At the beginning of this millennium, just two months after 9/11, scientists in the Peruvian Amazon made one of the most unsettling discoveries ever to be reported in the pages of the prestigious journal Mammalian Biology.
It was a sloth, and it was hanging out inside of a toilet, and it was absolutely gorging itself on a potent liquid slurry of human waste by the handful. It apparently didn't want to be seen engaging in whatever esoteric sloth ritual this was.
"It was scooping with one hand from the semi-liquid manure composed of faeces, urine and toilet paper and then eating from the hand," the researchers reported in a 2011 research paper that made the rounds last week for some unknown reason, but which I absolutely could not resist clicking on because I am broken.
"When more persons gathered around the latrine to watch this bizarre behavior, the sloth emerged from the latrine and climbed into the nearest tree," the researchers wrote.
Over the next few years, until the latrine was fenced in in 2007, the researchers observed 25 more sloths heading to the poo pit for a midnight feast. As for why this is a thing, the researchers speculated that the sloths could be trying to glean some nutrients from human waste or possibly eating worms.
And yet, I have questions that demand answers:
1. Did we bother you?
I have seen this face before, in the mirror. This is how I look when I am forced to admit I ate an entire pizza after the box is discovered. I am weak, and I am ashamed, and I am fundamentally seen. This is Lenny from The Simpsons feebly pleading, "Please don't tell anyone how I live" after his wretched existence is exposed by a wall in his house comically falling down. I empathize deeply, and I want to apologize if we humans interrupted or embarrassed you, the poo sloth.
2. Where are you now?
It's been a long time since we found you eating crap. Are you OK? Have you moved on to trading cryptocurrencies or investing in cannabis? How long do sloths even live?
3. What is sloths' whole deal with poo?
It seems like poo is a whole thing for sloths. These creatures have one gigantic, probably-painful poo once a week. It is risky because they have to do it on the ground, exposing them to predators, and honestly does not sound all that fun. And yet, sloths desire to consume this same substance with unmatched ferocity, even desperation. What gives?
All I know is that, somehow, this sloth set the tone for our current shitworld which was just ramping up when we found the long-armed toilet hamster eating its first handful of poo, like it was pulling some huge cosmic lever.