I've always suspected that one of the reasons why certain disgruntled customers complain that snake oil doesn't cure all their ills, as it's supposed to do, is that they simply forget to obey the all-important instructions on the label: Shake well before use! Applying a reputable brand of snake oil without having shaken the bottle vigorously for a sufficiently long period of time would be as silly as swallowing a suppository instead of inserting it into an appropriate orifice... or vice versa in the case of an aspirin for a headache. I think it was Confucius, or one of those wise old guys, who put it nicely in his famous dictum about not stuffing pearls up the rear end of swine, or something like that.
I've just heard that, on the final day of January, in the UK, there'll be a massive happening that's as potentially dangerous, for each of the 300 participants, as it would have been to drop in for a cocktail and salted peanuts with Jim Jones at the Peoples Temple in Guyana back in 1978. The event that's planned at 10.23 am on January 30th is a little like a cross between Russian roulette and a nation-wide rave party. Let me give you the ghastly details of what all these crazy folk plan to do. All together, at exactly the same instant, they're going to stage a mass homeopathic overdose session. In other words, they plan to gulp down, deliberately, huge quantities of homeopathic products: enough milligrams to cure a horse of herpes.
And why are they doing this? Well, in a nutshell: simply to let the world know whether or not they can survive this terrible ordeal. Statistically, some of the participants will have indigestion or back aches at the start of the experiment, whereas others are likely to be constipated or maybe suffering from flatulence. Well, believe it or not, they don't even care whether this massive homeopathic treatment will cure them or not. Maybe it will. Maybe it won't. Who knows? Maybe there'll be miraculous switch-over cases in which a fellow who hasn't achieved anything whatsoever on the throne for at least a week will suddenly find himself gurgling melodies like the Paris Pétomane. [If ever you've never heard of the latter gentleman, click here to obtain information about him on Wikipedia.] As I said, the daring participants have nothing to win or lose. They're participating altruistically in this operation for science alone, like Louis Pasteur inoculating himself against rabies. [Did he really do that? I'm not sure he did. Maybe I'm confusing him with another hero. But it sounds like a nice idea, whether or not it's a fact.] Through the selfless participation of these 300 brave souls in this operation, future researchers will have access to vital raw data revealing what happens when a group of volunteers receives a massive overdose of homeopathic snake oil. In any case, I suggest that it would be fitting if we onlookers were to accompany them, in this ordeal, with our prayers.