Skin Deep 249

Skin Deep 249 31 March 2015 249

I don’t watch a whole lot of TV anymore, or maybe I should say ‘a whole lot of scheduled TV anymore’, but a couple of weeks back I fell in front of a show about how certain drugs came into being and what happened along the course of their lives. Case in point: aspirin and heroin being invented at the same time with heroin being brought on board for the long medical haul and aspirin being dismissed as a far inferior product. If you’re in the UK, I think you can still find it on iPlayer—it’s called Pain, Pus and Poison.

I felt like I needed to catch up with more of this show and (excuse me if I cut this down to a simplified and manageable size here) in the following episode, there were two worthy stories to be told.

One ran along the lines of a gang of thieves who broke into a pharmacy and helped themselves to some alcohol—only to find it wasn’t anything that would end in a memorable night out.

It was arsenic.

The pharmacist arrived the next day to find the gang unconscious on the pharmacy floor. Noticing their pupils were massively dilated, a friendly-neighbourhood eye-doctor suggested they dose them up with a drug that was the only thing he knew of that would have the exact opposite effect on your eyes. They were nearly dead already—what did they have to lose? Dose administered, it so happened to be the perfect antidote to arsenic poisoning.

What are the odds? Slim at best, surely?

In the next story, a man announced that he was never going to get smallpox because he already had a good dose of cowpox. Determined to prove he was right after being laughed at, he gave a kid in his village cowpox (because you don’t want to go testing these things out on yourself), then cut some grooves into the kids arm and rubbed smallpox pus into the cuts.

Sure enough, the kid didn’t get smallpox and thus we were all saved from dying a horrible, grizzly death for the rest of eternity.

That’s more of less the basis for the stories anyway—I was too lost in a train of thought to pay really close attention. I may have to watch it again but you get the drift.

Not so long ago, when people were not sheep, thought for themselves and the world was not governed by concepts such as drink responsibly, always read the label, blank cigarette packets and having to ask permission (aka: ‘signing in’) to something before you talk to your friends, listen to music, read a book or watch a movie, the world was made fantastical by accidental adventurers such as these.

I guess there were a lot of deaths along the way but the important thing (unless you’re one of the dead people) is to appreciate and see how the world was able to move forward when it wasn’t handcuffed to a wall by rules designed to keep you in your place and not rocking the boat.

The planet has become so sanitised and complex now, rules don’t even look like rules anymore. The ‘rules’ look like your phone, your computer and your TV. I wonder what life would be like if somebody simply turned it all off for six months. I know that most of us ‘creative types’ would get out into the world and design things with more value than we are now, but more importantly, those things we came up with would likely not be anything like somebody else had made.

Whether you can see it or not, I suspect we are all being poisoned by osmosis—and I include myself because I too have as much potential to be a slave to a device as anybody.
Work aside—email contact and actually having to write things up for Skin Deep to see the light of day next month—I’m going for it.

I’m turning off.

I did it over Christmas—it was easy. I’m going to be an accidental tourist and am turning off for as long as possible to see what I can create—or at least until my pupils dilate so much that I could drown a universe in them.

Hopefully, nobody will die in the process.


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