Talc really sucks at being a rock.
It is the softest mineral there is… at the very bottom of the hardness scale. I’ve never seen a news headline with the words, “Man pelted to death by talc”. This hardness deficiency is precisely why it hides in baby powder jars.
But, talc has an insidious side to it: It causes cancer specifically in a woman’s private area… and I’m not talking about that closet that she goes to to cry. A lot of women’s hygiene products contain talc… and, why not? We even have talc in our salt so it doesn’t stick together and form a block, attracting deer. So, it is no surprise that a lot of women have used it and maybe a few have even applied salt to the same area for reasons that I could only fathom had I attended sex education class in middle school.
The name “talc” derives from the Latin word, talcum, which, ironically enough, means “talc”. Yes, we have gone full circle. A word is derived from another word which means the same as the first word… makes etymology a complete waste of time in my opinion. And, modern day talc has a dark side that transcends the lady-part cancer I spoke of earlier: It is, in fact, a “conflict mineral”… that is, a mineral mined in a conflict zone that is used to raise money to continue the conflict… like blood diamonds or bruise amethyst… The U. N. does not want nations raising money that way… but, frankly, if they could raise money that way, they wouldn’t need the talcum powder. And, we’d all be happier if they’d stop using it for evil… because it is in EVERYTHING. Talc is used to make ceramics, paper, paint, polymers and artificial snow for your Nativity scene. And, if you are thinking of hanky-panky under the Christmas tree, move the Nativity because you really don’t need any talcum powder down there. It is used to polish rice. Without talc, uncooked rice would be unpolished and its bluebook value would plummet. French chalk is made of talc and it makes as good a solid lubricant as any food additive. Talc is also used as a baby powder (which is not dried ground-up babies as I had first thought)… but experts say it shouldn’t be used in that capacity because babies can breathe it in and develop respiratory illness, a lot like black lung disease only their breath has a delightful potpourri scent. It could be the talc or it might be the asbestos that often got mined with talc… who can say? Corn starch is recommended for baby butts… driving the point home that corn starch is the biggest competitor that talc has. They feel the same and are both used in food preparation. Corn starch is NOT a conflict mineral but it might be a conflict vegetable. I was going to see if conflict vegetable was an accepted term, but someone hit me with a ball of talc and I spent the afternoon in my crying closet. Talc is sometimes use by our nation’s heroin dealers to adulterate the substance for the purpose of making more money and providing addicts with a solid lubricant that can also be used as a dangerous drug. Medically, talc is used as a pleurodesis agent to prevent pneumothorax. That’s right… without talc, you’d have pneumothorax all over the place and who’s gonna clean THAT up? You? That’s a laugh! Before researching this, the only pleurodesis agent I’d ever heard of was James Bond… before he got his license to kill but after he got his learner’s permit to maim. Certainly, I shouldn’t make light of a serious lung condition; but, I tried making fun of blind children once and the response was not supportive. Talc is useful, possibly deadly and it really REALLY sucks at being a rock.