contemplating some kind of bizarre-foods tour through Latin America.
#1. Snakes in Toilets
In one of Cracked's beloved series of articles about creepy urban legends that actually happened, we touched on the unsettling phenomenon of rats just magically appearing inside the toilets of unready and rightfully horrified homeowners. But an equally-with-a-chance-of-more-horrifying creature turns up in shitters just as often as rats. That creature, it pains me to report, is the snake.
How many of you reading this in the bathroom just did a double check?
Because nothing awful is worth happening if it's not happening in New York, a man in that state was brushing his teeth in preparation for a day of work when he noticed a California king snake just hanging out in his toilet. His reaction, of course, was to grab a bottle of Clorox Green Works and direct its full destructive fury at the defenseless reptile. Shockingly, this had absolutely no effect on the snake, or at least no effect that would prevent it from turning the next person with a digestive emergency into another statistic on the list of weird ways people get injured (or worse).
If you think there just aren't enough snakes in your area for this to ever be a risk to you, then I'd direct your attention to this line from the New York toilet snake story:
"What I'm being told is that it came from somewhere within the sewer line so it had to come from somewhere within the complex."
"And that's when I decided that this whole homeless thing might be right for me."
Right, so even if you live in the least snake-friendly climate imaginable, that dipshit who listens to death metal nonstop in the apartment above could inadvertently lose track of one of his 15 pet snakes, only to have it turn up just inches from your ass when you're at one of your most vulnerable moments.
And if you think this guy's story is an isolated incident, there are a few videos ...
... you should probably see ...
Oh, and for good measure, here's a bat in a toilet, too ...
That's a lot of terror in a lot of toilets. If the thought of a surprise snake in the toilet doesn't make you at least a little bit uneasy, it's likely because you poop standing up.
For more from Adam, check out The 7 Most Terrifying Corporate Mascots of All-Time and 5 Horrifying Food Additives You've Probably Eaten Today.