Metamucil: Making Meta-Shit Happen

If metafiction is fiction about fiction and metapainting is painting about painting, “Metamucil” must be mucil about mucil, right? But what is mucil?

(Photo borrowed from the hysterical website

“Mucil” is a derivative of “mucilloid,” which sounds like robotic mucil, but is, according to the (not so hilarious) medical-dictionary,  “a preparation of a mucilaginous substance.” Just whisper the mellifluous word “mucilaginous” to yourself, you will find your appetite growing like the grain of the field, so grab yourself some Metamucil fiber wafer before you continue reading.

(A brief pause as the reader goes for the biscuit. If you don’t have any in the house, the break will take significantly longer. Type here how long it took you, so that this post will be accurate: “It took me ____________ minutes / hours to procure the Metamucil biscuits.”)

Mucilloid is a short for “psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid.” “Hydro” means “water” and “phylic” means “having love for,” so this “hydrophilic” mucilloid loves water. And if you are eating a Metamucil wafer, you might also love a glass of water. (Take another break to get a glass of water.)

When ground to a powder, the mucilaginous portion of the psyllium seed, “absorbs liquid in the intestines, swells, and forms a bulky stool, which is easy to pass,” according to PubMed Health. We love the hydrophilic mucilloid because it loves the  liquids that swamp our intestines. It drinks them right up and forms a bulky stool. A bulky stool, as the definition suggests, is easy to pass. I gave mine a B+ this morning for form, color and content.

This stool, please note, is not for sitting on. Nevertheless, it often appears when one is sitting. Is this meta? I don’t think so, unless you are sitting on a stool when the stool appears. This approach, however, is not recommended.

The blond psyllium plant is, unfortunately rather plain, as you can see in the picture to the right, but at least it is blond, and, therefore, more fun. The psyllium seed (pronounced silly-am) is not in the least bit silly, since it offers its fibrous husks to constipated people the world over.

So, how is Metamucil self-reflective? I had to sit on this meta-puzzle for a while, so I locked the bathroom door and squatted there with my head in my hands for nearly three quarters of an hour before my efforts bore fruit.

Is Metamucil a mucilloid about mucilloids? Is the subject of Metamucil Metamucil itself? Does Metamucil contain within itself a smaller version of Metamucil, as Hamlet’s play Hamlet contains a play within the play? Does Metamucil break the fourth wall? Does it question the ability to accurately represent the objective world? Does Metamucil challenge realism and naturalism? Does Metamucil make one aware of the typical conventions of a mucilloid?

I sat there wondering what made Metamucil meta, but I could not squeeze out an answer until, in frustration, I began to wonder why I was wondering about the meta-aspects of Metamucil. “Why am I thinking,” I asked myself, “about the self-reflective properties of Metamucil? Why does it matter? Who could possibly care? Isn’t there something else I could think about? Why waste my time thinking about Metamucil when I could be thinking about my plans for the weekend or politics or weather patterns?”

Slowly the answer began to push its way out into the world.  Metamucil is self-reflective primarily because it causes self-reflection. How many of us have worked our way around to metacognition, as we have sat in the bathroom thinking and, eventually, thinking about what we were thinking. Thinking about thinking is metacognition. Becoming aware of your own thought process can help you understand how you think about the things you think about. When you understand your thought processes, you can understand how your habits of thought affect your opinions and behavior, and you may be able to step outside of your usual habits of thought in order to think something new.

The form, content and habits of our thoughts, fiction, paintings and mucilloids affect how we think, tell-stories, paint and poop. What conventions, I then considered, have limited me in my production of stool? I looked down and saw that my stool had formed a high-fiber pretzel.

So, try some Metamucil today to ease mental constipation and induce regular self-reflection.

1 thought on “Metamucil: Making Meta-Shit Happen”

  1. Your essay was totally delightful. My husband, whose GI doctor just prescribed Metamucil, wondered what “meta” and “mucil” meant. Thanks for not only satisfying our curiosity, but making us laugh out loud.

    Gratefully yours.

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