"Pica - an abnormal desire to consume non-food items"
My maternal grandfather, "Charlie Arn", as he was called by the locals, was a man of few words. Taciturn would be an understatement. Nevertheless, one summer when I was about ten, I spent a few days with my grandparents and got to know the patriarch a little. He took me to "town" in his 1951 Chevy and while there we went to the grocery, hardware and the creamery ("Grade AAA butter here, boy, not many in the state can say that".) At every stop, an old friend of his would nod, perhaps exchange a few words in Swedish, and not much else. Later, after we returned to the homestead, we walked along the road aways. He reached down and pinched a bit of the dirt from the road and swallowed it. "A little bit of dirt is good for you, boy, good for what ails you...but not city dirt, just good country dirt. "
Well, a ten-year old has a lot of trouble processing that information. I 've always had that little nugget of wisdom in the back of my brain. Maybe I'll eat dirt someday. Or maybe not.