Slip Slidin' Away on the Battlefield by Mad Dog

As President Bush is finding out, war is a slippery business. And now, thanks to a Texas company, it's literally true. In an effort to come up with a new non-lethal weapon, scientists at the Southwest Research Institute have created an antitraction gel extracted from a substance found on Bill Clinton's skin. Just kidding. Actually that turned out to be the same substance they found on a certain blue dress and none of the scientists would touch it.

The antitraction gel was created for the Marines, who figure that since peace isn't part of the military's job description, the least they can do is try to come up with non-lethal methods of fighting a war. They considered not teaching marksmanship, holding a Celebrity Death Match between the countries' leaders, and having the opposing troops play rock, paper, and scissors, but decided against them. The last one is a particular shame because I'm pretty good at it and I've been thinking it was getting on time for a career change. Not to mention that Major General would look pretty spiffy in front of my name on a business card, don't you think?

Instead they're developing new weapons, which isn't surprising since one thing that is in the military's job description is that they have to spend gobs of money each year, and if they don't spend every penny of it and a bit more the government might have to give some of it back to us and you know they don't want to have to do that. Thus they ruled out refining existing non-lethal weapons such as Nerf balls, water balloons, and spitballs. Rubber bullets, pepper spray, and projecting billboard-size holograms of Anna Nicole Smith eating a Big Mac are all out too since they're already a part of their arsenal, even though the last one is in violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Convention. So they put their heads together and, after putting ice packs on their foreheads to take down the swelling, came up with the idea of antitraction gel.

What they devised is a sprayable gel that is so slippery it's impossible to drive or walk on it. Spray it on the street and you have a modern version of the "Little Rascals" episode where Buckwheat spills marbles on the floor and everyone slips and slides all over the place. Hey, it was funny then, it was funny in the parade scene of "Animal House," and it was almost funny in "Home Alone 3." So there's no reason to believe it won't be downright hilarious when we watch the footage on CNN of Saddam Hussein skittering around the desert and falling on his defiant, weapon-producing butt. And watch it. And watch it. Over and over and over and over again.

There are a few problems with antitraction gel, the main one being that if the enemy can't walk or drive on it neither can our troops. To remedy this, the government will issue ice skates to every soldier, then draft Sara Hughes and Michelle Kwan to be drill sergeants. With Dick Button handling the color commentary, of course. Hopefully the Russian mafia will keep their noses out of it this time since the last thing we need is an antitraction skating judging scandal in the middle of a war to distract us from the task at hand.

Slick-um™ brand antitraction gel is made mostly of water, so it dries in about 12 hours. Seven if you have a blow dryer. It's nontoxic, biodegradable, and keeps slipping out of the cans before they can seal them up. It's slicker than Teflon, which means we'll probably see an Antitraction Don taking over where John Gotti left off. It's slipperier than PAM, WD-40, and K-Y put together, so once the final strains of the Marine's new theme song, Paul Simon's "Slip Slidin' Away," fade into the battlefield distance it will have a booming peacetime market, becoming indispensable for chefs, handymen, and sex workers.

As time goes on, people will find more and more uses for antitraction gel. It will be the perfect thing to spray on the doorknob when you don't want anyone to walk into the room and disturb you. Women will coat their bras with it before going out in order to thwart grabby dates. And parents everywhere will start bathing their kids in it so dirt will slide right off them.

Of course if it falls into the wrong hands it could be trouble. Bored teenagers will spray it on your car tires and laugh as you sit there and spin your wheels for 12 hours until it finally dries. Criminals will spray some on their wrists and watch the handcuffs slip right off. On the other hand, you could use it to coat your wallet so you don't have to worry about a pickpocket being able to grab it, though you'd have to be careful that you didn't accidentally get it on your money or it would slip right through your fingers. Which wouldn't be any different than it is right now except you'd have a good excuse--you could blame the government. After all, they're the ones who rejected the idea of settling international disputes by playing rock, paper, and scissors.

More Mad Dog can be found online at: www.maddogproductions.com.

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