Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dr. Feelgood

In the Old West days of the United States there was a period of time when traveling medicine salesmen were very popular.  The "snake oil" salesmen were usually part of an entertainment group of some sort (freak show, circus, magic show, etc.) and sold tonics and elixirs between shows that were purported to cure an array of ailments.  While these sorts of goods have been out of vogue in the United States for almost a century (darn those pesky consumer advocates and safety nannies), a decade ago SB was able to get his hands on an ointment in Nanjing that was prescribed for food poisoning but the label also claimed it as a cure for headaches, body aches and AIDS.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A miracle cure!

Recently a bicycle outing almost ended prematurely when a woman in our group experienced a nasty abrasion upon crashing.  We pulled over at the nearest village and did our best to wash out her wound and purchase some bandages.  The kind proprietor of the village bar approached us with a bottle of liquid that she told us to pour over the wound.  The bottle looked like something from another century and the only ingredient that I recognized on the label was turpentine.  I think that I read about its use in one of my civil war history books but I wasn't convinced that it was my best option for the 21st century.  I usually bring a few first aid supplies when I hike but I didn't think of the necessity for a leisurely ride.  Next time I'll be prepared.

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