Handmaiden has shamed me into that admission with this comment:
“What I initially came here to say was, your busy excuse is wearing thin. Get on with it. :)”
Yes, and ok.
In my defense, I’m still picking up the pieces from the office move, staving off end-users that think I should drop what I’m doing and work on their stuff, dealing with a sick friend, trying to re-connect with blood relatives (we have ample reasons to be somewhat uneasy around each other), gearing up for Christmas, and trying to strategize about or deal with at least 6 other problems. Nice run-on, but that gives you the right picture to express my state of mind.
I could elaborate, but I think you’ll thank me if I don’t.
Part Two: A Tempest in a Pisspot.
While perusing Handmaiden’s blog, furry friends, I encountered this:
My first reaction was, “You have got to be kidding me.” It turns out, that’s not too far from wrong. According to Snopes, the assertion that this is “a popular drug in American schools” is false. So how did this rumor blow up into what threatens to become a national campaign to keep our school children (Won’t someone think of the children!) safe from excrement? Here’s what I think happened.
About 12 years ago, there was a story In National Geographic about Zambian children concentrating and inhaling sewer gas. Why? It was there, it was free, they were living right next to it and smelling it anyway, and it was cheaper than cannabis and gasoline, which they were also using to get high. This was part of a story about how fucked-up life was in Zambia. Some news hack picks up on this and grinds out an article on a wire service. It might have died right there, but the BBC is having a slow news day two years later and dusts this poo-poo story off. So does the New York times. Because of this heightened visibility, UNICEF decides that this is something to be especially worried about, so in 2002, they do what they do best and write a report about it. So now the practice of inhaling gas from fermented excrement takes its place among the 287,323 other fucked-up things in Africa. The story is regurgitated once more in 2004, then nothing until November, 2007, when Fox (Who else? Well, actually…) a CBS affiliate, and a CW affiliate, pick up on a Salon.com story and start a media frenzy. It seems that way back in June, some Jackass wanna-be posted that he was going to try it. He then posted his adventures, but later retracted and said it was a hoax.
This is the kind of thing that gets talked about by 12-16 year-old boys.
“Did you know you can get high from fermented piss and shit?”
“Five bucks says I’m right! … Google ‘Jenkem’”
“Wow!… That’s disgusting!”
Next thing you know, somebody mentions it in front of a grownup, and it’s panic in the streets. A Florida sheriff overreacts, the media runs away with it, and now everyone has heard of this crud.
The irony is, the media made this mess in the first place by repeating this weird poo-poo story until somebody noticed. If it weren’t for their recycling this story, the whole idea would have probably lived and died in Zambia. They will blame the Internet for its proliferation of course, and demand more regulation to protect their idiot children from reality.