MAD DOG: Honeymoon at Viagra Falls

It's official -- once again we've gone nuts. In the great tradition of Cabbage Patch dolls, the Pet Rock, Beanie Babies, and Titanic, people across the country are lining up to get their hands on a few tabs of Viagra.Viagra, in case you've been too busy being able to have sex without a prescription to read the newspaper, watch TV, or listen to the radio, is the new impotence drug recently released by Pfizer which was going to be called Miracle-Gro but unfortunately the name was taken. Doctors are writing prescriptions for Viagra faster than pharmacists can read them, but in the flurry and rush to be the first on the block to admit to the world that they can't get it up, people are overlooking something important about this country that we've never known before: impotence is a big problem.Who would have thought? Every year we see telethons for Multiple Sclerosis. There are door-to-door fundraising campaigns for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. We even have Jerry's Kids. But impotence? Apparently everyone with impotence has been busy trying to raise things, but it sure wasn't money. Thus, the problem's been swept under the covers for years.But suppose impotence isn't really as widespread as it appears to be? What if we're being sexual lemmings jumping off a cliff to get a publicized cure for a problem we don't have? Maybe the truth is we're just being Americans, a nation of people convinced that it's our civic duty and birthright to brag. To be the biggest, the best, the fastest, the strongest. Thus it's no surprise that when it comes to impotence we have no problem standing tall and shouting out our superiority. "We're Number One!" we boast as we raise our arms, fists encased in huge foam rubber hands with a large finger outstretched -- it is a finger, isn't it?That's why as a patriotic American it's so disappointing to hear that two of the biggest, best, fastest, and strongest recent scientific discoveries came out of England, a country that can make Cornish pasties for centuries with horrible, inedible crusts without anyone's bothered to look into how to improve them, yet in one week they can reveal two new ways to deliver vaccines. Obviously scientists have different priorities than the rest of us.The announcements arrived over two days in late April and were completely overshadowed by Viagra. Actually, everything was overshadowed by Viagra. Except, of course, in Los Angeles where, even though they kept all Viagra-related news off the TV during children's daytime viewing hours, they went ahead and televised a man blowing his brains out live and in used-to-be-living color.The first study out of England revealed that some scientists developed an edible vaccine, one that you can pop in your mouth while on the go. Kind of a McVaccine. This is good news, indeed. After all, it's such a problem to spend 20 seconds getting a little stick with a needle. But there are problems with this new method of vaccination. First, at the moment it will only vaccinate you against a strain of e. coli that causes diarrhea which, face it, is no smallpox epidemic. Second, you have to eat a raw potato.That's right. What these researchers did was genetically engineer a potato so it would create a toxin which is usually secreted by the bacteria. By eating the potato the body builds up an immunity to Pringles, I mean, the bacteria. Unfortunately the toxin is killed if you cook the potato, ruling out taking the vaccine by eating potato chips, French fries, or a baked Tater-Mycine with sour cream. So instead of getting stuck by a needle you'll have to suck down a hunk of raw potato. This is what's known in the world of science as "being stuck between a needle and a hard to swallow piece."The very next day another announcement was made: elevators would no longer be called lifts in England, they'd be called no-water flats. Just kidding. Actually researchers at the Guys Hospital dental school (motto: "In the U.S. we'd be sued for using a discriminatory name like that but here we just don't give a rat's bum") said they'd developed a safe, painless vaccine that will prevent tooth decay. Since they felt sorry for the state of North Carolina for having to put up with Jesse Helms, they made it using tobacco plants.That's right. They genetically engineered tobacco plants -- are you starting to see a trend here? -- to carry antibodies to the strep germs that cause 95 percent of tooth decay. What they do is paint the stuff on your teeth, then laugh uproariously at the bright blue color that doesn't come off for weeks. Kidding again. In homage to the Royal Family the vaccine is colorless and tasteless.I guess the next logical step would be to use these new technologies to create a vaccine against impotence. Maybe genetically engineer cucumbers or zucchini. Of course if they do I'm sure we Americans will line up to buy them. In the meantime, we'll just have to keep eating raw potatoes and smearing tobacco juice on our teeth. For the sake of good health, of course.

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