Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Time out for tapeworms
Years ago a medicine show set up shop in the big field next to our house in small-town Mt. Pleasant, Pa. That was pretty exciting summer fare for the hometown folks. It also earned me a few bucks of pocket money when I was asked to sit in for the show's ailing pianist for a few nights. The hucksters were promoting a bottled liquid (God knows what it was!) to drain all of the deadly pollutants from your body for a pittance. The highlight of the night was the appearance on a primitive stage by a manic fellow lugging a big kettle. Calling for absolute silence by the many onlookers seated on the long benches facing him, the major domo began ladling long dripping strands of spaghetti from the pot. But he swore that he was actually revealing tapeworms that were flushed from a human being by his magic potion. As the show's sales force rushed up and down the aisles between the benches, the enthralled patrons, suckered into believing that pasta had morphed into tapeworms, unhesitantly bought botttle after bottle. Indeed, the con game was so successful that the promoters hung around for a second week. I think of that as the Palin-McCain campaign continues to attract customers.