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We Are All Turning to Dust

In his book The Body: A Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson takes readers on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human anatomy. Starting from the outside and moving in, Bryson begins by describing the largest organ of the human body, the skin. His description is telling:

The skin consists of an inner layer called the dermis and an outer epidermis. The outermost surface of the epidermis is made up entirely of dead cells. It is an arresting thought that all that makes you lovely is deceased. Where body meets air, we are all cadavers.

He then concludes:

These outer skin cells are replaced every month. We shed skin copiously, almost carelessly: some twenty-five thousand flakes a minute, over a million pieces every hour. Run a finger along a dusty shelf, and you are in large part clearing a path through fragments of your former self. Silently and remorselessly we turn to dust.

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