HERE AT THE BUREAU OF Medical Alarm, we continue to receive shocking new evidence that being human is an extremely dangerous occupation that probably should be prohibited by law.
For example, consider the alarming article sent in by alert reader Jessica Bernstein from the August 10, 1984, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, entitled "Toothpick-Related Injuries in the United States, 1979 Through 1982." This article notes with concern that although toothpicks "are long, slender, hard, sharp and indigestible, they are rarely considered objects of potential injury and death." Yes! Death! The article reports that during the period studied, there were thousands of toothpick-related injuries and three actual "fatalities."
What gets our goat, here at the Bureau of Medical Alarm, is that these needless tragedies could be avoided if the government would simply require all toothpicks to carry this printed message:
"WARNING: THE SURGEON GENERAL HAS DETERMINED THAT YOU SHOULD NOT SWALLOW THIS TOOTHPICK
OR STAB YOURSELF IN THE EYEBALL WITH IT WHILE TRYING TO READ THIS WARNING."
Why hasn't this been done? When will the politicians stop knuckling under to the powerful toothpick lobby, with its easy money, fast boats and loose women? How come powerful lobbies never send loose women down here to the Bureau of Medical Alarm? These are some of the questions that were very much on our minds until we were distracted by an even more alarming article, sent in by alert reader Betsy Powers, from the July 5, 1980, issue of the British Medical Journal. Unfortunately we cannot be too specific about this article, because this is a family newspaper (it has a wife newspaper and two little baby newspapers at home). All we can say is that the article involves an upsetting development that can occur when a well-known male bodily part gets too close to a working vacuum cleaner. This seems to be a fairly common occurrence, at least in Britain. The article contains the following quotations, which we swear we are not making up, although for reasons of tastefulness, the bodily part will be referred to as "Morton" (not its real name):
"Case 1 -- A 60-year-old man said that he was changing the plug of his Hoover Dustette vacuum cleaner in the nude while his wife was out shopping. It 'turned itself on' and caught his Morton . . .
"Case 2 -- A 65-year-old railway signalman was in his signal box when he bent down to pick up his tools and caught his Morton in a Hoover Dustette, 'which happened to be switched on.' "
These quotations definitely touched a nerve here at the Bureau of Medical Alarm. Clearly, males need to be more careful, especially if they get naked anywhere near a Hoover Dustette, which is apparently auditioning for a role as a major appliance in "Fatal Attraction II."
What you are no doubt saying to yourself now is, "Hmmmm, I wonder if there have been any similar incidents involving lobsters." We regret to report that the answer is yes, as we learned from an article alertly sent in by Janice Hill (notice that it is women who are sending these articles in).
This article concerns a man who attempted to steal a lobster from a Boston fish market by stuffing it (the lobster) down the front of his pants. The lobster had been wearing those rubber-band handcuffs, but apparently they slipped off, and the lobster, with revenge on its tiny mind, angrily grasped hold of the first thing it found, and we will not go into what happened next except to say that, if you are a guy, it makes a toothpick to the eyeball sound like a day at the Magic Kingdom.
We actually have MORE alarming medical items here, including a really good one about a moth that flew into a noted Denver attorney's ear canal and refused to come out voluntarily. But we're running out of space, so we'll just close with this Health Reminder: Don't smoke or drink. Or eat. Or go outside. Or breathe. And men: If you MUST change a major-appliance plug in the nude, PLEASE wear a condom.