One theory about the growing population of allergy sufferers is that children are being protected too much. Keeping danger away sounds good but we might not develop resistance if there are no enemies. A sterile world is too safe. The immune system needs to identify invaders and build armaments. In this war, peace is deceptively risky.

“Cleanliness is next to godliness” forgets that creation includes dirt. Real life must deal with a real world that includes mosquitos, peanuts, and germs – they cannot be eliminated. We do not prepare for life by living in a bubble.

Overuse of antibacterial chemicals has provoked the evolution of smarter bacteria. Insecticides kill good insects and other animals. Weeds defy attempts to isolate them for selective plant destruction. Life has to be messy.

Modern humans also clean their bodies too often and too rigorously. We waste water and remove skin oils trying to get rid of inevitable body odor. Why is stink so feared? It too is part of real life yet people seem to want eternal existence in a fragrant garden. Dogs, the experts in smell, do not disdain the rank odors of life.

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