Decomposition, or rotting, is a natural breakdown of food products to a state where they are inedible to us but edible to lower forms of life. Whether digging holes in the lawn, cleaning out the refrigerator with the lips, or hosing down the trash can, everyone experiences decomposition each and every day. While an eco-spiritualist is likely to give some cock-and-bull story about rotting being somehow necessary to the evolution of human civilization, most of us aren't lucky enough to be born wearing such rose-coloured glasses. No, decomposition is most certainly a curse of a high order.
Whoever is to blame for a natural phenomenon, scientists do know that decomposition has been around longer than the blenders I use to mix up old meatloaf shakes so I don't have to spring a few dollars for food, maybe longer.
Decomposition is, in essence, food-chain falling. It is an analogous process to the excited atomic electron naturally giving off energy to return to its ground state. Food changes to more elemental forms, giving off food particles, or crumbs, as well as microscopic calorie particles called neutrinos (nutritious particles). When this decay process is allowed to go on long enough, the material ceases to produce solid object-permeating stink particles. The remnants of the food then pose no danger to human health (except if some lummox tries to eat the damned stuff).
By the end of the 20th century, researchers in the food and waste containment sectors honed the science of food decay-prediction to perfection. We can now say with surety the exact moment a decay reaction will take place. These best-before dates are printed on all perishable foods. Note that sell-by dates are something else and only appear on foods that are likely to fall out of fashion, such as humus and avocado.
Some standard decompositions:
- Cream cheese > butter > wax > brick
- Milk > shampoo > paint thinner
- Wheat > straw > grass > weed
- Beef > ham > saturated fat
- Freedom fries > French fries > chips > oil
- Berries > seeds > pebbles
- Grapes > wine > nitric acid
- Cucumber > zucchini > pickle
The decay period for perishable foods varies widely. It can be as short as 5 microseconds (in the case of soufflés) or as long as 2 millennia (Twinkies). Hence, all Twinkies should be eaten swiftly before they initiate a long, buttery beta decay, harmful to all organisms except the Finnish.
These calculations are not always simple, as one must take the region where the food is stored into account. For example, farmers grow wheat in rural areas because it will stay intact long enough to be harvested and shipped. However, once wheat reaches urban centres, what does it morph into? Plain, boring, inedible grass. The upshot of all this is that decomposed wheat, if left alone long enough, will eventually turn smokable. Extremely humid conditions, such as those found in "grow-ops," are needed to achieve such rotting though.
Although the government publicly explains the cutting of agricultural subsidies as a free trade measure, it is in reality a desperate bid to block the burgeoning trade in grass.
Decomposition ranks among the greatest undiscovered plots of our time: the JFK assassinations, the post office tossup, and the Clinton e-mails. Think about it. Who is the decomposed food useful to? Bacteria. Who stands to benefit? Bacteria. Who's always been sore at us for being the dominant form of life? Bacteria. Where was bacteria the seventh night of 4000 BC? Everywhere. It has the motive, the means, and the opportunity.
People all over the world are opening their eyes to the vast cover-up. Walk into any grocery store, and the underground counterattack is there. Bug B Gone, Deadly Clean, Lesbo's Choice, literally thousands of anti-bacterial products. Read the label. Kills 99% of bacteria. But that damned 1% always gets away, safe to plot another crime. This is why the public is urged to buy those cleaning products and spray them on every available surface. Nothing is too good for the bacteria. They are scum. Let's show those bacterial bastards, those protozoic pillagers, those anaerobic abominations who're the sentient beings around here.
Corrosion and tooth decay
Upon learning about decomposition, biology students often wonder, "What happens to the excess neutrinos?" The answer is that surrounding, inedible objects take them up. For example, candy, in accordance with its special property of "melting in the mouth but not in the hand," has a half-life short enough to decay while being chewed. The neutrinos it gives off are taken up by the teeth, turning them into slightly edible yogurt or chewing gum. To stave off tooth decay, one must brush this edible matter away.
Scientists continue to search for a slower-decaying form of sugar substitute in order to prevent tooth decay, metal corrosion, and the like. The progress is slow though, due to the draw of all those sugary treats.
Rotting meat can arouse the smell sense of canines, which will perk up and lash out at the decrepit meat. This is done regularly in dog impounds to forestall future trips to the vet, as the rotting meat consumed by the canine forms a protective layer to ward off diseases by neutrino antipathy. Some dog owners use rotting wood for this purpose, like on the open dog parks, but it makes a poor substitute. This method is the industrial gold standard for scented candles and perfumes, made from the neutrino byproducts of the fouler brands of flesh.
Because humans are highest on the food chain, it follows that they have the most stages to go through in decomposition to reach their elemental forms. Upon death, human bodies release C-14 to turn into edible products that fertilise the soil. This is why graveyards can make great gardens, and would if everyone weren't so pious. Which products corpses turn into depends on the individuals' personalities in life: the uptight decay to sausage, the greedy decay to caviar, criminals to jerk beef, boys to snails, girls to spices. This is common knowledge.
The philosophical lesson to be learned about decomposition and our place in the circle of life is, when you die, set fire to yourself. That way those crafty detritivores won't get ahold of your sausage. We'll outwit those microbes yet.