Prunes

This chick I know was singing a song to her baby. It went like this:

Prunes, prunes, the magical fruit
the more you eat the more you poop
the more you poop the better you feel
so let’s have prunes at every meal!

I have a problem with the logic. On the surface the conclusion might seem to follow from the given premises, but the conclusion is, in my opinion, a hasty generalization that suffers from from at least one critical flaw. If her syllogism were in fact correct then multiplying the sheer number of prunes consumed per meal would exponentially increase the pleasure of life, 50 prunes per meal and the resulting shit-storm would be better than 25, and so forth. But I find it more likely that there is perhaps an optimum level of pooping that caps the said happiness at a reasonable level, more likely tied in with the prunes’ ability to aid in the release of poorly digested food rather than being tied to the sheer volume of pooping itself.

While I admit I was initially disposed favorably to the above bit of motherly wisdom, it is with great regret that I must declare the above rationale as a specious oversimplification at best and to say that it is unworthy of being treated as a valid scientific conclusion for the above reasons. This is not intended as a disparagement in any way of prunes or their salutary health benefits. I do recommend eating them. I would, however, draw the line at recommending them for every meal.

Update:

A friend and statistics expert from an online mailing list has given me a mathematical formula to represent this concept. Her work is as follows:

Pr + F + (Pr*F) = Pp

Where Pr = the number of prunes eaten
F = The amount of non-prune food eaten
(Pr*F) represents the interactive effect between the two
Pp = Total Poop

The interaction effect makes this a non-linear relationship, since the amount of poop *should* be expected to increase multiplicatively as both the amount of prunes and food consumption increased.

It could also be a simple additive relationship, which you’d want to test too, in which case:

Pr + F = Pp

If multiplying Prune consumption times Food
(Pr * F) was statistically insigificant, then you’d just use the above additive formula to represent the relationship.

Then, for the poop/happiness connection:

Pp + Pp^2 = H

Where Pp is total Poop and Pp^2 is Total Poop Squared
And H is Happiness

Since that would be also be a curvilinear relationship – happiness would be low as poop were low, would increase to a certain level, but would then decrease when you had to spend half the day on the toilet due to an endless shit-stream.

Thank you, Tracey, for your tireless efforts in helping us to understand stuff!

Second Update:

Another member of the list has give some additional thoughts on this matter:

It’s not a continuous graph. It would be discrete, with each poop
session represented by a numeric happiness value. Given this, it
doesn’t make sense to compute the total daily poop volume. It makes
more sense to measure each individual crap, plug that number into P(x)
(defined in a sec). We should also define ‘j’ as the number at which
happiness decreases due to frequent trips to toilet. V(x) is the
volume of poop for session x. So, P(x) could be
V(x) + n {1 < n < j} V(x) - n {n >= j}

Let mu be the total times that an individual craps daily, and
Happiness, H, can be defined by the sigma function from 1 to mu of
P(mu) (i.e. P(1) + P(2) + … P(mu) ). Obviously, as mu increases
above j, P(mu) becomes a negative number, decreasing from overall
happiness. Elementary operations research would show that happiness
is maximized when V(x) is maximized j-1 times.

Or, in laymans terms. Crap much. Crap often.

9 Responses to “Prunes”

  1. Phelps says:

    I believe that happiness is directly proportional to the volume of poop.

  2. mexi says:

    I think our disagreement hinges on the concept of proximate versus ultimate cause. We are, perhaps, not actually in disagreement. Speaking of, does somebody have something I can read right quick?

  3. The more you poop the better you feel is technically true. But it is the type of pooping that determines your true feelings. Too many prunes = runny poopy. Runny poopy = pain in the gut and subsequent sadness and frustration.

    So, I would agree with Mexi – “every meal” is a little overboard.

    PS. I always knew the song like this:

    Beans, beans, good for your heart
    The more you eat the more you fart
    The more you fart the better you feel
    So eat your beans at every meal!

    I suppose one could fart in excess as well, so the same rule of moderation should apply in bean consumption.

  4. Tracey says:

    You could even represent it with a mathematical formula:

    Pr + F + (Pr*F) = Pp

    Where Pr = the number of prunes eaten
    F = The amount of non-prune food eaten
    (Pr*F) represents the interactive effect between the two
    Pp = Total Poop

    The interaction effect makes this a non-linear relationship, since the amount of poop *should* be expected to increase multiplicatively as both the amount of prunes and food consumption increased.

    It could also be a simple additive relationship, which you’d want to test too, in which case:

    Pr + F = Pp

    If multiplying Prune consumption times Food
    (Pr * F) was statistically insigificant, then you’d just use the above additive formula to represent the relationship.

    Then, for the poop/happiness connection:

    Pp + Pp^2 = H

    Where Pp is total Poop and Pp^2 is Total Poop Squared
    And H is Happiness

    Since that would be also be a curvilinear relationship – happiness would be low as poop were low, would increase to a certain level, but would then decrease when you had to spend half the day on the toilet due to an endless shit-stream.

  5. Kearns says:

    I’ve heard:

    Beans, Beans, the musical fruit
    The more you eat, the more you poop
    etc.

  6. You should submit this study to MIT. They could really dig down deep and research the hell out of it. Then, when they ‘released’ their findings, you would get all kinds of credit and honorable mention, Mexi. It would be stinky and fabulous, all at the same time.

  7. this chick says:

    Dude….its a rhyme that is sung. The purpose of singing it was to get my infant to smile which opened her mouth which enabled me to put the spoon in and got her to eat and to get her to poop since she hadn’t in 2 days.

    Might I remind you that the next day she pooped like a goose and was very happy. I, too, was happy as I wasn’t dealing with a constipated infant any longer.

    On a sidenote, I don’t care what kind of poop it is-the more I poop the better I feel. Even if it’s runny poop-there is no satisfaction like that which you get after a great poop. There is no such thing as a bad poop really. If I have explosive diarrhea even-I feel better afterward because all that gas was hurting the gut. So, it’s not a bad poop then because it was runny or explosive because what made it that way is now out of my system.

    Also-I think I should feed her prunes for every meal because she is always constipated. Therefore, I am now giving her 1/2 a jar of prunes and 1/2 a jar of some random veggie or fruit with every meal to test this theory.

  8. R says:

    There are indeed horrific poops. Especially the ones that leave your asshole burning afterwards.

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