Man Without Qualities

Friday, October 15, 2004

That Old Raisin/Virgin Thing Again

Teresa Heinz Kerry has provided what she calls "a highly effective" remedy for arthritis:

"You get some gin and get some white raisins - and only white raisins - and soak them in the gin for two weeks," she said. "Then eat nine of the raisins a day."

She's all confused, of course. But it's understandable. Her confusion undoubtedly arises from the same ambiguities in Arabic that have led to the misunderstanding of the Koran as promising multiple "virgins" in the afterlife to Islamic martyrs. In fact, the virgins who are supposedly awaiting good Islamic martyrs as their reward in paradise are in reality "white raisins" of crystal clarity rather than fair maidens.

Of course, in suggesting her medical treatment Ms. Heinz-Kerry is making the symmetrically opposite mistake made by the Islamic radicals. A traditional and highly effective middle eastern palliative for arthritis is the following: You get some gin and some virgins - and only virgins - and soak them in the gin for two weeks. Then you consume nine of the now-uninhibited-and-well-lubricated virgins a day in accordance with the sexual orientation and positional preference of your choice. This remedy does not, in fact, lessen joint pain in the least.

But, somehow, you don't care about that part once you really get going.

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