Julitis 22, 41 A.B.

"Snakebite serum in short supply."

- Headline in my Wednesday newspaper

     Yes, it's true.  I've spent the last few days searching and re-searching all my cupboards and my garage and can now confirm that snakebite serum is nowhere to be found!
     My neighbors assure me that they're all out, too.
     And my pharmacy - oh, my pharmacy is so big that even if they DID have any, you'd never make it as far as the right aisle before keeling over dead.
     I'm not quite sure how we got ourselves into this situation, but the fact that the only maker of snakebite serum (Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories) isn't going to be making anymore until next spring is not helping matters any.
     Seems their one and only plant is closed for renovations.
     If the construction crew members all get bitten and die as they work, we may never have snakebite serum again!

     I don't mean to put too fine a point on this, but...  the absence of snakebite serum is not a good thing.
     It is, after all, just about the only cure for snakebite that doesn't involve obnoxious sucking and spitting sounds.
     And as luck would have it, snakebites are not all that uncommon.  Even granting the fact that very few occur in elevators, we can't very well spend the next 8 months in elevators, can we??
     Probably not - no matter how much money CBS agrees to pay us for the video rights!
     Let's get serious.  There are about 7000 reported snakebites inflicted by poisonous snakes in the U.S. every year.  By my rough estimate, that's at least 6990 too many.  Without snakebite serum available to shake at snakes and show them the pointlessness of the bite they are about to inflict, the number of unnecessary/unfortunate snakebites looks likely to soar to no less than 6996.  
     What can we do to change this?

     We could try making our own snakebite serum, but come on - let's get real.

 "The serum is made from the blood of horses, which are given doses of the snakes' venom and build antibodies against the poison."

     That's the Associated Press talking, folks.  And we all know the Associated Press is never wrong.  If we're gonna try making our own serum, we're gonna have to go out and get our own snakes, our own horses - and just how many leases, bosses, or bus drivers permit that?? 
     We could try to buy some snakebite serum from the guy down on the corner who seems able to get us almost any drug known to man, but consider: Serum already costs $450 a vial - and the average snakebite victim requires 20 to 40 vials!  That's at least $9000 a bite!  Exactly how much more might the guy on the corner charge once he knows that all legitimate sources of serum have dried up??

     As I see it, there's only one solution:
     If YOU feel a snakebite coming on anytime between now and next spring, call me.  Out of the goodness of my heart, I'll come over and bite you instead.

     Now I know this sounds a bit unconventional, and I suppose there are some out there who might even consider it downright immoral, but consider the following facts before rejecting my offer out of hand:
     1) Nobody has ever died from my bite.
     2) I only manage to break the skin about one in nine nips.
     3) Treating my bites involves nothing more than a quick scream, a sharp slap to my face, and a run to a sink to apply soap and water (possibly followed by a quick squirt of Bactine if you're the superstitious/rude type).
     4) I'll let you decide where I bite you if you'll let me honk your car's horn.
     5) Don't have a car?  Just let me pet your dumplings instead.  

     Bad times have always brought out the best in us Americans.  (And in you American wannabes, too!)  If we all just keep our heads and allow me to act on my selfless offer, I'm sure the best in us will be brought out once again. 
     The choice is ours.
     Do we spend the next 8 months living in dread (or elevators) or do we finally stop relying on snakes to bite us and start relying on my proven ability to impersonate a legless reptile? 
     I'm already down to my ideal slither weight.
     I've already brushed all relevant teeth.
     The next move is yours.

     Just be sure that move is not too quick.
     Quick moves tend to, ummm, excite me.
     And excitement sometimes prompts me to bite twice.

     A minor risk, I always tell my customers.
     If anyone can get a better deal from a stinking little chihuahua that's suddenly looking for work, more power to 'em!


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(©Now by Dan Birtcher using only the tongue and cute little rattle he was born with)