Insidious plague afflicts millions
Minute airborne particles attack
human respiratory systems. Fever clogs victims' heads,
causing spasms and blurred vision.
By John Breneman
I come to you with shocking revelations
about ... HAY FEVER. I must speak quickly, though, because
the pollen count is quite heavy and I don't have much time.
Millions of people suffer from the seasonal
ravages of this miserable epidemic. It's medical name is "pollinosis,"
which I believe is Latin for "please jam a bushel of
dried flaxseed pollen up my left nostril."
I know from experience that it is not
unusual for a hay fever sufferer to wake up and begin the
day by sneezing. Maybe once. Or maybe, like me this morning,
15-18 consecutive times.
The following is an exaggerated re-enactment
of actual non-stop sneezing fit. (Editor's note: Do not try
this at home without the supervision of a certified allergy
7:02 a.m. -- Jolted awake by that
first sneeze of the day, I yawn and gulp down 250 million
airborne particles that begin an involuntary chain reaction
of misery. The invaders anesthetize my face and begin time-releasing
phlegm for the next 1-12 hours.
7:02 a.m. -- The familiar second
sneeze makes my eyes watery and impairs my vision. Hypersensitivity
to any light source adds to the fun.
7:03 a.m. -- On my third sneeze,
I temporarily lose the use of my lungs, heart and pancreas.
7:03 a.m. -- My fourth sneeze,
a whopper, frightens the birds and squirrels outside my window.
7:03 a.m. -- With my fifth sneeze
I lose the ability to reason and wipe out two-thirds of a
box of industrial-strength Kleenex in the 4.5 seconds that
elapse before ...
7:04 a.m. -- ... sneeze number
six. This one makes me consider administering an emergency
tracheotomy to maintain my rapidly diminishing ability to
7:04 a.m. -- My seventh consecutive
sneeze makes me weep like a baby. Upon realizing that I cannot
remember my name, Social Security number or species, I scrap
all plans to operate heavy machinery.
7:05 a.m. -- My eighth sneeze blows
out the retina in my right eyeball and fills my brain with
strange thoughts about U.S. foreign policy and the pros and
cons of deploying ragweed-tipped missiles against Saddam Hussein.
7:05 a.m. -- Sneeze number nine
(I like to call it "El Nino") induces an out-of-body
experience in which a crack team of surgical allergists sedates
me with 5,000 milligrams of pseudophedrine hydrochloride and
extract from my sinus cavity a wad of goldenrod the size of
a Polish kielbasa.
7:06 a.m. -- My tenth straight
sneeze brings on a sensation of vertigo, itchy lungs, sprained
larynx and bronchial tube asphyxiation.
7:06 a.m. -- With cataclysmic sneeze
number 11, my head slams face first onto my hardwood floor
where it considers placing a call to noted allergy relief
specialist Dr. Kevorkian.
About then, I am able to drag myself into
the bathroom where my medicine cabinet houses a mind-boggling
array of pills promising "prompt, effective relief."
Claritin, Clarinex, Chlortrimetron. I
like Chlortrimetron because the box says it contains 47 percent
more "oleic acid, potato starch and talc" than the
other leading brand.
No luck. So I take some Tavist-D and wash
it down with some Dimetapp. Or was it Drixoral? Dristan?
A blast of "pump mist" Affrin
doesn't stop the sneezing, but makes me wonder whether there
is such thing as a quadruple nasal bypass.
My roommate told me there's a laser treatment
in which they cauterize the nasal membrane, rendering it impervious
to most known allergens. Side effects: The ocean, lilacs and
beautiful women all smell like burnt toast.
Then I remember my grandmother's secret
remedy: Stick your head into a burlap sack filled with a mixture
of baking soda, Triple Sec and Hamburger Helper. Then breathe
deeply and count to 157.
If that doesn't work, I've heard that
a Sudafed factory in the Sudan is working on a weapon of mass
decongestion that combines 30 milligrams of benadryl with
aged Russian caviar, neutralized anthrax and a cherry-flavored
By John Breneman
Scientists at the University
of Helsinki claim they have solved the mystery of global
A team of forensic diabologists
led by the Rev. Dr. Zoltan Fahrenheit found startling evidence
that the gradual rise in temperatures around the globe is
caused not by holes in the ozone layer or defoliation of the
rain forests, but rather by increased activity in Hell.
Using cutting-edge thermodemonalysis,
Dr. Fahrenheit concluded that the incremental temperature
climb that has alarmed scientists throughout the world is
caused by heat-generating phenomena that can be traced directly
to Hades. For example:
-- Snatching of souls is up 29
percent over the previous fiscal year.
-- Fire-based torture of the
eternally damned is up 65 percent, due in part to triple-digit
increases in sloth, gluttony and greed during the 1980s and
-- Underworld space constraints
have caused a construction boom of blast furnace holding tanks
to house new arrivals.
The Helsinki report also cited
the Devil's incendiary work here on Earth, noting that the
FBI is now examining what appears to be charred, cloven hoof
prints lifted from shredded Enron documents.
The report also charges that
Satan and his henchmen control gasoline prices using covert,
subterranean destabilization of the oil-rich Middle East.
Underworld spokesman Scorchy
Crisp roundly denounced the University of Helsinki findings
as "all fire and brimstone, no smoking gun."
"This is just another example
of the Devil being used as a scapegoat for man's innate tendency
toward stupidity and self-destruction," Crisp said during
a press conference held in a makeshift fiery pit in Helena,
Bernie Burnham, CEO of Lucifer
Technologies, a subsidiary of Hades Unlimited, also debunked
"The Devil, the Prince of Darkness, Old Scratch -- call
him what you will -- has been around for thousands of years
perpetrating evil in all its forms. Why global warming now,
all of a sudden? It doesn't make sense."
The Devil himself was unavailable
for comment, Crisp explained, because he was away on his monthly
recruiting trip to Washington, D.C.
everything may be hazardous
to your health
It's a dangerous world we live
in. Every day doctors release startling new reports about
stuff that can kill us.
Fortunately, we are also bombarded
with news about medical breakthroughs guaranteed to help us
avoid the discomfort and inconvenience of premature death.
For example, my crack team of
medical specialists has just learned that people who consume
50 milligrams of cornpone each day are 32 percent less likely
to suffer from rickets, gangrene or curvature of the liver.
I take an aspirin a day to prevent
heart murmurs and a glass of red wine to ward off gallstones,
cerebral hemorrhage and frostbite.
But the threat of disease is omnipresent.
Mumps. Lupus. Vertigo. The painful itch and swelling of bipolar
Why, the poor Surgeon General
is working overtime to warn us about the astonishing array
of substances that may be "hazardous to your health."
Just today, he issued a report
in the prestigious Imaginary Journal of Medicine expanding
the list of things that may cause cancer to include:
-- Asbestos Wafers
-- raw chinchilla meat
-- Bubonic Margarine
-- malignant cancer cells
-- genetically engineered fiddleheads
-- Marlboro brand Cancer Sticks
-- and most tap water
HAZARDOUS, next page