Not Exactly Blinded by Science

May 14, 1999

Ten years ago I tried diet soda for the first and last time. It was almost a new decade, and I thought, "Hey, how bad can it taste?" Of course, it tasted like wet cardboard with an aftertaste of mucilage. I swore off diet soda for life. Then, recently, I tried it again. After all, science has made tremendous advances in the last ten years. Sheep have been cloned. New theories about the structure of matter have finally begun to unravel the mysteries of quantum particles. And cheaper, smaller space exploration made it possible to give rocks on another planet the most idiotic names imaginable. My recent experience with diet soda, however, shows how much farther we have to go. It tasted like sweetened wet cardboard, and the mucilage aftertaste was considerably muted. I was also able to take my mind off the taste by reading the nutrition information on the can. It went something like this: Calories-0 Fat-0 Saturated Fat-0 Polyunsatured Fat-0 Polly-Wanna-Cracker-Fat-0 Protein-0 Flavor-0. Then, below that useful information, was a note that said, "Not a significant source of other nutrients." What do they mean other nutrients? It doesn’t sound like it’s a source of any nutrients. However, diet soda does contain, as a friend pointed out, a new chemical that, in a few lucky people, causes a severe allergic reaction and possibly even death. After death, sudden and rapid weight loss ensues. So science may not have perfected diet soda, but they’ve come a long way with dieting.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


DR. SEUSS EXPLAINS COMPUTERS

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted ’cause the index doesn’t hash,
then your situation’s hopeless and your system’s gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol
that’s repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
and your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
’cause as sure as I’m a poet, the sucker’s gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy’s getting sloppy on the disk,
and the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk,
then you have to flash your memory and you’ll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom


These are spelling and grammar errors found on chart review at a hospital on the east coast:

The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

The baby was delivered, the cord clamped and cut, and handed to the pediatrician, who breathed and cried immediately.

Exam of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

The skin was moist and dry.

Rectal exam revealed a normal size thyroid.

The patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until 1989 when she got a divorce.

Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed.

I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

The patient was prepped and raped in the usual manner.

Examination reveals a well-developed male laying in bed with his family in no distress.

Patient was alert and unresponsive.

When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

The patient lives at home with his mother, father, and pet turtle, who is presently enrolled in day care three times a week.

Bleeding started in the rectal area and continued all the way to Los Angeles.

Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

She is numb from her toes down.

Exam of genitalia was completely negative except for the right foot.

While in the emergency room, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.

The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stockbroker instead.

The patient suffers from occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.

Coming from Detroit, this man has no children

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