Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hair of the Dog, Hair of the Dog

See, I don't understand this whole "hair of the dog" thing. "The hair of the dog that bit you!" That's a remedy. That's medicine. You get bitten by a dog, next thing to do, take some of the hair of the dog that bit you. That'll fix you up! Not sure how you "take it." Perhaps grind it real good in a mortar and pestle? Mix it in orange juice, swig it down? Maybe just stuff a wad in your cheek, and kind of ruminate on it a while, 'til it gets soft enough to swallow.

See, none of these sounds like a very good delivery option to me. But that's not even my primary objection to this course of treatment. My main problem is, I just can't understand how this ever caught on. Sure, yeah, I can accept why people might come up with the idea to try it. But how did it ever catch on? The idea itself, sure - sympathetic magic, homeopathy, "like cures like," mystic chicken kitchen voodoo or whatever - any number of theories or systems of belief or even systems of science might lead somebody to say, "Hey! Got a dog bite here. What do we do, hmmm - maybe we go straight to the cause of the problem. Root around on the dog itself. There, we may find a key to efficacious treatment." But isn't the next step in that thought process, "Let's try it, and see if it works!" Because come on, you can't tell me it ever worked.

It could be they weren't using double-blind placebo trials. If enough people got better on a dog-hair regimen because, well, there was nothing wrong with them in the first place except for the injury itself - I guess it's possible they felt the dog hair helped. Damn these incompetently-designed trials, back then. There is nothing worse than a flawed experiment for foisting bad medicine on people. Because let's face it, ingesting dog hair is not going to make any possible dog-bite-related medical problem you could have get better.

I mean, worst-case scenario. Worst thing I can think of from a dog-bite wise is - contract rabies. Rabies! Invariably fatal, back then. They would have known that! They would have noticed. And they would have to have known that dog hair is not going to work! Because nothing would. With rabies, without that modern course of huge puncturesome injections straight to the abdomen, you die in every case. I don't care how poorly set up their system was overall - this is something that could not have escaped the notice of the era's physicians. So what kind of sick fucks would they have to be to say "Wow, rabies...he's a goner. Let's see if we can get him to eat some funny shit. How about dog hair?" Those sick fucks.

Besides which, if you're operating on the theory that cause contains cure, or like cures like, what made them settle on the hair? I mean, really you'd think the efficacious treatment would involve the teeth of the dog, if you're trying to use the cause to cure. The hair didn't do anything. It's those teeth made the puncture wounds. Pull a couple teeth, grind 'em up - there's some viscerally poetic satisfaction there, if nothing else! "Well that's one gnarly looking bite there Sylvester, and you're going to die of rabies but you'll be happy to know we took some pliers to that bitch and pulled a couple well, I guess 'canines' is the technically correct term. Ground 'em up in a mortar and pestle, put 'em in this protein shake. Bottoms up!"

I just don't understand what possible sick tradition of medicine could have foisted and fostered this kind of a blatant prank cure on centuries upon centuries of poor dog-bite sufferers.


JMH said...

So elaborately clever.

dogimo said...

Thanks, man! It's a damn good thing I posted first, Google'd afterwards. Because I never could have written that thing if I'd known it was a topical treatment in the first place!

lacrema said...

I was brought here by this.

Made my day, too.