Friday, January 06, 2006

I'm so glad I don't work in Extension. During grad school, I volunteered a few hours a week in an Extension lab for the experience. We processed plant and insect samples. Most of the samples were garden variety diseased, over- or under-watered/fertilized, dog-pee-damaged, or herbicide damaged plants. Generally the bugs were things like termites, mites, aphids, or spiders (not truly bugs, but close enough). We did receive on pair of underwear with a funky bug on them. Nothing parasitic on humans, just a bug that probably blew onto the undies while they were out on the line drying, and the owner got a little freaked out. Our biggest problem was normally getting an unidentifiable leaf/stem/root or a plant so rotten is was mushy and useless.

A sample that came into Extension this week took the cake. A woman called the entomologist (bug expert) claiming to have a skin parasite. He agreed to take a look. Feeling a little hinky about the whole thing, he met her at the main desk, rather than speaking with her in his office. Which he is very glad about. She brought in a jar of skin scrapings. Which she took herself. She then informed him that she has previously been Baker Acted and suffers from Delusional Parasitosis.

He ran the samples by one of my friends to check for roundworms (nematodes) just in case. Not surprisingly, they came up with nothing. However, he did find one bug...a crab. No one wants to know exactly where the scrapings came from.

The lady wanted her samples back if he didn't find anything, so she could take them to another expert. I really, really hope she didn't come back for them.

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